Is there some truth to that old wives tale? You know, the one that goes something like this: ‘ Two soulmates can’t live without eachother. So when one dies, the other will very soon follow suit’. Normally, we hear about this with old married couples who have spent the past 40 years married and devoted to one another. Then one, tragically, comes down with some fatal illness or very suddenly passes away in some type of traumatic accident or even silently in their sleep from a stroke. The now widowed lover almost overnight loses all of their life and resilience, and seems to have joined the team of the walking dead. It’s like they no longer have any will to survive. And then, less than a year later, they just — give out. Without any prior history of heart disease they have a massive coronary and die. With otherwise healthy lungs they suddenly have a bout of respiratory failure and pass away long before help could ever arrive. Or, inexplicably, they go to sleep one night just as they had every other night…only this time they don’t wake up. They just don’t. They medical examiners report states the cause of death as ‘natural causes’ although they can never quite determine WHAT natural cause did them in…their completely healthy body just ceased to function. When people hear the story they nod sadly and knowingly: they died of a broken heart.
Seriously, they most likely have though. What was once simply an old wives tale is now being shown through research to actually have medical backing. This condition, scientifically referred to as Stress Cardiomyopathy but in layman’s terms is our good ol’ Broken Heart Syndrome is:
sudden emotional stress [that] can also result in severe but reversible heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack. Patients with this condition […] are often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when, indeed, they have suffered from a days-long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart. (To read the original full text article and about the research you can click <a href=”http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press_releases/2005/02_10_05.html”here.
Is this what happened to Brittany Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack? Only 5 months after his beloved wife passed away, he too moved on from this world to the next. But, well…he was only 39 when he died, and they had only been married since 2007. That’s not quite the image of “soulmates who can’t live without eachother” that we come up with when thinking about dying of a broken heart, now is it? But in this day and age, I guess you find alot more youngters convinced they’re in a Romeo-Juliet kinda love affair, only to break up hating each others’ guts a few years later. I’m not saying that was their destiny, I’m saying that in this generation for some reason we fall hard, fast, and recklessly without any regard to what reality or the past precidence dictates will happen with this romance or with this lover. So, although it seems to not fit, situationally, I’m gonna give ’em this one, assuming that they were the hopelessly devoted kinda spouses (and don’t you just see Brittany Murphy being that kind of super manic-passionate woman behind closed doors? Well I do…most likely because she was such a darned talented actress and she TOTALLY had me believing all of her crazy bitch roles..lol).
Now, just in case you’ve been living on Mars in a cave under a rock with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears and you had NO idea that Brittany Murphy died, or even who she is, I’ll give you a quick refresher. She’s an actress who had big roles in movies Clueless, Girl Interrupted, and 8 Mile (just to name a few). She died on December 20th, 2009 “…from [community-acquired] pneumonia, with prescription drugs and anemia also playing a role, a coroner’s official said” Huffington Post. In case you were wondering, community-acquired pneumonia (huh?!?) is actually “[pneumonia that] develops in people with limited or no contact with medical institutions or settings. The most commonly identified pathogens are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and atypical organisms (ie, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella sp)” Merck, which just means that legally nobody can blame it on a doctors office or hospital cause she caught it on the street. Ok, so Brittany died suddenly, was unexpectedly taken away from her loving and devoted husband, and I’m sure with this kinda random thing you must beat yourself up constantly with the “what-ifs”. Ok, so that part checks out. But how did Mr. Monjack die?
Well, he passed away only recently of course, so they won’t have an official determination of COD (cause of death) for a little while yet. However “[while] police could not say for sure [what was] the cause of death [they said] that there was no foul play involved in death of Simon Monjack and that he had died of a natural cause. On Monday, Roger Neal the publicist of Simon Monjack told to media sources that the widower of Brittany Murphy was delaying a heart bypass surgery” Entertainment Daily. Hmmmm…so, he has a weakened heart in some way, something that they believed would require surgery? So, in that case the suggestion is that he did, in fact, die by heart attack. Which, as I’m sure you remember from before, is a CLASSIC misdiagnosis when it comes to matters of Broken Heart Syndrome. So maybe he had some other condition…or MAYBE, just MAYBE he died of a broken heart. He might have seemed fine on the surface (men are notorious for swallowing their feelings and pretending they never existed while the stress wreaks havoc on their bodies) meanwhile his body is slowly dying from the daily, increased strain put on his heart from the loss of his wifey.
Hold on though: Anybody feel SUPER sorry for Brittany’s mother, Sharon, who found both her daughter and her son in law dead in that Hollywood Hills home? If I were her I’d GTFO ASAP because clearly that house isn’t too healthy. Not that I’m super superstitious or anything, but seriously, that place would give me the heebie-jeebies and I would have been out of there STAT. I hope she’s living somewhere else, somewhere without such a track record of killing people in her family, at the very least.
Whether you believe Monjack was a devoted hubby who died of a broken heart, an unfortunate dude who died for totally unrelated causes, or whether he was a double-crossing jerk who killed Brittany and now just received his just desserts, (I believe the first, of course) this certainly illustrates that Broken Heart Syndrome can attack anybody at any age, and clearly the consequences CAN be deadly. But what can YOU do if you begin experiencing Broken Heart Syndrome? How will you be able to tell it’s anything more than a regular bout of depression after losing someone you love? Well “Many people who have broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or may think they’re having a heart attack. These symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones […] a part of your heart temporarily enlarges, a condition called cardiomyopathy” MayoClinic so any kinda chest pain, seek medical attention STAT. Butterflies in your tummy? Meh. They move up to your heart, buddy get to a hospital.
Just so you know, there is hope though. If you DO ever become one of the unlucky few to suffer from this condition, you can recover. Typically, once they diagnose you they’ll keep you in the hospital for a week or two and monitor your heart. In the meantime they’ll give you some heart medications to help reduce the work your heart has to do until the enlargement goes down. Surgery, like the ones they do for bypasses, wouldn’t help because there isn’t anything actually blocking your arteries…so, you might wanna make sure your Dr.’s check for this condition before just cracking your ribs open…especially if you’ve been through a loss lately or some kind of deep depressive episode that involves sudden stress or pressure.
Fascinating stuff, huh? Just little something something for you to ponder and obsess about (AKA a good way of killing some time this Wednesday so that way you’re THAT much closer to the weekend! LOL)
Happy Hump Day Y’all