Thursday, 18 February 2010

See my blog at

Dear All,
I have rationalised my blogs onto one blog at Being an enthusiast, I have set up three blogs and now combined all into one.
Looking forward to receiving your comments on my blog and interacting with you.
Warm regards,

Friday, 22 May 2009

London to Canterbury, a Modern Chaucer's Tales

Here begins the Book of the Tales of Canterbury
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire's end
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weal
Befell that, in that season, on a day
In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay
Ready to start upon my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, full of devout homage,
There came at nightfall to that hostelry
Some nine and twenty in a company
Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all
That toward Canterbury town would ride.

So begins the prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a classic that I studied in Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, never dreaming that I’d be making the same Pilgrimage one day.

Well today we start from the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church overlooking Trafalgar Square in the heart of London, 80 of us. Last night I separated my newly purchased Canterbury Tales into 15 sections and put each into a numbered plastic sleeve. Last year when I did just two of the four days, I vowed to do all four this year.

I also vowed to get a copy of Chaucer’s Tales to read bit by bit with the others along the way. My plan is to dole out sections to each group, swap them around, read them aloud as that’s how it was done in Chaucer’s day.

Well, we’re off in a few minutes. I’m looking forward to this time of walking, having fun with the other Pilgrims, times of silence in the countryside after we get out of London, time to celebrate one year and time to listen to Chaucer’s Tales.

I’ll be Twittering along the way to keep friends informed. We are raising money for The Connection, St Martin’s social service for the homeless. Many of them are ex-service people (armed forces and police), people who find themselves alone for some reason. People such as an ex-police sergeant who slept under Waterloo Bridge for 20 years, finally came to St Martin’s and became an artist after classes there. She now lives in a flat, travels the world with her art exhibitions. I believe in the God of Surprises when I hear stories like that.

Sponsor me at www.justgiving/phyllissantamaria

Happy Walking!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Mama's Birthday


I got through a stuck place this morning in my writing of the introduction to my book, S-T-U-C-K. I was inspired to go to the line with it this morning, had wrestled with so many drafts, crossings out, deletings.

I think it's because it's my mother's birthday today. She would have been 98 today, dear 'Able' Aline, our nickname for her. She had 10 children, plus my father, probably the 11th at times. She had talent as a writer, wrote with multiple carbon copies her 'Dear Children' letters to keep the ten of us children in touch before photocopies, before the internet.

She and my father would have been proud of the event in April where we were honoured by our high school Alumni Association as the family with the most graduates, 9 plus our dear sister Mary, who perhaps today would have gone to Lamar High School in Houston, Texas as a person with special needs.

Here's a photo of the ten of us with the plaque for the classroom named in honour of our parents, Aline and Foley Santamaria, by their nine children who graduated from Lamar High School.

Happy Birthday, Mama! You made such a difference in the world, and we are a tribute to you and to Daddy.
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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My sister Mary SantaMaria

My eight brothers and sisters and I went to Lamar, a state high school in Houston, Texas. We are going to be honoured by the Alumni Association at a luncheon 21st April as the family with the most graduates, nine of us.

We have a tenth family member, our sister Mary, who has special learning needs. She cannot talk, although she is a great communicator. I have created this biography of my sister Mary so that she is included in the group. Of course, she couldn't attend Lamar, and she has been fortunate to live and work in a world class center, Houston’s Cullen Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation. Here is Mary's biography, and I'm sure you will realise what a special person she is and her contribution:

Mary, the fifth of the ‘SantaMaria Ten’ is a founder resident of Houston’s Cullen Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation, now based near the Allen Parkway and Kirby Drive. Aline and Foley SantaMaria were founder members of the Cullen Center since its beginning days in the 50s in a large house in Houston’s Montrose District. They realized, like many parents with children with special needs, that Houston needed a center of excellence, promoting independent living and skills development for people with mental and physical challenges.

As an integral member of the ‘SantaMaria Ten’, Mary has always been able to hold her own, and she benefitted from her brothers and sisters looking after her, especially when she was exposed to bullying by those who did not realize her special gifts. We would ‘swarm’ anyone attempting to tease Mary, and that person would soon realize the error of their ways. There was also a time at an Easter egg hunt where we all clubbed together to put all our eggs in Mary’s basket, the competition judges a bit bewildered at how any one person could have so many eggs.

Mary went to a succession of schools with special needs facilities, including one run by nuns in Louisiana where she helped to look after children with severe disabilities. Aline and Foley worked with the Cullen Center through its phases of growth until it secured the site near Allen Parkway, many times recognised as a world class center of excellence. The ‘SantaMaria Ten’, relatives , friends and the wider Houston community that appreciate the Center’s services ‘swarmed’ the City of Houston when it mistakenly attempted to sell the Center’s land to property developers. The City and The Center came to an amicable settlement, with the well-being and security of the residents restored.

Mary has been a star ‘Cullen Caner’ for the last 20 years, performing intricate and skilled work caning chairs and making a contribution to the many customers of the Caning Center who now sit comfortably. She has a great group of 11 work colleagues, assisted by their long-time supervisor, Lonnie …., and volunteers who work alongside the caners. Cullen Caners:

The Cullen Center recognised Aline and Foley’s many contributions and support to the Cullen Center by dedicating the Aline and Foley SantaMaria Rose Garden which unfortunately got destroyed in the 2008 hurricane. Several vans to transport residents to Center activities proudly bore the SantaMaria name in appreciation.

Mary enjoys her free time by taking part in the Center’s many activities, going to camp, getting encouragement from Donielle and the Center’s staff and visiting weekly with her brother and sister-in-law Phil and Carolyn and going to her many sisters and brothers during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer vacations. Mary is a popular personality, enjoying her ‘show and tell’ moments with the photos from her achievements and excursions. She has been featured in Houston media for her accomplishments as a Cullen Caner and as an enthusiastic community member.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Talk at St-Martin-in-the-Fields 22 Mar 2009

Fulfilling God’s promise to me through my unique task

In our Lent study we reflected on John’s gospel where the disciples are caught in a storm going across the sea to Capernaum, greatly afraid. Then they see this vision coming towards them. The wind’s howling, their little boat tossed by the overpowering waves, their lives in peril. In the distance they make out Jesus walking towards them on the water, yet another conjuring trick or miracle he’s doing just when they’re busy weathering the storm. He says simply to these men in their little boat, tossed about by the storm, ‘It is I, do not be afraid.’ This is one of those life-defining moments, there they were fearing for their lives, he pops us and says, ‘It is I, do not be afraid.’ This is when they were really tested, really called upon.

So what are the life-defining moments in your life, in mine, when each of us is called to be extraordinary, so that each of us could say to Jesus, ‘It is I, do not be afraid?’ I am taking Jesus’ statement and applying it to myself, asking you to take it home with you today and try it out. Jesus had his unique task to be the link between human beings and the divine being. What is my and what is your unique task, to match Jesus’ as he brought us in touch with our divine whole self. He kept saying, ‘The kingdom is now’, in this very moment.

As you keep in mind this question about your own unique task, I’m going to tell you about where I got this concept of ‘unique task’ from Viktor Frankl. He an Austrian doctor whose family including his wife aged 24 perished in the concentration camps, and he managed to survive three years in Auschwitz, Dachau and other camps. He emerged to become a famous psychotherapist, and developed logotherapy, where the Greek word ‘logo’ means ‘meaning’. He wrote many books, and his most famous is his first that he wrote to describe life in the concentration camps, his survival through ‘meaning’ and his development of logotherapy, how each person can find meaning. This book, written in 1945, is called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. It is Viktor Frankl’s saying ‘It is I, do not be afraid’, his stand in life, his unique task.

Viktor Frankl says,
One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfilment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. …each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life. To life he can only respond by being responsible.

Then Frankl goes on to say that the ‘true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system’. So we have a few elements here to help us look at ‘It is I, do not be afraid’ in our own searches for meaning and its expression in the world, for each of us our unique task.

I am going to turn now to my own case, what I see as my unique task, God’s fulfilling his promise to me for my time on earth. I say God fulfilling his promise to me as I feel I am drawn more and more by God, often kicking and screaming, along this path to saying and being ‘It is I’. I often have said, ‘why me?’ although I knew it was me.

I’m the eldest daughter of ten children born within 13 years, trained to be in charge, Mama’s helper from an early age. We lived in the segregated South in Texas, my father the son of Italian immigrants, my mother from a family of British origin, many generations in Texas. There were things I couldn’t understand as a child, the rift between my mother and her sisters for her marrying an Italian, why we had ‘white’ and ‘coloured’ water fountains and toilets, why there were no black children at our school.

Our family was different as we lived cheek by jowl, blacks and whites together, not segregated in my parents’ first business, four big rooming houses. I remember Maddie, the granddaughter of a slave who told me stories when I sat up late with her at her knees when she babysat. I remember how Andrew, a porter at a supermarket six blocks up the street, would wheel home a trolley of day old baked goods and limp fruit and vegetables saying, ‘Mr Foley got a lot of mouths to feed.’ They gave us children stories and food, their kindness has always stayed with me as well as my sense of social justice. My father was enraged that Andrew was left ‘like a dog’ on a hospital trolley for 36 hours waiting for treatment because he couldn’t pay until my father came to help him.

My father and his business partner prospered with their gas filling stations in the poor areas of growing Houston. They spotted a gap in the market to provide services in the poor area of growing Houston, and the African-Americans got the same pay as white employees, could be station managers in charge of whites. This was unheard of in other small businesses or the large ones that kept ‘whites’ and ‘coloureds’ separate, just like the water fountains and toilets. This was before the time of the civil rights movement and laws to promote equality.

My parents and their business partner in their ‘rough justice’ way were what we might now call ‘social entrepreneurs’, nothing fancy, they knew what was the right and the smart thing to do. My parents taught us all ten of us to be responsible, to be members of a team, to look after one another. They left me, almost aged 15, in charge of all ten of us when they came to Europe from our home in Texas in 1956 for an American Bar Convention. When introduced to Prince Philip at the Queen’s Garden Party with the words, They left their 10 children at home looking after themselves’, Prince Philip remarked, ‘I certainly couldn’t do that with ours’.

I got culture shock going from Texas to Boston, aged 18 to attend the same prestigious women’s college as did Hilary Clinton. I saw the gap between rich and poor in South Boston and in Mexico City where I worked in slums during vacations. After college, I had a life-defining experience as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala in Central America the mid 1960s. I worked with Mayan women to found the first women’s weaving group in Guatemala, producing a new source of livelihood and status for women. The women wove these purses based on the design of their traditional blouses. We took them to the capital to sell, were stared at for being Mayan women with a ‘gringa’, a foreigner. The business became a success, it was the ‘right’ and ‘smart’ thing to do, empower women through economic gain and social impact.

Our contact and friendship has lasted for over 40 years and I know first hand the massive impact that enterprise with a social mission has on people’s lives. This was not charity, it was the opportunity for people to work, to be on a team and learn. Since then I have been searching for ways to recreate conditions for empowerment through learning, enterprise and community.

Since Guatemala I’ve been involved with education, media at the BBC and in Germany, and have now come full circle to microfinance, my work since 2000, a way of empowerment through business.

Microfinance is the provision of small loans, insurance, savings, remittances to poor people so they have a way of getting out of poverty. The modern version was started by Prof Mohamed Yunus in 1974 during a famine in Bangladesh. He saw that $27 lent to 42 poor families could get them out of the hands of money lenders and give them a start. When banks turned him down for loans for poor people, Prof Yunus founded Grameen or Community Bank, and they won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in empowering women, an unexpected social benefit from microfinance. 2005 was the UN Year of Microcredit and I was the coordinator for the UK’s National Committee.

I see my work with microfinance and livelihood development as God fulfilling his promise to me, a way to recreate that life-enriching and life- changing experience I had in the 60s with my Mayan women friends. Today my small organisation, Microfinance without Borders, is working with an innovative microfinance institution in Kenya, helping them to be a centre of excellence in Africa. This microfinance institution was started by a Swedish woman and 50 beggars from the largest slum in Nairobi and now has 200,000 members, has built a housing project 60 km outside of Nairobi with 2000 houses and community infrastructure at 10% of the normal cost. They also helped resolve conflict after the post-election violence in Kenya, involving the youths who looted and burned down a market in rebuilding it. Those young men are now microfinance members, running their own businesses and have a stake in society where they were previously excluded.

The graduates from our courses in microfinance here in London do field work with Jamii Bora Trust, this microfinance organisation. We work together with them to develop new learning materials for their 200,000 members and will be training trainers.

I have come full circle, back to my roots in enterprise with a social mission, see my unique task as working together with people at the grassroots, just as I started out in Guatemala. Microfinance without Borders works together with microfinance organisations to spot opportunities to fulfil a social and environmental purpose while having a sustainable business.

This is empowerment in the deeper and higher sense, how we can create a just society that uses the lessons from our current breakdown, our insights into the folly of greed so we each do our part, find our unique task. It’s no good blaming the bankers, it’s all of us in the top 2% of the world who have turned a blind eye to the 2 billion on less than a dollar a day, the people in our communities here in the UK who need the stories and the enrichment just as Maddie and Andrew gave to me as a child. We are also in peril, in our boats tossing on the sea when we choose to ignore the warning signs and those who come towards us asking us to contribute as Jesus did, saying ‘It is I, do not be afraid’.

I now come back to Viktor Frankl, who wrote in 1945 during his recovery from the concentration camps, his major work, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’

everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. …each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life. To life he can only respond by being responsible.

We go back to that boat on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples being tossed about by the storm; they see a vision in the distance. They get really shaken when Jesus walks towards them and says ‘It is I, do not be afraid.’ They know they are being asked to go deeper, to go higher in their mission. This is more than a storm, this is calling them beyond that moment to a life of contribution.

So if we today meet Jesus, the link between the human being and the divine being, what do we say? Jesus may appear as the Big Issue seller on the corner, maybe she’s the child in the classroom who needs someone to listen to her read, maybe he’s the person who looted and burned down a market in Kenya in the post election violence and then helped to rebuild it, got a loan for his business from microfinance, now he’s included in society. Maybe it’s the person knocking on the door of the Connection at St Martin’s who then gets connected in society again, maybe for the first time.

So when we meet Jesus in any of these people, will each of us be living as our unique task on earth, will each of us be able to look Jesus or any of his forms in other people in the eye and say, ‘It is I, do not be afraid.’ ?

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Thanksgiving service for the life of Zafar Faiz Duncan Noman

Thanksgiving service for the life of Zafar Faiz Duncan Noman
(1 June 1982-26 November 2008)
14 March 2009, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church
Trafalgar Square

Hundreds gathered at St Martin’s this morning to celebrate Zafar’s life. The son of Ann Duncan and Akbar Noman, brother of Natasha, Zafar touched many people in his short life of 26 years. Friends and family celebrated the wonderful, fun-loving Zafar and remembered his strong sense of social justice and care for the planet. His father read extracts of the columns Zafar wrote as an 18 year old for a Pakistani newspaper when he returned home to Pakistan during his gap year between secondary and tertiary education.

Zafar wrote movingly of how he and others travelled in air conditioned comfort, songs by Oasis blaring during a drive from Lahor to a wedding in Punjab, and he saw the tired, worn barefeet of peasants with their donkey cart, poverty just the other side of the windscreen. He said his feet were too cosseted, too pampered in their shoes, they wanted to be with the peasants, happy feet. Zafar worked as a trusted colleague in the Treasury, after he had worked in the field in Ghana, Pakistan and South Africa where his grandfather had been an anti-apartheid campaigner. He brought fun everywhere he went, stirred things up, kept his eye on the big issues of social justice, poverty and ecology. At the reception afterwards in St Martin’s Hall, one of his colleagues at the Foreign Office where Zafar was on secondment from the Treasury before he died, recounted how they had been apprehensive about someone coming from the Treasury.
Zafar came in, immediately was fun, got to know everyone even though he as there for just three months. I shared an office with him, he’d come in a bit late, carrying a big bunch of bananas, spreading them around. I never ate so many bananas in my life. I wrote a tribute for Zafar to our colleagues. He made such an impact in such a short time.

The service was an outpouring of love and gratitude for Zafar’s life with an original song by his younger sister, Natasha, the one she said was Zafar’s favourite that he got to hear before he died. He said in his unmistable style: ‘I love it, it’s my favourite, I know it’s saying something deep, and I don’t understand it all. Here’s the chorus:
We can’t burn down bridges we haven’t crossed
I refuse to believe that this future of ours could be lost
I’ll sit outside with you until the sun goes down
There’s no use in promises but just say you’ll be around.

These are a brief sample of the tributes to Zafar’s life, one from a colleague of three months, the other from a sister of 23 years. We were bathed in a wave of multi-cultural tributes with songs from South Africa, music from Pakistan, ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord’ (sung at the funerals of Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy), Oasis (Live Forever), Elton John (The Circle of Life) and tributes in prose.

One of Zafar’s friends, Sabine Altendorf, said that she and Zafar had read The Little Prince by Antoine de St Exupery in 2004 and she read this excerpt where the Little Prince has been bitten by a snake and is saying good-bye to his friend the pilot who had been lost in the desert:

“And at night you will look up at the stars. Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found. It is better, like that. My star will be just one of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens…They will all be your friends. And besides, I am going to make you a present….”
He laughed again.
“Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!”
“That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water…”
“What are you trying to say?”
“All men have stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they are wealth. But all these stars are silent. You—you alone—will have the stars as no one else has them—“
“What are you trying to say?”
“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You—only you—will have stars that can laugh!”
And he laughed again.
“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure…And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…”
And he laughed again.
“It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh…”

I have added more of the excerpt from The Little Prince than Sabine read. I added it to remember Zafar as example of the spirit of The Little Prince. His laughter, his fun for life, his taking a stand for the things that matter, his love--this is where Zafar was another ‘Little Prince’. He gave so much to the world in his short 26 years, and when I, who only met him briefly and knew about him through his mother, when I look up at the stars I know he is there laughing and he is with us.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Female heart attacks

I received this from my sister in the US, think it is worthwhile to pass on to as many people as possible.


I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read.

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack ... you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

"I had a 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 snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually ! thinking, 'A-A-h, 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, when you've 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've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation---the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when ad! ministering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! 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 myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the footrest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. 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 in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics .. I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they c ould see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't 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, but 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 couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents 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 already 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 stents.

'Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.'

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). 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've 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.' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have 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 doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't 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's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs 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's be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we'll save
at least one life.

**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male & female) you care about!**