A picture of good health – Hickory resident Susan Anderson, 69, never
anticipated the role reversal that occurred when a heart attack put her
on the receiving end of cardiovascular care at the CVMC Heart Center on
May 8, 2016.
Now retired, Susan spent over 40 years as a registered nurse with career
experience working alongside cardiac care professionals at both Hickory
hospitals. In an unexpected twist of fate, she found herself receiving
balloon angioplasty and two heart stents in the same heart catheterization
lab she helped open at CVMC years ago.
“It was Mother’s Day, and I was staying with my parents,”
said Susan. “I woke up at 3am and felt like I had swallowed a pill
that just wouldn’t go down. At first I thought it was just indigestion.
I started vomiting, my vision narrowed and I started experiencing intense
pressure and pain in my chest. I called 911 and, when the emergency personnel
arrived, I asked to be taken to CVMC, believing that’s where I would
receive the best standard of care.”
An EKG revealed Susan was having a heart attack. The cardiac catheterization
indicated a 100% blockage in her right coronary artery. Fortunately, an
emergency angioplasty with placement of 2 stents cleared the blockage
and saved her heart from excessive damage.
Just two days later, Susan returned home and has been closely following
the orders of her cardiologists at Catawba Valley Cardiology. She goes
to cardiac rehabilitation at CVMC’s outpatient rehabilitation center
three days a week and hopes to be a model patient, enthusiastically following
the individualized program established to help monitor her progress as
she slowly regains energy and safely returns to her active lifestyle.
“The heart attack certainly changed me,” Susan says, “I’ve
been taking life a little slower, resting more, listening to my body….and
keeping the nitroglycerin prescribed for me nearby at all times.”
Susan has always maintained a healthy weight. She doesn’t smoke or
drink alcohol. However, she does have a family history of heart disease.
According to the
American Heart Association, heart disease is the #1 killer of women, regardless of race or ethnicity,
and accounts for a third of all deaths among women. Typically developing
over decades, many people don’t even know they have heart disease
until it suddenly causes a problem. For Susan, the heart attack she had
on Mother’s Day was the first sign of a problem.
Susan says, “Not only can a heart attack cause sudden death, it can
rob you of your quality of life by taking away the ability to do even
simple activities. Many people who have heart attacks never fully recover.
So, my message if for everyone – have a plan to protect your heart.
Listen to your body. Trust your instincts. And insist on the best care
for your heart. I’m very thankful for the quick action taken by
the whole team at CVMC who cared for me. Everyone there was so good and
CVMC Heart Center serves patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Covered by an experienced
team of physicians at
Catawba Valley Cardiology and our Heart Center team of nurses and technicians, CVMC’s Certified
Chest Pain Center is prepared to meet cardiology care needs in the Hickory
community whether on an emergent or non-emergent basis.