Play deals with matters of the heart | AspenTimes.com

Play deals with matters of the heart

Heart attack survivor Mimi Teschner works out on a stationary bike at Aspen Valley Hospital on Wednesday morning.Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

When Mimi Teschner was 59 years old, a heart attack was on the low end of her list of immediate concerns.She was in good shape, a runner, biker, skier and a competitive tennis player. She was relatively young, and while there was a history of heart disease in her family, it was all on the male side.So on Feb. 5, 2001, when she awoke from a sound sleep and “felt very strange,” she thought, “I must be coming down with something.”

She called in to say she’d be late for work at the Aspen Music Festival, where she is director of development, and went back to sleep, aware of symptoms that seemed “quite diffuse, very imprecise.”But when she woke up awhile later and still felt “a little off,” she called her doctor and ended up in the hospital, on morphine and other drugs, and undergoing a battery of tests.As it turned out, she said, “I had had a heart attack,” and on thinking back realized she had been feeling “a little off for maybe a week before, but nothing definable.”That is the story for many women, including Boulder teacher Jan Snooks, who will be doing a one-woman performance of her own play, “A Matter of Heart: River Runs and Heart Attacks,” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Given Institute, 100 E. Francis St. in Aspen.

Snooks, 48, had a similar attack, resulting in bypass surgery.”While Snooks survived, 32 percent of women in the U.S. die from heart disease, the leading cause of death in women over 35,” according to a statement from the performance’s sponsor, Aspen Valley Hospital.Snooks offers her story “with humor and candor,” the statement said, “and a will to inform other women about their risk for heart disease.”

The performance will follow screenings for blood pressure, body mass index and pulse oximetry/heart rate by AVH nurses from 5 to 6 p.m. More screenings will be available after the performance, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.Tickets are $15 apiece and are available in advance at AVH (544-1296), The Given Institute (925-1057), or at the door on the evening of the performance.