It Pays to Listen to Your Body

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“I was in denial, not listening to my body and what it was telling me,”# confesses Emma Caldwell.

While in Florida, Emma”s chest started hurting. She found it hard to walk and had no energy. Refusing to go to the emergency room, her symptoms finally passed. Emma even helped her husband, Willie, drive back home to Georgia a day later.

Once home she, “felt fine,”# however, both Willie and their daughter Sheena insisted on taking her to the ER at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth where an EKG revealed that Emma had suffered a heart attack.

Emma recalls, “My intention was to go to the hospital, get some medicine and go home.”# Instead, she was transported by ambulance to the Strickland Heart Center at the GMC-Lawrenceville campus and had a heart catheterization the next morning. Three days later, Emma underwent coronary bypass surgery for two blocked arteries.

Ironically, Sheena, a member of GMC”s clinical information technology team, had just the week before completed work on the clinical “order set” for open heart surgery post-operative procedures. She told her mother how fascinating this project was and that she couldn”t wait until GMC had its first open-heart surgery patient. Little did Sheena know that her mother would go down in history as one of the medical center”s first two open-heart surgery patients.

“I”ve had surgery before, at two other hospitals, but my experience at Gwinnett Medical was amazing,”# Emma comments. “I saw the human side of the doctors and nurses.”#

Really glad her family insisted on taking her to get checked out, Emma says, “I feel a lot better than before the surgery and have more energy.”# She will be involved with a cardiac rehabilitation program as part of her follow-up regime and with her family making sure she takes her health more seriously, Emma plans to “follow everything the doctors say do.”#