Friday, January 30, 2009

It's a Man's World

One of the things I love about my job is communicating to our employees about the various community service activities the company supports. Right now, we happen to be supporting the American Heart Association's annual Heart Walk campaign, just in time for National Wear Red Day which is next Friday, Feb. 6.

Earlier today an employee complained because an announcement about National Wear Red Day failed to mention that heart disease was the number one killer of men, too. It's a national event that I thought was well known and because we've promoted it for the last couple of years, I didn't include information about the origins of the event. (For the record ... that wasn't in last year's announcement either, but I guess that one got by him.)

I usually let things like this go because you can't please everyone all the time, but today I became quite angry about it. And when I'm angry -- I cry. And that messes up my eye makeup, which just makes me even madder! (And I probably wouldn't have cared if I hadn't lost my grandmother to heart disease last summer and this will be the first year I walk in memory of her instead in honor of her.)

Because Mother raised me right, I'm going to give this man the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's never heard of the Go Red for Women movement. Maybe he's never seen a red dress pin. Maybe he doesn't know that almost 500,000 women died from heart disease last year. Maybe he doesn't know that the symptoms of acute heart attack are slightly different in women. Maybe he doesn't know that women are more likely to have neck and shoulder pain, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and shortness of breath in addition to chest pain. Or, that silent heart attacks are more common in women and because these symptoms aren't normally associated with heart attacks that women seek medical care later than men. Maybe he doesn't know that because of the Go Red for Women movement, many people are losing the perception that heart disease is a "man's" disease, women are becoming more informed and lives are being saved.

To make a long story short, I revised the announcement to provide background on the Go Red for Women movement. To do that, I had to use the word "women" several more times. (Okay, that was snotty of me, but I was a tad bit emotional.)

I've drawn the conclusion that this man has obviously not gone through the pain of losing a woman he loved to a heart attack or stroke. Perhaps he lost a male loved one and that made him as passionate about my exclusion of men as I was about my inclusion of women.
Whatever the case, I hope he never has to feel the pain of a 10-year-old girl who awakes one Sunday morning to find her Mom unresponsive in the bathtub because of a stroke that caused her to fall unconscious and drown. And I hope he never has to visit the hospital room of the woman who means more to him than life itself knowing that she is drawing her last breaths because congestive heart failure has caused liquid to fill her lungs. I wouldn't wish either of those on my worst enemy.

So on Friday, Feb. 6, I hope that everyone will join me in going red for women, including my fellow complaining coworker.


  1. Now, Keela, you know the rules. No crying at work. It is okay, however to make his lunch disappear and his stapler always empty.

    OMG! I think I may have heart disease. I have every symptom you just listed!!! I'm scheduling a doctor's appointment ASAP! Or maybe I should stop eating cake and Doritos then going to sleep. Hmmm...

  2. I feel you pain! It's impossible to satisfy everyone. Why on earth does that one squeaky wheel always manage to drive us crazy! Oh well!