Women Learn To Listen To Their Bodies

The American Heart Association developed 'Wear Red For Women Day' to serve as a reminder to women to listen to their bodies. On Friday red was worn by  many health care professionals.

They're the ones who care for women like Mary Mallory. On Monday she had open heart surgery. Her painful symptoms could no longer be ignored. " I couldn't hardly do my chores. I started getting real tired, short winded and I couldn't rest at night. A steady hurt. I constantly hurt."

Mary would often dismiss her own fatigue. After all, she has four children to raise. She's not alone. Many women put others before themselves. Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital's ICU Nursing Care Coordinator Vanessa Beard said,  " The symptoms that we often overlook as flu like symptoms or generally not feeling well, so it's often overlooked for women. They don't necessarily go to their physicians for these type of symptoms. "

As it turned out Mary had a damaged heart valve. She's on the road to recovery thanks to modern medicine. She's also learning how to better care for herself through moderate exercise and proper diet.    Her ICU nurse, Martie Fowler provided some good advice. "When you go home it's real important that you eat healthy; fresh vegetables, fruits, whole wheat. Stay away from that fat food because that will make that heart work harder and we just got through fixing that."

Mary is leaving the intensive care unit on Dress Red for Women Day. A perfect time for her and other women to start listening to their bodies.    " I'm going to do everything I can to get stronger and get back to myself and I'm going to follow orders," promised Mary.