Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just a Little Controversy?

My sister is just to the right of center.  The photo I really wanted to include was this one.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I shared some big and important news this week:  my sister, Tamara, was chosen as a national spokeswoman for Go Red for Women.  If you visit this link you can read or watch the stories of all six Go Red Women.  Tamara's video is below.

As you may already know from my previous posts, we witnessed as our mother died of a heart attack on our kitchen floor. 

So when I saw the trailer for the short film made by Go Red to raise awareness this year, and saw that it was clearly a mother having a heart attack on the kitchen floor?  I tensed up a bit.  When the full short film, Just a Little Heart Attack, was released, I waited to watch it until I was with my sister just before the official premiere/party.  We didn't say much.

At the premiere party, I watched it standing next to Star Jones, with Elizabeth Banks standing perhaps ten feet away.  I was in a room full of people who had just heard my sister tell the nutshell version of the story of our mother's death, but they didn't know I was the sister she had mentioned.  It was a surreal.

I cannot deny that the film was a tidbit....triggering...

There has been a little bit of backlash against Go Red (on their Facebook page is what I've mostly seen) for making a funny film about a serious issue.

Obviously I can see the point.

But I think it's a great approach as long as I set aside my own stuff.  First off, in my opinion, it's ok - even a good thing - to find something to laugh at in something serious.  And you know what?  Women/moms really do put their needs behind others' even when they are having a heart attack.  It's so ridiculous that it is laughable when we see it in this film, but women really do wait until it's "more convenient" to seek medical attention!

And if you laugh about this dramatized situation rather than cry, you might actually learn something.  Rather than turn away, cry, or get caught up in your own emotions, perhaps you will watch the whole way through.  Perhaps you will hear (or see in Banks' acting) the list of symptoms women report when they're having a heart attack.  (Hint:  It's not the typical chest pain we all think of.)

And I like the controversy.  I wish Go Red would be more controversial.  I wish they would make major headlines.  My mother died of a misdiagnosed heart attack seventeen years ago and still I hear of women's heart attacked misdiagnosed as panic attacks.  Still I hear of mothers not knowing the symptoms of heart attack in women and leaving behind teenaged children.  Still surveys show that even when women do know that heart disease is their number one killer they do not think it's a threat to their own health and life!

So laugh it up.  Or get angry/indignant/frustrated/offended.  And tell someone what you thought of it.

Watch the short film.  Share it.  Be controversial if you want.  Help Go Red for Women make some headlines and create some buzz.  Learn the signs of heart attack and stroke - from the film or from Go Red's website.  Spread the word.  Go Red for the women you love - and for the children in your life.

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