Patient underwent life-saving heart surgery, embarked on the trip of a lifetime
At his wife’s urging, during his annual physical in April 2021, Stan Foxx told his primary care physician, Dr. John Hornsby, that he occasionally experienced pain in his upper right quadrant while walking up inclines on his daily walks. Dr. Hornsby suggested that he get a stress test and referred him to Dr. Wojciech Nowak, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Service Line at SCL Health and Vascular Institute and Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Services at Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Much to Stan’s surprise, he failed the stress test and Dr. Nowak urged him to undergo a cardiac catheter procedure.
“I figured no worries, if there was any kind of blockage he would insert a stent and I’d be on my way,” said Stan. “Not so much. While undergoing the procedure, Dr. Nowak pointed out three blocked arteries and noted that I would probably require bypass surgery. He said that had my body not created a corollary blood supply, I would have likely suffered a fatal cardiac event.”
Dr. Nowak referred Stan to Dr. Jason Shofnos at Saint Joseph Hospital. After Stan and his wife met with him and reviewed the catheter study, Dr. Shofnos agreed that bypass surgery was necessary.
Stan’s youngest son was scheduled to get married in the beginning of July so he asked if the surgery could be put off until after the wedding. Given the fact that he had lived so long with the corollaries in place, he was given the green light to wait.
The Thursday after the wedding, Stan underwent what turned out to be a quadruple bypass. The procedure went great and he was discharged from Saint Joe’s six days later.
“The teams of doctors, nurses, PA’s, rehab specialties, etc. that took care of me did an outstanding job and I will always be grateful for their care and compassion,” said Stan. “That said, thank God I don’t have anything with which to compare them to, but I can’t imagine a more dedicated, skilled, talented group of professionals than those assembled by Dr. Nowak at Good Samaritan and Dr. Shofnos at Saint Joe’s.”
Six weeks after Stan’s surgery, he embarked on the trip of a lifetime to Africa, where he spent three weeks in South Africa and went on a safari to Botswana.
“As someone who has exercised regularly, ate a fairly healthy diet all of my adult life and was in pretty decent shape for an older guy, I never expected to be faced with the prospect of having to undergo heart surgery,” Stan said. “It just never occurred to me. Therefore, I would urge anyone who doesn’t exercise, and who takes their heart health for granted, to reassess their lifestyle. In other words, if this could happen to me in good shape, it could happen to anyone.”
Good heart health is crucial to one’s overall wellbeing. American Heart Month is the perfect time to remind yourself that it’s never too early, or too late, to go see your doctor and take the steps needed to achieve great health and a happy heart.
“I can’t urge folks strongly enough to find out what you need to do to keep yourself and your heart healthy,” said Stan.