Wife, Mom, Happy Grandmother and Heart Patient
“I never thought about heart problems. When I got sick, I denied it and dismissed it, but didn’t realize how miserable I was. I’m very lucky to be where I am today.”
She Didn't Realize Her Heart Needed Help
Last summer, Patricia Pajot of Linwood felt tired and her ankles were swelling, but she just kept going. She didn’t realize she had a heart problem. Pat was enjoying retirement with her husband of 40 years, enjoying her grown daughters and five little granddaughters.
“I’ve never had swollen ankles before. When it started in June, I remained in denial. I told myself it was the heat. It wasn’t,” Pat said. “I was in a pretty bad state for several months before I sought medical care. Waiting that long was a big mistake.”
Pat finally saw her family doctor, Family Medicine Physician Sasha Savage, M.D., at the end of September. Dr. Savage ordered an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a cardiac ultrasound. Soon after, she became so fatigued and uncomfortable that her husband, Clare, drove her to the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland.
Pat was diagnosed with arrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat, and admitted to the Medical Center. A heart valve problem surfaced as the possible cause of her arrhythmia. The problems put her at risk for blood clots that might cause a stroke.
Restoring the Heart’s Rhythm
“It surprised me that I had something so serious,” Pat said. “I never thought about heart problems, because I’m not the typical heart patient. I’m quite thin and small. My blood pressure and cholesterol are in line. I didn’t feel anything other than fatigue and weakness. Apparently, some people realize when their heart is out of synch and some don’t.”
Pat and her family were concerned about her condition and had a lot of questions when they met with her MidMichigan heart specialists, Electrophysiologists Nilofar Islam, M.D., and Opesanmi Esan, M.D.
“When the doctors came into my room, we were very taken by the concern and care they took to answer our every question,” Pat said. “They were great with my family. I think what really impressed all of us was that they were not only professional, but so personable. They truly cared about me and my health.”
Dr. Esan prescribed medication to lower Pat’s risk of stroke. He was able to restore her heart’s normal rhythm with a minimally invasive procedure called cardioversion, performed in the Medical Center’s electrophysiology lab. With the patient under anesthetic, the heart is given a shock to correct the electrical pulses that power the heartbeat.
Pat said, “They put me out and I woke up feeling fine, wide-awake and comfortable. It was uneventful, with no complications. Despite our concerns prior to the procedure, I now realize it was a very simple and effective way to return my heart to normal rhythm.”
“Dr. Esan stopped by to check on me every day I was in the hospital. I appreciated that. He was just wonderful at the hospital and also when I saw him in his office for follow-up visits,” she said. “The staff members in the office were also helpful and efficient.”
Wonderful Care in a Comfortable Place
This was the first experience in the Medical Center’s new patient area for Pat and her family. “The care was wonderful,” she said. “I was so glad when I found that I had a private room. As sick as I was, I wanted privacy. The room was very comfortable, and the cleanliness was far superior to any other hospital I’ve visited recently.”
Pat says she feels fine now, and wants to stay that way. She now knows from this experience that caring for herself is essential to caring for those she loves. “I’m a very independent person -- used to being the helper, not having to ask for help. I’m very lucky to be where I am today.”
MidMichigan Health offers a full array of cardiovascular services, including open-heart surgery, electrophysiology for heart rhythm problems and advanced interventional procedures. With more providers and more locations for diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation, you get best-in-class heart care without the need to be referred outside the region. For more information, visit http://www.midmichigan.org/heart.