December 30, 2019 was a day that ended much differently than expected for Chuck Notbohm, owner of Notbohm Motors in Miles City. While enjoying the holiday season with his family at his cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the area had been hit with a considerable amount of snow. Although a large snow storm was not out of the ordinary for the area, Chuck noticed that he was having a much more difficult time clearing his driveway than usual.
While shoveling, he felt a slight exhaustion and tightening of the chest, but this was not worrying. His major concern came when he decided to finish the snow removal with his Bobcat and had trouble lifting chains over the wheels.
“My youngest son, who was visiting from Arizona, came out to help and see how I was doing. Realizing that I was having trouble, he convinced me to go back into the cabin,” Notbohm said. “As soon as my wife saw me, she knew I was suffering a heart attack. She took my blood pressure, and it was 50/37, so she immediately called for an ambulance.”
Because of the snowstorm that had passed, an emergency vehicle would have had a difficult time travelling the road to the Notbohm cabin, and because of this, they decided to meet the ambulance at the main road. Coincidentally, a snowplow was clearing the road further down the hill and made their journey to the main road safer and quicker.
When he and his wife made it to the main road, Chuck was transported to a hospital in Deadwood, South Dakota, and then to a hospital in Rapid City when he was stabilized. It was there that he had two stents put in his left main coronary artery.
“During this entire time, I was responding and not in any pain or distress, yet the doctor and nursing staff kept saying I was lucky,” Notbohm said. “I did not fully understand why they were saying that.”
Chuck would soon find out how lucky he was, as there was 30-40% damage to his heart.
After a short stay in the hospitals in South Dakota, Chuck would return to Miles City to start his cardiac rehabilitation with the team at Holy Rosary Healthcare. It was there that he met Diane Moeller, Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist and Registered Nurse, and Renee Chappell, Rehabilitation Assistant.
“Diane and Renee were able to inform me of the need for good nutrition and exercise,” Notbohm noted. “They were continually monitoring my progress and laying out the future processes we would be going through.”
Although Chuck has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle through his hobbies of yard work, snow removal and cutting firewood, he had often indulged on the luxuries of foods that satisfy the taste buds, but were not necessarily nutritionally beneficial.
“I had to make a choice,” Notbohm said. “I could either continue down the same path I was on previously, with the understanding that this heart event would return, and possibly have a much different outcome, or I could change my diet with healthier foods, watching my fat, sodium, and cholesterol intake, and become healthier along the way. I opted for a healthy lifestyle.”
Fortunately for Notbohm, he never felt too poorly during his heart attack, post-surgery recovery or rehabilitation. During the cardiac rehabilitation process, Chuck’s plan was tailored to his condition, needs and interests. He was involved in monitored exercise, where Holy Rosary’s team developed a personalized exercise plan to get him back to a full life and was provided education to help him understand the proper steps that he could be taking to create a healthier lifestyle.
Just six months after his heart attack, Chuck had made a miraculous progression for his overall heart health. During an examination with his cardiologist in Billings, he was informed that his heart now showed no signs of damage and that there were no indications of leakage from his valves. He credits his speedy recovery to his strong support system and those who cared for him during his most vulnerable time.
“I believe this entire event had more involvement than just the medical side and my heart issue being reversed,” Notbohm said. “It was not only the decisions made with foods and exercise, but also because of my faith in God and His will for my life. From my family being there, to the snowplow opening the road, to the medical staff in Deadwood being cardiac specialists and trained cardiac responders, to the procedure in Rapid City being accomplished so quickly, to the wonderful care at Holy Rosary; still God was in control and allowed me more days here on Earth.”
If you have not had a checkup recently, restarting or establishing care with a primary care provider is key to monitoring your heart and making a plan to improve cardiac health.
To learn more about heart health and Holy Rosary’s cardiac rehabilitation program, click here.