Tina: Kind of give me your words of how that happened.
Jack: Okay. Well, I have a couple of boys who live in New York, and my wife and I were out visiting and Dan was on the third floor, and we were doing laundry for him, carrying laundry up the steps and I was very short of breath and it wasn’t, it didn’t feel good.
Jack: So when I came home, you know they always say check with the physician before you start exercising. And I, you know, I know I was quite a bit overweight.
Jack: I went to Dale Kraenzle. He was from my, not an annual checkup but just to get some meds-
Jack: Renewed, and you know at the last part I said “You know Dale, I know I need to lose some weight, but I was in New York and I was really short of breath, and I just noticed it going up and down the steps.” And Jackie said “Up at the hospital, they have what I call a poor man’s heart scan.” He said for $75, insurance didn’t cover it, uh they scan your heart and you know kind of give you where you are. So I said okay, I’ve wasted $75 on a dinner and a bottle of wine, so I thought what the heck I might as well try it, so I went up and you know did the score and Dale said to come on in and so he looked at it. He said “Jack,” he said “I think this needs to be looked at by a cardiologist.”
Jack: I said okay, and he said “No, I mean pretty soon.” I put a little rush in it, I have a daughter who’s a pediatrician, so uh found a cardiologist and you know, first thing they do is look at the thing and he said oh it doesn’t look bad, but he lets do a stress test. And I said okay, this is how they do the EKG, all that stuff. And then uh, I hoped on the treadmill, and I could not go. I flunked it, I guess you could say. So they said okay, well we’ll do the non-stress test. So the next week I went in and did the non-stress test on a Friday, and uh, you know that threw up some every other threw up some red flags also.
Jack: And he said, you know, “Jack I think we need to do a cardiac CATH.” I said okay, he said, you know, “There’s a good chance you’re going to need some stents,” he said, you know, “With what we see going on.” This was all on a Friday, so on a Monday, uh you know, we had a big family party on Sunday, and a baptism. On Monday, I went in at 7 o’clock, Susan and I. You know, got in there and uh, after about 10 minutes, the gentleman who was doing the cardiac CAT came out and said “I’m really not sure how your husband is walking around.”
Jack: He said that he’s not leaving yet. So I think, you know, there’s 90-95-100% blocked, and, so they stuck me in ICU. And uh, they couldn’t get an operating room opened up that night, so they, first thing in the morning they, they went in and did a, 8 bypass surgeries, there was 8 bypasses that I had done.
Jack: So uh, you know, I guess I was uh on the table I guess 8 hours, and then, you know, so obviously you’re hurting, you’re recuperating from that and I was going to rehab, everything was fine. And then uh, I – one Sunday morning I, you know, was walking and I couldn’t go 100 yards. And this physician, they always say listen to your body, you know, well, two days later after this I told my wife about it, and she said “okay, let’s go to the doctor.” So we went, and they said okay, you know, they wanted to make sure all the new plumbing was working.
Jack: And uh, so they said were going to do another cardiac CAT, they did that again, and stuck a stent in there some place. I didn’t understand all the terminology, something about some flow wasn’t working and all the new stuff was working just fine, it was part of the old plumbing.
Jack: Anyways since then I’ve uh, it’s been, you know, exercise, change of lifestyle to say the least. Just a little heart scan, this isn’t the uh first test Dale saved me on but also um, you know, this basically I, it, God didn’t want me and the Devil didn’t take me it sounds like. So were working on all that right now so you know, that’s kind of my story in a nutshell.
Tina: Okay so as you were um discovering uh what your situation was, was that because you were walking up the stairs with your son?
Tina: And you went short of breath. Who was the first person to notice that?
Tina: Oh you didn’t tell anybody?
Tina: Oh okay.
Jack: No, no. As I said, I only told my wife after the latest one. No it was me but then as I started looking, my brother and I have a mattress store, after all this I have a brother in San Francisco too, and that’s very hilly and I was out of breath then. Joe and Id delivered mattresses and I was out of breath then, so I had signs. I didn’t have your telltale elephant on the chest, the pain in the arm and all that kind of stuff, it was just, you know, mentioning short of breath and Dale saying yeah let’s just check this out Jack.
Tina: And so how did you feel when the doctor first said to you that there’s something more going on here.
Jack: You know, uh, well. I was scared. Scared, you know, but more than anything a lot of the information from um, you know, when the doctor said you know, there are people with stents all the time, you know. But, when they came out and said, you know, I didn’t necessarily grasp the seriousness of what’s called the cabbage, you know of an open heart surgery. I didn’t grasp that. And because, you know, when they told my wife, I was not there, this was the evening before, you know, we stop his heart. And sometimes it’s hard to get going again. And I’m like, there’s a lot of things going on that I found out in the succeeding weeks or months that I didn’t know what was really going on.
Tina: Kind of in a fuzz there like what’s going on.
Jack: Yeah, it really was. Fortunately, I have a wife that’s an intensive care nurse. My daughter is a physician, and they were very instrumental in educating me. When this came about you had two on the east coast and one on the west coast, to see what the heck is wrong with dad. That wasn’t the time to come in, but they all made it in within the next week. Yeah, it was kind of a shock. Needless to say, you knew you’re overweight. But when the cardiovascular surgeon, he was 72, he said “The most I’ve ever done is 9.” I said well I sure as heck wasn’t going for the record, but I darn near did it so. No smoking, no family history, nothing, just the luck of the draw.
Tina: That’s right, that’s right.
Jack: And good luck going forward.
Tina: And from the time you were actually diagnosed and they started getting into the whole case, how many months did that take?
Jack: Three weeks.
Tina: Three weeks? So they moved fast, they moved very fast.
Jack: Yes, I went into Dale the last week in January, and then it probably took me a couple weeks to get into the cardiac surgeon. The surgery was March 12, but then there was probably two weeks prior to that, yeah three or four weeks. Dale suggested let’s do it now, and the cardiac physician said we needed to do this stress test, non-stress, he was very, not panicky but he said no we need to do it now, were not waiting until after summer.
Tina: He had to let you know it was a serious situation.
Jack: Yeah, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I did catch on that we need to get something checked out.
Tina: Okay, alright, that’s very good. So what would you say to someone else who is not familiar, maybe experiencing some of the same things that you experienced before you went in there?
Jack: Spend the $75 and get checked out.
Tina: As soon as possible?
Jack: Right, as soon as possible. Were all very cost conscious but we all have thrown away a lot of money on a lot of different things. This was something that when Dale said to do that, I said “Aw God, $75.” Needless to say I maxed out my out of pocket right now so, yeah, so take a fools advice and just get it done. It’s no different than people in my line of work. An investment advisor, the first question I ask people is “‘Do you have a will?’ ‘No.’” I bet 90% of the people do not have a will. Spend the $150 to get a will, the $75 to get this checked out. Definitely do it.
Tina: Well worth it.
Jack: Oh my gosh, yeah. The worst part about all of this is if you could keep your family from going through what my family, what I put my family through during this, do it. So, that’s my song and dance.
Tina: It’s an amazing story. Sounds like they got there just in time.
Jack: You know, I guess so. Something could have happened any time. Like I said, two of the big arteries were 95 and 100% blocked, the other was 90. It’s just kind of amazing, and I guess this is a gradual thing, according to the physicians, as your heart starts to need blood, things get blocked, and it makes these other little paths to get blood. You know, it’s like you’re going down 44, and there’s an accident, well hell, let’s get off at Clayton. Let’s get off at Kings Highway. You know, your body is an amazing, and I feel like I’ve bounced back to a certain degree, it’s amazing.
Tina: Now, the one thing that I have that Tim did tell me, after your situation, other family members ran to get their heart score, tell me a little bit about that.
Jack: Well after they went to get their heart score, and also the diet that my wife and I are on, or that I’m on and my wife is following is called the predican, and predican intensive cardiac rehab. It works, obviously a lot of plant based, you know that. But, that was one thing that several of my family members had changed their lifestyle, maybe not as quite drastically as Susan and I, but yeah. Lorriane went and had hers scanned, I don’t know how it came out but it must have been okay because she hasn’t said anything. But yeah, it’s no different than uh, I don’t know. When you hear something happen to someone you think oh shoot maybe I better get that checked out, especially when your brother and being family members. Is it hereditary? We didn’t necessarily have a history of heart problems, but by cardiology, it says I have very small vessels. That is something that I have passed on and needs to be checked out.
Tina: Very good. We hope you stay healthy, keep those checkups coming.
Jack: I’m part of a research study too, wonder why, but yeah they offered this to me so I did two years of EKGs and MRIs and all that to see how everything’s going. It’s a couple of speedbumps but shucks.
Tina: Very blessed.
Jack: Anything else you need to know about me?
Tina: That’s about It, I think we did good, don’t you?
Jack: I do, like I said, my children, the family support has been key.
Tina: That’s awesome.