Well, we might have known it. Doctors now believe that--particularly if you're a woman and elderly--it is possible to die of a broken heart.
For all my friends whose mother's yelled "Stop, you're breaking my heart!" when their daughters walked out of the house wearing really short skirt and multiple piercings...hey, maybe it wasn't all hyperbole. According to the article, stress or trauma may cause a sudden, debilitating spike in adrenaline which can "stun" the heart. High voltage not required, and if it doesn't kill you, you can recover within a few days with no damage done. But even so, as the doctor notes, a surprise party for Grandma might not be a great idea. Anyone planning a surprise party for me, in other words, probably ought to get it done within the next ten to fifteen years, before I start decompensating.
I should note that I'm a medical factoid junkie, and this stuff is like catnip to me. It's why I'm still watching ER
, after 100 years, and while (aside from my fondness for Hugh Laurie) I watch shows like House.
It's why I keep reading books on plagues and diseases, and why I was disappointed when they wouldn't let me watch when I had a C-section.