Patrick is a successful man by most standards. When he’s not selling commercial real estate, he’s spending time with his wife of 35 years, Patti, and their four children, Anthony, Katie, Tilli and Michael, playing golf at his favorite locations, such as New Braunfels’ Landa Park Golf Course at Comal Springs, and giving back to the community. He’s always on the go, trying to meet the daily demands that most of us know all too well. For years, Patrick’s health was at the bottom of his priority list.
On August 3, 2015, Patrick’s life took a frightening turn. After ending a hectic week with a lovely Sunday evening meal with his family, Patrick woke up Monday morning ready to tackle another work week.
“As I was sipping my coffee and getting ready for my day, I suddenly had severe chest pain, followed by a horrible headache,” Patrick said. “Before I knew it, the pain had spread all the way down my left arm.”
Patrick knew something was wrong and even wondered in the back of his mind if it was a heart attack. He told Patti they needed to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Once Patrick and Patti arrived at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – New Braunfels’ emergency room, staff quickly administered an EKG. The results showed he was having a significant heart attack. Patrick was immediately taken to the catheterization lab, where Jason Yoho, M.D., interventional cardiologist, began immediate efforts to save his life.
“I didn’t realize the severity of my condition until I woke up Tuesday afternoon after surgery,” Patrick said. “Patti told me Dr. Camillio had given me the last sacrament.”
Patrick experienced silent ischemia, a reduced blood flow to the heart without any pain that can cause a heart attack with no warning. Dr. Yoho knew he needed to ack fast to save Patrick’s life.
“He was dying,” said Dr. Yoho. “Not only did he have a heart attack, but he had other significant blockages that placed him at a high risk for other complications. In a normal situation, if he hadn’t been having a heart attack, he probably would have needed bypass surgery.”
Because of Patrick’s chest pain, and an artery that wouldn’t remain open, Dr. Yoho first needed to open up the heart blockages, remove the clots in Patrick’s arteries, and place two stents before treating his other symptoms. The procedure was intense, but Patrick pulled through, and had an excellent recovery. Many people ignore symtoms and attribute them to common ailments, Dr. Yoho noted. Luckily, Patrick listened to his body and rushed to the hospital, saving his life and improving his long-term outcomes.
After six days in intensive care, Patrick returned home and began a three-month physical rehab regimen at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Rehabilitation Services – New Braunfels. Today, he’s still keeping busy, 37 pounds lighter and working out four times a week. Patrick says he’ll never forget the second chance he was given to make a lifestyle change and he sent handwritten notes to Dr. Yoho and each nurse who cared for him to show them how much he appreciated their dedication.
“I’m so very grateful to have been cared for at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa,” Patrick said. “I couldn’t have asked for more wonderful, qualified physicians and nurses. Everyone went way beyond my expectations of great care.”
“We all hear about heart disease and think it won’t affect us,” Dr. Yoho said, “People tend to forget the seriousness of it and what it can mean.”
Raising awareness about heart disease and heart attacks is very important. Not everyone experiences the classic symptoms, such as chest pain. Roughly one milllion Americans suffer from a heart attack each year. Because many don’t recognize the symptoms or shrug them off, they don’t make it to the hospital in time.
“Don’t ignore your symptoms – even if you don’t think they’re related to heart disease or a potential heart attack,” Dr. Yoho added. “Admitting that something was wrong saved Patrick’s life and improved his longevity. It’s important to remember that you are your own best advocate.”