Sunday, November 25, 2007

Family Lines

My great grandmother, Anna Augustine, arrived to America, from Poland, in the early 1900’s, settled down in Chicago with an alcoholic engineer, had several children, then died from a heart attack at age thirty-five.

A woman in my family, only three generations removed, died at age thirty-five, from a heart attack. I cannot tell you how disheartening this is. Thirty-five. That’s twelve years older than I am now.

I like to live in denial about certain issues, and this happens to be one of them. I have secretly developed a theory about the death of my great grandmother, damn her to hell, that negates the conclusion that my heart is a ticking time bomb. You see, the theory I’ve concocted is that the sweet thirty-five year old Polish mother died not from a heart attack—as family history would lead you to believe—but from a violent drug overdose in the hard streets of Chi-town. Believable, right?

I bring this up because I’ve become increasingly aware of my own heart issues lately. First it was the heart attack in my sleep, now the constant chest pains; I can’t help but think I’m on the verge of my own heart attack, but I’m holding out for an overdose.


Sean said...

Hmmmm, was this heart attack anecdotal or do you know this from the death certificate or some other official document? 'cause if it's the latter, just if, you know they almost ALWAYS list the cause of death as heart failure. Seriously. it could have been that she was accosted in the mean streets of the south side and as the gruesomeness unfolded, at some point, her heart gave out. In other words, you've got heart girl! Viva Poland!

kps15 said...

Could the chest pain be anxiety related? It's happened to me before. Don't shoot me, but try to relax and it'll likely go away. Also, a great-grandmother is quite far in the past to count for much of a genetic risk. My husband was concerned about his chest pain at 37 (he was fine) mostly because his grandfather and great-uncle both died in their 40s died from a heart attack. The doctors didn't seem concerned about a link that so far removed. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Heart attack at 35? It was all those damn kids. I have 2 and I frequently tell people it won't be the booze or the cigs that kill me, it'll be the stress from the kids that does.

That aside, I have chest pains too. It's called chest wall pains and it is due to stress. The more you focus on it, the worse it will get. You have to ignore them. I know, easier said than done, right?