“Retirement should be about family and good friends and the time to enjoy a little adventure.”
On December 1, 2007, I officially retired after 40 years working as an electrician and construction specialist. For the first couple of months, my wife and I planned to spend quality time with our granddaughter Abby, and also a good friend and I were going to embark on a cross-country trip. It’s been a joke of ours that we would tour the country together on a bucket trip before we “kick the bucket.”
But twelve short days into retirement, I did not feel well. I went to bed with chest discomfort and tightness. A kind of shock ran down my left arm and my fingers felt like they weren’t working properly. I mistakenly thought I might have a cold, so I rubbed some Vicks VapoRub on my chest to see if it provided relief. It didn’t.
The next morning, I felt the same, so we headed to the hospital. In recent months, many friends and colleagues had assured me that Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital was a superior hospital. The doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department proved their competence as soon as we arrived.
The moment I described my chest pain, I was whisked into an examination room. The ER doctor and nurse took excellent care of me. They gave me an aspirin and a nitroglycerin tablet, then conducted an EKG and a chest x-ray to pinpoint the source of my symptoms. During the chest x-ray, I developed a debilitating headache and started sweating profusely. At that point, I was rushed to the new Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Gilbert and his team inserted a stent in an artery near my heart. Technically, I had a heart attack in the ER, and within 30 minutes, they saved my life.
I feel so fortunate that Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital’s Cardiac Cath Lab was there when I really needed it. If not, after arriving at the Emergency Department, I likely would have been transferred to another hospital for treatment, and perhaps suffered my heart attack en route.
Now that I’m recovered, I’m taking steps to ensure my long-term health. I’m participating in the cardiac rehabilitation program at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, and I’ve quit smoking as well. My health is a priority now—I want to enjoy my retirement, see the country and watch my grandchildren grow up.
At Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, we prevent and diagnose early-stage heart disease to help our patients avoid long-term heart problems. We provide cardiac outpatient diagnostic testing, including heart healthy CT scans, electrophysiology, cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty, non-invasive cardiac testing, EKGs, holter monitors, echocardiograms, GXT and oximetry. For patients with acute needs, our new cardiac catheterization lab features a state-of-the-art cardiac angiography suite that provides quick, on-site diagnoses for patients suspected of having cardiovascular disease and those who are suffering heart attack. We are also committed to helping patients regain their health by providing a full-service cardiac rehabilitation program. It serves both continuously and intermittently monitored patients, through monitored exercise (blood pressure and telemetry monitoring), risk factor identification and risk management techniques.