John Coffey knows a good performance when he experiences it. As a musical
director, he’s worked on countless theater performances in multiple
countries with casts and musicians to create the best audience experience
possible. Recently, Coffey found himself in the role of patient at Catawba
Valley Medical Center, and says the performance of the physicians and
staff could not have been better. “The level of professionalism
all the way through my experience was above and beyond expectations,”
said the classically-trained performer who earned his Master’s degree
from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.
While being treated by Dr. Luke Byrnes, of
Catawba Valley Cardiology, for an ascending aortic aneurism about a year ago, a CT scan showed Coffey
was also developing a descending aortic aneurism. While it presented no
urgent risk then, he knew it needed watching. In spite of showing no real
symptoms, Coffey’s primary care physician, Dr. Alan Forshey of Newton
Family Physicians, didn’t like the noisy heart or slight shortness
of breath he was hearing when Coffey had a checkup. When Forshey ordered
a new CT scan, it showed the descending aneurism was getting worse and
needed to be repaired.
Coffey was referred to
Catawba Valley Vascular Surgery for a consultation. Two of their surgeons, Dr. Gener Augustin and Dr.
Lindsay Bools, teamed up to perform the procedure needed. The non-invasive
placement of a stent was done with a catheter through Coffey’s arm,
using a natural passageway to get to the troubled area. “It’s
amazing to think that one little incision in my arm can lead to such a
precise repair of my aorta so close to my heart,” Coffey reflected.
While the procedure was non-invasive, his recovery needed to be closely
watched. So he was placed in the Critical Care Unit for a day, then moved
to the surgical unit for a short stay before his release. “The nursing
care I received from Patrick Lancaster and Michael McDonald in the CCU,
together with Mercedes Tchang, Tiffany Whittington and Jaime Trevorrow on the 6th floor, could not have been better. Their attentiveness and attitudes made
my stay a very pleasant experience while helping me keep a positive mind
towards my recovery.”
Now back at work teaching at Hickory Arts and assisting our local theaters
when needed, the Lenoir native is busy with performances in which he’s
not the main character. But he’s happy that through his recent leading
role he’s able to share some rave reviews of the medical “cast”
from Catawba Valley Health System.