Chillicothe Woman Credits Adena With Saving Her Life
Chillicothe resident Laura Walley will never forget the events of March 23 that included Adena Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Jarrod Betz asking her, “Do you know how lucky you are?”
She definitely knew.
She knew she was lucky to have been concerned enough to call her daughter, Kaci, sometime shortly after 4:30 a.m. that day when she felt pain in her left arm and broke out in a cold sweat. Lucky that her daughter, a caregiver within Adena’s Information Technology Department, was able to get her to the Emergency Department at Adena Regional Medical Center in less than 10 minutes from that call.
And lucky to have so close to home the hospital’s caring, compassionate physicians and support staff across her entire continuum of care who, she knows, saved her life.
Living a Nightmare
Upon her arrival in the Emergency Department, Laura was diagnosed with a heart attack and quickly wheeled to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where Dr. Betz checked her heart for arterial blockages while simultaneously answering her questions and offering reassurances. She had two blockages, at 60 and 70 percent, respectively, in a pair of arteries on her right side. A third artery, on her left side, contained a 90 percent blockage that is also commonly known as a “widow maker” due to its almost complete restriction of blood flow.
During the 30-minute analysis, Dr. Betz reassured Laura that he was being very thorough and checking everything and regularly asked her how she was doing. He then inserted a stent into the most seriously clogged artery to alleviate the blockage and restore greater blood flow.
“When he told me that (left side) blockage was at 90 percent, it started sinking in – he saved my life,” Laura said. “Dr. Betz came over and asked, ‘Do you know how lucky you are?’ I said, ‘I’m definitely blessed.’ I was just thanking him and letting Jesus work through him. It’s amazing how kind people can be.”
'God Put Her There'
That wasn’t the last act of kindness Laura would find in her care during that visit.
She didn’t sleep well in the Intensive Care Unit that night where she was being kept for observation, but she vividly remembers connecting with a nurse named Autumn who told her she was one of her final patients during her final rounding in that role before transitioning into a hospice team lead for Adena.
“Autumn was made to serve others,” Laura said. “I immediately got to know her and hear her story and, because of that, I was proud of her and proud of Adena. Here’s someone who works 12-hour shifts and she raises a family, too. God put her there, and it just made me proud.”
She made further connections during her stay. Certified Nurse Practitioner and Cardiology Specialist Jerry Tapp visited to answer questions about her heart attack and put some things in context and Dr. Betz contributed to that explanation by sketching a diagram of her heart to show where the blockages were and how he fixed them. Laura said she felt like she was blessed with two new sons in the form of the two clinicians.
Other caregivers, including those in Environmental Services, showcased their special care in the form of extra blankets, pillows and great conversation, while a nurse that helped her transition from the ICU to a step-down unit the second night to prepare for discharge the following day provided her with peace of mind.
“I was running on fear,” Laura said. “This was a shock to my mind and system, but the nurse offered to go with me to the new room. She even carried my flower arrangement and stayed with me for 20 minutes until I was in my new room.”
Wanting to Give Back
Laura and her family are very familiar with the clinicians and caregivers at Adena, having seen several of them throughout their lifetimes. Her mother survived five bouts with cancer and a heart attack – which she credits to the care provided at Adena – and her current general practitioner, Dr. Robert Violette, works for the Health System in Circleville.
Upon receiving a patient survey about her visit, she decided to write a letter to Adena to thank everyone involved.
“I wanted every department recognized,” she said. “I wanted to let them know how important they are in each individual’s life. If they had not done what they did to help me, it would not have turned out like it did.”
As for herself, she is undertaking the steps involved with recovery from a heart attack, including cardiovascular therapy. She also is looking for ways to repay the kindness she received from her Adena care team, with one of her pastors, Mark Gray, who donates time to Adena as a volunteer pastor, offering a strong option.
“He said, ‘When you get better, go on rounds with me and talk to people,’” Laura said. “When I get better, I want to get back to Adena and show people the love and kindness I was given.”
For more information on Adena’s Emergency Department and care for heart attacks, please visit our website at www.adena.org.