During my first evening at our “Heart to Heart” support group, the man sitting next to me leaned over and asked me: “What are you in for?”
I told him that I’d had what doctors call the “widowmaker” heart attack two weeks earlier, and that I now had a stainless steel stent implanted in a major coronary artery that had been 99% blocked. He interrupted me with a cheery:
“Me too! But I have THREE stents!”
As he went on and on in exquisite detail about his cardiac event, I felt like my own was suddenly pretty puny by comparison. Three stents? How could I possibly compete with that? My previously-fascinating heart attack misdiagnosis story now seemed hardly even worth mentioning, really.
I came to observe during the following weeks and months that heart patients, consciously or not, seem to slot themselves arbitrarily into what I call the unspoken Hierarchy of Heart Disease. Continue reading “The seven levels in the ‘Hierarchy of Heart Disease’”