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Jannie, Heart Attack Survivor

portrait photo: Jannie smiling

I thought I had gas in my chest, or maybe acid reflux. I’d drink a soda or take anti-gas medicine and it got a little better, but it didn’t go away. In fact, it was so uncomfortable I stayed up all night and thought I would just go to the doctor in the morning, and then on to work.

The next day I drove myself to the urgent care clinic and waited for it to open. I must have had my hand on my chest when the staff saw me and rushed me back to the exam room. They said I was having a heart attack and started giving me meds. They called an ambulance and I told them I wanted to go to Johnston Memorial Hospital because it’s close to my home. I didn’t know it until later, but the emergency crew wasn’t sure I would make it. If I would have had to travel further, I don’t think I would have lived.

"The whole thing was like a whirlwind, almost surreal. It was amazing; I didn’t even have time to think about it until the surgery was over."

When I got to the hospital, they rushed me back very quickly; I don’t remember stopping for anything. They did let me make a one-minute phone call to my family. Then, within 28 minutes after I got to the hospital, they had me in surgery and put in two stents. My family didn’t even get there until the surgery was over.

The whole thing was like a whirlwind, almost surreal. It was amazing; I didn’t even have time to think about it until the surgery was over. The nurses were just absolutely wonderful. My doctor, Dr. Patterson, had a really good bedside manner and would come in and talk to me like a good ol’ boy from next door. I could tell him how I really felt and what was going on. I felt like he was my friend, not just my doctor.

I recovered really quickly and I was glad about that because it’s important for me to get back to work. I was back at work just two weeks after I got out of the hospital, and I’ve been able to keep going to work and accomplish things I need to do.

I think it’s so important to tell others that most people don’t even realize they are having a heart attack until they get to the doctor. When I went to the urgent care clinic, I wasn’t in shape to drive. Thank goodness the urgent care staff recognized my problem and I got to the hospital in time. 

You know, quantity of life doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. You’ve got to have quality – and that’s what I have now, a good quality of life. I’ve been able to enjoy life with my son, daughter and grandson. But I would have missed all this if Johnston Memorial hadn’t been so close. The hospital being where it is saved my life.