“Something isn’t right.”
It was a few days after knee replacement surgery and, coincidentally, a few days after my 73rd birthday. I was sweating profusely as I told my wife Ellie that my vision was blurred and fuzzy. She picked up the phone to call 911, but I stopped her.
As quickly as the spell came on, it was gone. This happened a couple times over the next few days, the symptoms coming and going. While at my post-op appointment for my knee, though, I knew something was wrong, and I decided to head straight over to Florida Hospital Altamonte. Start the clock.
“The helicopter will be here in two minutes.”
I arrived to a wheelchair ready and waiting. I was rushed down the hall and hooked up to several machines. Intermittent beeping, doctors and nurses working as quickly as possible – I was acutely aware of everything going on around me.
The ER doctor, Dr. Davis, told me I needed a heart catheterization procedure, something that had to be done at the Cardiovascular Institute at Florida Hospital Orlando. The next words brought tears to my eyes, “The helicopter will be here in two minutes,” he said. Not only did I need to be transported, but I had to go by helicopter because an ambulance couldn’t get me there quickly enough.
I struggled to wrap my mind around the urgency, and I was scared. There was so much left undone. I couldn’t go out like this. Twenty minutes.
Recently I had the opportunity to re-live my helicopter-to-cath lab experience. Here are some photos and a VIP virtual tour.
“…in that moment, my faith came to the forefront.”
On the ground in Orlando, I was rushed to the Cath Lab. As Dr. Franceschi began the procedure, I was still hyper-aware of my surroundings. A long, thin tube called a catheter was inserted in an artery through blood vessels to my heart. Normally, the catheter passes through relatively easily; unfortunately, this was not the case.
Dr. Franceschi made two attempts but could not get through. The frightening idea of open-heart surgery became very real. He made a third and final attempt, and in that moment, my faith came to the forefront. I am grateful every day for my care team at Florida Hospital and that third try. Dr. Franceschi’s commitment not only prevented the need for open-heart surgery, it saved my life. The catheter passed through and cleared the blockage. Stop the clock.
“…when every second counts.”
Forty-five minutes. From the time I arrived at Florida Hospital Altamonte to the time Dr. Franceschi completed the heart catheterization was forty-five minutes. Florida Hospital’s world-renowned Cardiovascular Institute saved my life in less time than it takes to watch something on TV.
Teams like Dr. Franceschi’s are trained to implement quick but deliberate plans of care when every second counts. These skilled caregivers are why I’m here today, and words can’t express my gratitude.
“…another life saved, another person whose story goes on.”
Your gift helps provide the latest and greatest in cardiac care to patients right here in Central Florida. Because of you, Florida Hospital is on the cutting edge of technology and treatments for patients of all kinds. Your tax-deductible gift represents a commitment to top-notch cardiovascular care and means another life saved, another person whose story goes on.
Join me in support of the Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute today.