Her coat seemed sort of floaty, like it was made of parachute material. I remember that.
And it was the color of ginger ale, kind of creamy with a hint of metallic gold sheen. She
must have noticed me noticing it because she smiled slightly as she swept by. If memory
serves—and it may not—I think I wanted to tell her how great it looked,
but she was moving at a fairly brisk pace (was she late for a meeting? Was
she anxious to get indoors before the soft drizzle turned into a hard
rain?), and I got shy and chickened out.
A few blocks later, I saw her again, only now she was crumpled on the sidewalk.
A guy was putting his backpack beneath her head. A woman was going through her bag
for identification. Somebody else was calling an ambulance. A perfume sample from Henri
Bendel rolled out of her pocket and a shoe had fallen off her foot. I don't know why that matters
to me but it does. She wasn't young, but she wasn't old, either—mid-50s would be my guess.
The paramedics said it was a massive heart attack.
This entire event probably lasted seven or eight minutes, but it has stayed with me for more than
20 years. I just keep seeing her shimmering coat fanned across the sidewalk with backpack guy
kneeling on it as he holds her hand. I try to make it make some sense, I try to fix it, I try to forget it—but I can't.
Why is a 50-something woman walking down the street one minute and lying in it the next? And,
at the risk of sounding like I'm auditioning for the Bee Gees, my real question:
How do you mend a broken heart?
I know exactly where to get the answer. With one call to Dr. Mehmet Oz,
I'm invited to
see for myself on the fourth floor of New York–Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia University
What it's like to step inside the OR with Dr. Oz