Vered Ben-Shimon speaks slowly, rolled up on a couch. She is frail and constantly short of breath. Once an Israeli dance teacher who worked out four times a week, she now sleeps 14 hours a day.
She cannot lift or take care of her 19-month-old son."I can't do anything physical. I can't drive," says Vered, 34.
The Huntington resident, who moved from Israel with her husband, Uri, in 1987, has been diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, or congestive heart failure.
"I need a new heart. I could die any day," she says.
The symptoms — fatigue, a “really bad cough” — struck Lauren Weisman 10 years ago, a few weeks after she gave birth. The diagnosis, after three misdiagnoses, was cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart disease.
Her condition worsened within months.
“Nothing” — not medicine, not rest — “was helping me,” said Weisman, of Holbrook, L.I., who was on maternity leave from her job as a speech therapist.