Heeding warning signs for women's health

 

Last updated 7/27/2023 at 4:03pm



Eighty-two-year-old Glenda Warren has been a resident of Sisters for 20 years. For much of that time, she has walked to her regular destinations, like BiMart, her hairdresser, and the Habitat Thrift Store.

Warren’s daily routines began to shift back in 2021. She started watching more television and walking less. During COVID, she cut back on walking due to reduced energy, which she attributed to her age. Cleaning the house became a difficult chore, partially due to her arthritis, she thought. Several months ago, when she did try her usual walks, she found them more difficult, needing to sit down repeatedly due to having no energy and experiencing shortness of breath.

Warren smoked for 41 years, quitting at age 55. She also carried extra weight before losing 100 pounds. The youngest of five children, Warren had polio at two years of age, which impacted her internal organs. Her sister was crippled by the disease, spending time in an iron lung. She had two brothers who received pacemakers. At 76, her sister had a valve replacement and another sister had triple bypass surgery. Her genetics for heart problems were apparent.

Warren developed a morning cough, just like her brother. When she went for her wellness exam, the doctor put her on an inhaler for her breathing. Not long after, she experienced a tightness in her chest that she described as feeling like a vice grip, and she lost her appetite.

Her cat, who has always laid on Warren’s chest on the couch, stopped doing that. He also stopped lying next to her on her bed at night. She went through the weekend and on Monday walked to the mailbox, stopping to chat with her neighbor. Most of Monday was spent napping more than usual and reading.

While watching television, she saw actress Susan Lucci talking about how she had a heart attack and didn’t know it. Lucci’s symptoms didn’t sound like what Warren was experiencing but the show got her attention.

On a Tuesday morning while doing her daily crossword puzzle, Warren again experienced the vice grip in her chest. This time she called for paramedics, who arrived within 10 minutes and took her straight to the hospital. After four days of bed rest, she underwent triple bypass surgery on Saturday.

Warren is grateful to the paramedics, the bypass surgeon, and her cardiologist. She has been receiving meals from her insurance company, Pacific Source, and a nine-year-old neighbor boy brings her mail to her every day. Neighbors and family stop by to check on her and she is feeling very fortunate to have survived two heart attacks and triple bypass surgery. And her cat is back cuddling with her like he did before.

Warren’s advice to everyone, and especially women, is to get checked out if experiencing a shortness of breath. Pay attention if you have a pet that changes its usual interaction with you. Notice changes in how you are feeling – reduced energy level, increased pulse rate and/or blood pressure. Any strange tingling sensations or pain can indicate possible heart problems. She also noticed her handwriting changed.

Warren believes a positive attitude is an important factor in healing.

“Because I am a person who puts my makeup on every day when I can, it helps me recover quicker,” she said.

She is looking forward to seeing Venice next year.

 

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