Rosie O’Donnell has admitted she's "lucky to be alive" after suffering a "massive" heart attack a decade ago.
During an appearance on "The Best Podcast Ever," the actor, 61, recalled being rushed to the emergency room after nearly dismissing the heart attack.
"I should’ve died," O’Donnell said, according to People.
The Emmy Award winner was 50 when the health scare occurred. O’Donnell recalled she was picking up a friend at a hospital when a stranger asked for assistance in the parking lot.
"She said, ‘Rosie, will you help me up?’ So I went over and I helped her up and it took a lot longer than I expected," she recalled. "I got home and my arms were hurting. I thought, That’s funny, it must've been from pushing her up. So I went about my business."
The comedian continued, "I was in my little art studio and my son, who was only young at the time, said to me, 'Mommy, you look like a ghost.'"
O'Donnell then searched online for "women's heart attack signs" and noted that she had "a few of them," but didn't feel concerned because it didn't "seem" like a heart attack.
"The truth of the matter is, I had this heart attack on a Monday at 10 a.m.," she said, noting that she carried on with her regular daily routine. "I get home, I can hardly walk upstairs. I take two baby aspirin, I go to sleep, I wake up and my family goes, ‘You have to go to the doctor.’ I waited until the next day. So I had it Monday and on Wednesday I saw a doctor."
O’Donnell opted to go to a cardiologist instead of the emergency room, but was rushed to the ER after being told she was having a "massive heart attack."
"I was like, ‘Wait, wait, what?!’ I couldn’t believe it," she said. "And then I came to find out that the symptoms for a woman having a heart attack are very different than the symptoms for men having heart attacks. Yet what we see on TV are always men having heart attacks."
At the hospital, doctors discovered that O’Donnell had a complete blockage of the left anterior descending artery, which is referred to as a "widowmaker" heart attack. She subsequently underwent a procedure to implant a stent to save her life.
O’Donnell referred to herself as "really lucky" for having survived the heart attack, emphasizing that it altered her relationship with her body.
"It forced me into my body and to be in touch with my body in a way that I never had been," she explained. "It made me aware of feelings. I can kind of dissociate and do the world from my head and just try to use my intellect and not really pay attention to my body, but this forced me to pay attention."
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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