Act Inter Newsletter The

In this issue:
Inter Act
by Dianna Gifford
in the Legislative Building. We collaborated two very successful annual Women’s Health Fairs. Our Education Committee coordinates excellent training that is
timely for the needs of today’s workforce.
Goodbye from Dianna
by Dianna Gifford
Page 2
Ask the Governor
Page 3-4
Meet the 2007-2008
Executive Board
Page 4
Safe Driving After Dark
by V. Sarah Barrie
Agency in the Spotlight
Pierce College
Dianna Gifford past Chair for ICSEW
Page 7
When I came in office my vision was to
inspire others in membership to leadership. Then empower them. I accepted
this office saying to ICSEW membership,
“It’s all about you. What we accomplish
depends on you. Be yourself.”
by Audrey Pritchard
Thank you, ICSEW for responding.
Page 8
With Christine Gregoire in office, ICSEW
has established excellent communication avenues with the governor’s office.
We learned what our resources are for
making policy recommendations to the
Governor and state agencies with respect
to desirable changes in program and law
especially in the area of education, training, career development, and other conditions of employment.
by Mary Davis
Page 6
Historical Reflection
by Robyn Bradshaw
The Office Candy Bowl
Projecting Self Image
by Kim Hardeman
Page 9-10
Female Heart Attacks
by Anonymous
“Success means
you becoming your
authentic self.”
Sandra Smith
Don’t forget to
recycle your old cell
phone (with battery
charger and cords) to
ICSEW’s on-going
recycled cell phone
drive. For further
information contact:
Sharon Edwards
[email protected]
Fall 2007 Issue
Goodbye from Dianna
Page 1
Page 5
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve
ICSEW. It has been one of the most
rewarding experiences in my life. ICSEW
is a group of powerful dedicated women.
I enjoyed ICSEW’s inclusive supportive
environment. I value the sharing of ideas
that inspire ICSEW to action.
We made leaps and bounds in restoring
portions of ICSEW history. Housekeeping issues for the meetings went smoothly. We published this bimonthly news
letter and continued to make improvements to our web site. We have great
professional development pamphlets. We
sponsored Public Service Recognition
booths during Public Service Recognition
week. We have an on going cell phone
drive that benefits domestic violence
victims. We coordinate an annual clothing drive, partnering with Workfirst, to
help the unemployed with outfits for job
To accomplish so much requires the
dedication and hard work of all members.
I thank you all. Remember it’s all about
you. Be yourself. No one can do a better
job at being you than you.
I trust the new chair, Connie Riker, to
share her leadership style and vision with
ICSEW. And I trust the powerful women
that make up ICSEW to support Connie
in her new role and to embrace their own
leadership role in improving the working
conditions of state employed women.
I appreciate the extraordinary teamwork
displayed in coordinating ICSEW events.
I appreciate the inclusive supportive
environment. I appreciate the extraordinary teamwork displayed in the work of
a great conference, Take Our Daughters
and Sons to Work event, and our recent Women’s Health Fair in the capital
rotunda, PSRW booth, cell phone drive,
and clothing drive.
During my term we (ICSEW) hosted the
Bi-annual Women in Leadership conference. We held two successful Take Our
Daughters and Sons to Work day events
ICSEW is a group of powerful women
and I am thankful for the opportunity
this past two years to have served with
Ask the Governor
“Governor Gregoire, what have you done to support women
working in state government?”
While I’m extremely proud of the fact that
I’ve appointed more women to serve in
governor-appointed positions than any other U.S. governor in the country at any time
in history, I’m even more pleased to be
working alongside intelligent women passionate about delivering exceptional public
service to the people of Washington.
As Governor of Washington, I am personally committed to hiring bright women to
help me move this great state forward.
Women currently hold 15 of the 29 positions on my executive Cabinet. They are
at the helm of major agencies, including
the Departments of Labor and Industries;
Health; Agriculture; and Community, Trade
and Economic Development.
I have named women to 42 percent of the
top policy posts in my office, have appointed 566 women (43 percent) to the 1,309
board, and commission openings filled
since taking office in January 2005.
I continue to be inspired by female peers
in other elected positions. Washington
is the first, and so far only, state to have
women serving in both U.S. Senate seats
and as Governor.
I know firsthand just how productive
women can be and what gifted managers, executives and public officials we can
make. In Washington, women are getting
that chance more than ever before.
In addition, the public is benefiting from
their skills, experience and leadership.
Women make outstanding employees and
leaders. The ICSEW is an organization
that provides women with opportunities to
grow and develop as leaders. I encourage
women to get involved in organizations like
ICSEW and take on leadership roles. ■
Washington State granted women the right to vote in 1910
2007-08 Executive
Connie Riker
Department of General Administration
[email protected]
Vice Chair
Amilee Wilson
Department of Fish & Wildlife
[email protected]
Executive Secretary
Sarah Barrie
Department of Ecology
[email protected]
Robyn Bradshaw
Evergreen State College
[email protected]
Mary Skube
Washington’s Lottery
[email protected]
Kim Sauer
Washington State Liquor Control Board
[email protected]
Linda Watson
Employment Security Department
[email protected]
Sarah Bland
Office of Superintendent of Public
[email protected]
Michelle Lucero
Department of Agriculture
[email protected]
Health and Wellness
Kristin Reichl
Department of Health
[email protected]
Take our Daughters and Sons to
Work Day
Patricia Thronson
Department of Information
[email protected]
by E.W. Gustin
Professional Development
Meagan Macvie
Department of Personnel
[email protected]
Meet the 2007-2008 Executive Board Members
This year’s ICSEW Executive Board would like to
introduce themselves to you, present their visions for the
upcoming year, and share what they are most passionate
about. The Executive Board includes the ICSEW
Chair, Vice Chair, Executive Secretary, Treasurer, and
Historian. Subcommittee chairs include Communications,
Conference, Education, Health and Wellness,
Professional Development, Membership, and Take Our
Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Connie Riker, Chair: Connie has served on ICSEW
since 2004. Her vision for ICSEW is to “increase
ICSEW’s involvement in legislative and policy issues.”
Connie is passionate about “helping my children grow up
to be productive members of society and enjoy life to the
Amilee Wilson, Vice Chair: Amilee has served ICSEW
for 1 ½ years. Amilee’s vision for ICSEW is “that all of
us will become advocates for our fellow women state
employees and successful at invoking positive change.
Our vision for the education committee is to continue
to provide unique and innovative trainings to state
employees for both professional and personal growth.”
Her passion in life “lies in providing a helping hand to
others, whether that be serving on ICSEW, volunteering
monthly at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, assisting with
charity events, or volunteering at my children’s school
Giving does a body good!”
Sarah Barrie, Executive Secretary: Sarah began
working with ICSEW in March 2006. “I volunteered to
work on the 2006 conference and helped Jean Vanni with
the silent auction. Lots of fun!” says Sarah. Her passion
is life and the enjoyment thereof.
Kim Sauer, Treasurer: Kim has been an ICSEW
member since July 2005. “I was fortunate to be
reappointed for another two year term. I plan to fully
utilize the opportunity to learn and contribute to and
from the committee,” says Kim. As treasurer she plans
to support the committees in developing the fiscal
year budget, provide cash flow reports, and maintain
the financial data as well as actively participate in the
Executive Board meetings and its sponsored events. Kim is passionate about her job at the Liquor Control
Board. “As I manage the Mandatory Alcohol Server
Training program at the Liquor Control Board, I strive to
make a positive difference in promoting the responsible
alcohol consumption by supporting and providing the
guidance to nearly 1000 private trainers in educating
more than 170,000 alcohol servers in the State of
Washington,” says Kim.
Robyn Bradshaw, Historian: Robyn has served
ICSEW since August 2004. “I envision connecting our
past with the present while building our future collections
Top row left to right: Linda Watson, Kim Sauer, Amilee Wilson, Mary Skube
Bottom row: Meagan Macvie, Sarah Barrie, Sarah Bland, Connie Riker,
Robyn Bradshaw, Michelle Lucero, Wendy Sue Wheeler
of ICSEW history,” says Robyn. Her passion is to “bring
a sense of legacy and the desire to ensure our history is
told with accuracy and available for reflection.”
Linda Watson, Communications: This is Linda’s
second year serving ICSEW. Her vision for the
Communications Committee is to provide timely
information to members and to state employed women.
She hopes to help members share their knowledge
through the ICSEW newsletter, Web site, and other
communication formats. Linda is passionate about
families and education.
Sarah Bland, Conference: Sarah served as an
ICSEW alternate for three years, and also represented
the State Board of Education for two years. Her vision
for 2008 is “to provide a forum in which working women
at all levels can explore imaginative ideas and adopt
innovative techniques to help them rise to new levels
of responsibility, recognition, and reward.” She has a
passion for life, learning and success.
Michelle Lucero, Education: Michelle has been an
ICSEW representative for three years. She co-chairs the
committee with Wendy Sue Wheeler. Their vision for the
education committee over this next year is “to expand in
the locations, topics, speakers, and format of trainings
that we sponsor,” says Lucero. Luceno’s passions in life
“include family, friends, music, compassion, justice and
continual personal growth.”
Kristin “Kris” Reichl, Health and Wellness: Kris has
served ICSEW for 1 ½ years. Connie Nabors shares the
committee chairmanship. Their vision for the Health &
Wellness Committee is to raise awareness of women’s
health issues and to promote a healthy environment
while creating lasting friendships. “I am passionate about
providing opportunities for women to achieve all that
they are possible of physically, mentally emotionally and
spiritually,” says Kris.
Executive Board Members continued .........
Meagan Macvie, Professional Development: Meagan
chairs the Professional Development Committee. Meagan
is new to ICSEW, joining the organization in July 2007.
Her vision for the Professional Development Committee
is “to create opportunities for state-employed women
to develop as leaders, professionals and individuals,
largely through the ICSEW mentorship program.” She is
passionate about building a future where her daughter is
recognized, accepted and promoted for her unique talents
and contributions.
Mary Skube, Membership: Mary has been with ICSEW
for a year. Her vision for ICSEW is “to connect women
from all state agencies to support, learn, and mentor one
another. This Committee is a tool for women to enhance
and grow both personally and professionally.” Her vision
for the Membership Committee is to “keep current the
membership roster and to reach out to other agencies
that do not have a representative in ICSEW.” She says
she is passionate about gardening, and loves flowers.
She finds “joy in making flower bouquets for others. I
am passionate about visiting our elderly in hospitals and
retirement homes…they should not be forgotten.”
Patricia Thronson, Take our Daughters and Sons
to Work Day (TODSTWD): Patricia has served ICSEW
for two years. Her vision for TODSTWD is to “increase
interagency participation and demonstrations of future
opportunities for girls and boys as their education
progresses.” She hopes to incorporate junior high school
students into the TOD&STW Day event. Her passion:
“to encourage those around me to celebrate life through
a positive and creative attitude both personally as a way
of life, and professionally as a way of communicating to
those involved in our work-a-day world.”
To contact an Executive Board member, see the ICSEW
member Web site ■
Safe Driving After Dark
by V. Sarah Barrie
Transportation Officer
Safe driving is a challenge in today’s hectic over crowded
roadways, but night driving can be even more stressful. Are you aware that 90 percent of a driver’s reaction
depends on vision and vision is very limited at night? The National Safety Council has distributed some driving
tips for driving at night.
For those of us who are age 50+, night vision can be an
even greater problem. Older drivers have diminished
physical skills, such as slower reaction time and
less acute vision. However, depth perception, color
recognition and peripheral vision are all compromised
after dark. Another dangerous factor is fatigue. Drowsiness slows reaction times and because the body
thinks of night as the time to rest, you may become
increasingly groggy driving at night.
Some tips for safe night driving:
In Western Washington where rain is normal year
round keeping the light lens clean is a necessity. The
headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows should be
cleaned at least once a week. Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed
headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to
see the road.
Reduce your speed and increase your following distance. Judging the speed and distance of other vehicles is more
difficult at night than during the day.
Do not overdrive your headlights. You should be able to
stop in the illuminated area.
When following another vehicle keep your low beams on
so you do not blind other drivers.
Do not ever drink and drive. Alcohol acts as a
depressant and can lead to fatigue.
If you are too tired to drive any further, stop and rest a
while or spend the night. If you are going to stop for a
break, make sure you get out of the vehicle and get a
break from the vehicle before continuing.
If an oncoming vehicle does not lower its beams from
high to low, avoid the glare by watching the right edge of
the road and using it as your guide.
Observe nighttime driving rules as soon as the sun goes
down. Early evening can be one of the most difficult
times to drive since reflective light is deceptive.
The latest statistics say Washington had 161 deaths on it
its highways from January through April 2007.
The statistics do not elaborate how many are night
fatalities. ■
Never drive faster than your
guardian angel can fly.
Author Unknown
in the
Spotlight ..................
Pierce College
by Mary Davis, Program Support Supervisor
Pierce College Distance Learning
Pierce College is proudly celebrating its 40th year
providing affordable educational excellence and
opportunities to the Lakewood, Puyallup, and
surrounding communities. Each year, nearly 30,000
students attend Pierce College to begin a four-year
degree program, learn new or upgrade current skills,
improve general skill areas such as English or math,
complete high school, or pursue courses for personal
The college originally started out as Clover Park
Community College, evolved into Fort Steilacoom
Community College as enrollment grew, and in 1986 was
renamed Pierce College to better reflect the community
that we serve. The Pierce College Puyallup Campus is
located on South Hill in Puyallup; the Pierce College Fort
Steilacoom Campus is located on Farwest Drive in the
Lakewood area. Additionally, we maintain educational
sites at Fort Lewis and McChord AFB, McNeil Island
Correctional Facility, as well as numerous smaller sites
located throughout the community, providing English
as a Second Language, GED, Adult Basic Education,
Early Childhood Education, and many communitybased educational classes. Both the Ft. Steilacoom and
Puyallup campuses reached a long sought-after goal of
opening brand new state-of-the-art childcare facilities
this fall.
The college serves a large multi-cultural and diverse
student population. In addition, there are students from
many nations who choose to attend Pierce College.
This diversity is reflected in the staff, faculty, and
administrators employed at the college and contributes
to an added depth and enriched quality to the workplace.
One of the fastest-growing areas of educational options
is online, or distance learning. These courses are fully
transcripted and transferable, using a variety of media
ranging from audio and video materials to Internet tools
like listservs, Web pages, email and courseware such as
Blackboard. Pierce College offers a general AA degree
fully online, perfect for the student whose schedule or
location doesn’t permit attending on-campus courses.
College employees can take most classes offered for
an unbelievable low cost of just $5.00 per class. This
has afforded many of our staff the opportunity to earn
or complete a degree or certificate while working fulltime. In fact, staff often request that these educational
opportunities be written into their Performance and
Development Plan as opportunities for growth and
advancement. Many staff continue their studies and
The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors
into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris
earn bachelor degrees from local four-year colleges
in the area. Employees can also take advantage of
personal enrichment classes such as Yoga, fitness
classes, computer classes, cooking a vegetarian
Thanksgiving dinner, or even ballroom dancing for a
nominal cost. The motto seems to be, “If someone
wants to teach it, we will try to offer it!”
If a particular work situation allows, employees can
request a flex schedule, telecommute schedule, ‘regular’
work schedule, four ten-hour days, or a mix of the
choices listed above. Especially nice in the summer is
the nine-hour Monday through Thursday and four hours
on Friday workweek, with the college closing at noon.
Pierce College has been and continues to be committed
to the support of ICSEW. As a guest speaker, District
Chancellor Dr. Michele Johnson has addressed the
membership on two separate occasions, speaking about
mentoring and leadership topics, and offering insights
on achieving personal and professional growth. We look
forward to a continued and long association with ICSEW
and encourage you to contact us if we can assist you
with your educational goals. ■
Historical Reflection
by Robyn Bradshaw
The Evergreen State College
Let’s take a look back in the ICSEW history to a report called “Report on the status of women in state service
September 1, 1976.” This report compared the employment of women in state service from 1971 to 1975 after
the Affirmative Action measures were instituted in 1971. The report revealed very little change occurred in the
status of women in state employment during 1971-1975.
In 1971, women comprised 42.1% (11,174) of the total state work force; whereas in 1975 women
represented 43.8% (12,078) of the total work force. This is an increase of only 1.7%.
In 1971, the average monthly salary for women was $594, compared to $841 for men. In 1975, the
average monthly salary for women increased to $802, compared to $1112 for men. The disparity in
salaries between women and men in 1971 was $247 and increased to $310 in 1975.
In addition to the total women state employees employed within the clerical ranks, 42.9% of women
were employed in traditional female positions including social service, medical and nursing. In 1975,
39.55% of total women employees were employed in these areas.
When comparing the 1971 to 1975 statistics, there was an increase of 5.8% of women employed in nontraditional areas. These areas included staff services and administration, law enforcement, inspection,
hearings, agriculture, engineering, architecture and related positions, trades, plants, equipment,
warehouse, farms, garden, fish, game, and parks.
Because of an increase in the number of women in non-traditional jobs, representative interviews were
conducted with women working in these areas to attempt to determine the degree of interaction of the
women and their business associates. Several of the most common comments listed are far too familiar and
representative to our last General Membership meeting in September of 2007.
“I’m considered a token and am used as an example for all women in terms of success or failure on the job.”
“Peer pressure is extreme. I’m expected to fail.”
“My agency has set aside positions a woman can do; such as office jobs rather than a field job or in jobs
where there is a lot of male support.”
“I feel isolated because I’m the only woman in this area and because my male co-workers do not include me
in informal meetings where work problems and situations are discussed.”
“I’m not allowed to participate in training programs which are essential for promotion into higher level
management positions.”
It was apparent that the traditional stereotyping of jobs considered as acceptable “women’s work” was still
prevalent within the system. Can we say the same stereotyping exists in the 21st century? Recommendations
were made to state agencies to conduct affirmative action training for all agency personnel in order to raise
awareness levels with regard to sexual stereotyping.
The closing comment to the overall summary was thought provoking: Until it is recognized that women are
capable individuals who want and need challenging, rewarding employment that makes use of their education
and abilities, a major portion of the state’s workforce will continue to be under-utilized.
Historical Piece of the Month of October: October 19, 1970, the Washington State Interagency Committee on
the Status of Women (ICSW) was established by Governor Dan Evans, replacing the title of the Commission on
the Status of Women established on February 20, 1963 under Governor Albert D. Rosellini. ■
The Office Candy Bowl
by Audrey Pitchford
Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. However, we all know where to find it – the bowl of free office candy!
Folks often provide free candy as a way to connect with others, to welcome friendly interaction, and sometimes
just to have handy access to sugar!
However, if you are working to regain or improve your health, the office candy bowl may turn your job into a
struggle. Perhaps you work in a reception area, where removing the bowl is not an option.
Short of crying, filling the bowl with last year’s Easter candy, or dumping it in the garbage and acting innocent,
what can a health-conscious employee who struggles with her own sugar cravings do? The ICSEW committee
recently pondered this question, and brainstormed a few ideas, listed here in no particular order.
If you are trying to avoid the candy:
Chew on coffee straws or gum
Bring your own healthy snacks to munch on, or ask coworkers to take turns bringing healthy snacks
Line up your healthy snacks between you and the candy bowl
Put a physical barrier between you and the bowl, such as a screen
Post a picture between you and the bowl, with a symbol to remind yourself to avoid the candy (such as “Mr. Yuk” or a skull and crossbones)
Post nutrition information about the candy between you and the bowl
Request healthier snacks, such as sugar-free candy, hard candies, or gum
Request a lid for the candy bowl, so candy will be less visible and tempting
When you want the candy, take a break or walk
Talk with coworkers and supervisors about your concerns, ask for their help and support, and brainstorm solutions with them
Talk to your union representative, shop steward, agency Wellness Coordinator, ICSEW representative, and other agency staff for resources and ideas
Join or organize a support group within your agency
Participate in the Governor’s Health Bowl or other wellness events, and challenge your coworkers to join you
Focus on areas where you have a lot of control over your health: meditate, exercise, eat regular healthy meals and snacks, spend time with friends and family, and do activities which bring you pleasure and joy
If you provide free candy, think about ways you might be able to support your coworkers with the previous suggestions, and these ideas as well:
Move the location of the bowl – put it inside your office or in a break room
Limit how often you refill the dish
Put tags of encouragement in the bowl to help with wellness
Set up another fun alternative to welcome others to your work space – such as a hole of miniature golf or other game
For supervisors and managers:
Sponsor an agency-wide health day
Sponsor an agency wellness program and support groups
Maintain an open-door policy
Seek balance between welcoming others and supporting employees
Conduct a survey with employees, to solicit their wellness needs
Other good ideas are always welcome! If you have found a solution to the candy bowl dilemma in your office, and
you would like to share it with others in an upcoming Interact article, please pass it along to your ICSEW representative or the ICSEW Communications Committee! Thank you! ■
Projecting Self Image
by Kim Hardeman
Department of Labor & Industries
The choices you make will leave a lasting impact on
your professional relationships.
What is the image you portray with your appearance? Do you realize the first impression you make
with every encounter is the physical?
from peers, customers and those you encounter.
The following are examples of the types of clothing that are acceptable to portray a conscientious
Clothing that is clean, neatly ironed and fits.
Working in an environment that is interactive with
customers, whether internal or external, you will be
judged on the selection of your wardrobe. When you
work in a business casual environment, the apparel
you choose could be different from a business professional environment. Certainly, you should dress
appropriately for the employment you choose. If you
work in the construction field, you wouldn’t normally
wear a suit. On the same theme, you will want to
wear neat and presentable attire if you are working in
an indoor office environment.
Items appropriate to your environment, i.e. not something you wear to go to the beach, mall or an evening
of entertainment.
When you select casual clothing, you portray a casual attitude. When you select a more professional,
serious wardrobe, you will reflect a more professional
attitude. You will receive a different type of respect
When you plan your day, expect the unexpected.
The opportunity of a lifetime may be coming your
way today. ■
When you are getting ready for work, make work
your priority. Display the importance of your job with
your appearance. If you wake up feeling drab, that
is the day you really need to concentrate on giving a
fabulous physical impression to others and yourself.
You will receive positive feedback which could in
turn improve the way you feel and the way you are
Figure 1: Computer Screen
Enhance your manual with visual aids!
Are you writing a user guide or informational resource?
Make your document more comprehensive and engaging
for readers by incorporating images of computer screens
and/or program windows. Here’s how to:
Capture an Image of a Computer Screen (Figure 1)
1. Select “Print Scrn/SysRq” on your keyboard
Figure 2: Program Window
2. Within Microsoft Word, place your cursor where you want the
image to appear
3. Select “Ctrl” and “V” on your keyboard simultaneously
Capture an Image of a Program Window (Figure 2)
1. Select “Alt” and “Print Scrn/SysRq” simultaneously on your
2. Within Microsoft Word, place your cursor where you want the
image to appear
3. Select “Ctrl” and “V” on your keyboard simultaneously
Female Heart Attacks
One womans survival story
Women and heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction):
Did you know that women rarely have the
same dramatic symptoms that men have when
experiencing a heart attack, the sudden stabbing
pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the
chest and dropping to the floor like we see in
the movies. Here is the story of one woman’s
experience with a heart attack.
“I had a completely unexpected heart attack at
about 10:30 pm with NO prior exertion; NO prior
emotional trauma that one would suspect might’ve
brought it on. I was sitting all snug & warm on
a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap,
reading an interesting story my friend had sent
thinking, “Aah, this is the life, all cozy and warm
in my soft cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped
up”. A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of
indigestion, you know when you have been in a
hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed
it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite
seems to feel like you have swallowed a golf ball
going down the esophagus in slow motion and it
is most uncomfortable. You realize you should not
have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it
more thoroughly and should have drunk a glass of
water to hasten its progress down to the stomach.
This was my initial sensation - the only trouble
was that I had not taken a bite of anything since
about 5:00 p.m.
After that had seemed to subside, the next
sensation was like little squeezing motions that
seemed to be racing up my spine (hindsight, it was
probably my aorta spasoming), gaining speed as
they continued racing up and under my sternum
(breastbone, where one presses rhythmically when
administering CPR). This fascinating process
continued into my throat and branched out into
both jaws. “Ah ha, now I stopped puzzling about
what was happening--we all have read and/or
heard about pain in the jaws being one of the
signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said
aloud to the cat and myself, “Dear God, I think
I’m having a heart attack” I then lowered the
footrest, dumping the cat from my lap, started to
take a step and fell on the floor. I thought to myself
“If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking
into the next room where the phone is or anywhere
else...but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody
will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer
I may not be able to get up.” I pulled myself up
with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the
next room and dialed the paramedics... I told the
operator I thought I was having a heart attack due
to the pressure building under the sternum and
radiating into my jaws. I did not feel hysterical
or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was
sending the paramedics over immediately, she
asked if the front door was near to me, and if so,
to go unbolt the door and then lie down on the
floor where they could see me when they came
in. I then lay down on the floor as instructed and
lost consciousness. I do not remember the medics
coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a
gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or
hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the
way. I did briefly awaken when we arrived and
saw that the cardiologist was already there in his
surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my
stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending
over me asking questions, (probably something
like “Have you taken any medications?”) but I
could not make my mind interpret what he was
saying, or form an answer. I nodded off again,
not waking up until the cardiologist had already
threaded the tiny angiogram balloon up my
femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart,
where they installed two side-by-side stints to hold
open my right coronary artery. “I know it sounds
like all my thinking and actions at home must
have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling
the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5
minutes before the call, and both the fire station
and St. Jude are only minutes away from my
home, and my cardiologist was all ready to go to
the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting
my heart (which had stopped somewhere between
my arrival and the procedure) and installing the
“Why have I written all of this to you with so
much detail? Because I want all of you to know
what I learned first hand.”
continued on page 10
Heart attack survival story continued ........
1. Be aware that something very different is
happening in your body not the usual symptoms
like chest pains but inexplicable things
happening. It is said that many more women
than men die of their first (and last) MI because
they didn’t know they were having one and
commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some
Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation
and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the
morning when they wake up....which doesn’t
happen. My female friends, your symptoms
might not be exactly like mine, so I advise
you to call the paramedics if ANYTHING
is unpleasantly happening that you have not
felt before. It is better to have a “false alarm”
visitation than to risk your life guessing what it
might be!
2. Note that I said, “Call the paramedics”. Ladies,
to drive yourself to the ER--you’re a hazard
to others on the road and so is your panicked
husband who will be speeding and looking
anxiously at what’s happening with you instead
of the road. Do NOT call your doctor--he does
not know where you live; and if it is at night,
you will not reach him anyway. If it is daytime,
his assistants (or answering service) will tell you
to call the paramedics. He does not carry the
equipment in his car that you need to be saved.
The paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that
you need ASAP. Your doctor will be notified
3. Do not assume it could not be a heart attack
because you have a normal cholesterol count.
Research has discovered that a cholesterol
elevated reading is rarely the cause of an
MI (unless it is unbelievably high and/or
accompanied by high blood pressure.) MI’s
are usually caused by long-term stress and
inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts
of deadly hormones into your system to sludge
things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you
from a sound sleep. Let us be careful and be
aware. The more we know the better chance we
have of surviving. ■
The InterAct is published by the Communications Subcommittee of the Interagency Committee of State Employed
Women (ICSEW). Photocopying, distributing, or posting of this publication is strongly encouraged. This publication
is available in alternate formats. Views stated in re-printed articles are informational and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the ICSEW. All persons interested in submitting articles or ideas to this publication should contact their
agency’s ICSEW representative or:
Tammy Risner, Publisher
Office of the State Treasurer
(360) 902-9008
[email protected]