I’m a very active 74-year-old man whose only daily medication was a baby aspirin and last spent a night in a hospital in 1948 to get my tonsils out.
That changed dramatically when I mentioned to my doctor, during my annual physical, that I had occasionally experienced some minor tightness in my chest that might last only 5 or 10 seconds. This comment resulted in a nuclear stress test which I failed, a heart catheterization that showed blockages, and resulting open heart surgery for a triple bypass at Grand Strand Medical Center.
While there is no doubt that the foresightedness and extremely professional skills of my doctors saved my life, the real struggle began for me immediately after surgery. That’s when recovery begins in the Heart Tower and you awake to the reality that you are extremely weak and totally dependent on others. The others turned out to be the very caring Heart Tower nursing and support staff that took care of me and guided me down the path toward recovery over the next five days of my stay.
Their care, professionalism, understanding, gentleness and sincere interest in moving me toward recovery cannot adequately be expressed by me in words. While I have no idea how many were involved in my care, I do remember names but have elected not to list them for fear of unintentionally missing one.
Each in my heart was an equal player in a team effort with me as their objective. Their collective goal was moving me through the early and difficult stages of recovery by way of good medicine, understanding, gentle care and some tough love. The tough love is facing the reality that you have to get out of bed and begin walking.
While initially this seems impossible, their persistence and support bring you from an initial painful beginning of only several steps to two trips up and down the corridor in just four days. We in Myrtle Beach are very fortunate to have such a facility and staff, for not only our continued care, but for the immediate and unexpected emergency.
Ignoring, or not ignoring, that seemingly minor pain, may be the difference between having these people, sent from Heaven to help you, and going there so that they can help someone else.
I am certain that there are many out there that have shared experiences similar to mine and stand with me to applaud and offer thanks to those dedicated individuals that have helped move our lives forward.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.