Craig Redmon did his best to live a healthy life, even though he believed his fate was predetermined. His father and brother died of heart related conditions.
“I knew someday I would have a heart issue,” Craig said. “But I was supposed to be 74 years old not 62. So, I was trying to do all the right stuff.”
That’s exactly what Craig was doing on a recent Sunday morning, the 62-year-old and his son were exercising at a gym in their hometown of Canton, MO.
“I got off the Stairmaster and didn’t feel very good,” Craig said. “I did not know exactly what it was. It continued to get worse and I finally told my son to take me home.”
On the way home, Craig and Andrew decided to detour and drive to the hospital instead. Craig wanted to go to Blessing Hospital, because of the quality heart care his father had received there.
When Andrew called his mother to tell her the plan, she changed it. Mrs. Redmon told her son to take Craig to the ambulance garage in Canton instead, so he could be taken to the hospital by first responders.
That decision saved Craig’s life.
While in the ambulance and on the highway headed to Blessing Hospital, the importance of Mrs. Redmon’s decision became clear.
“All of a sudden, I had a tremendous pain that started in my feet and ran all the way up to my head, and then I died, basically,” Craig said. “They had to shock me and bring me back.”
“Those guys are phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about our ambulance crew in Canton,” he declared.
Upon arrival at Blessing, heart surgeon John H. Arnold took over. Tests revealed four blocked arteries. A quadruple bypass was done the next day.
Craig called the care he received from his Blessing Heart & Vascular team phenomenal. In addition to Dr. Arnold’s skill and bedside manner, Craig remembers his Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit nurses by name.
“Great care,” he said. “I was scared to death. COVID was happening, so I could not have visitors. But the nurses were there when I needed them. They made the whole experience as good as they possibly could.”
Fast forward one week after surgery and Craig is back at home. He was not feeling right. Craig called Blessing and was evaluated by Andrea Leone, DNP, FNP-C, board certified nurse practitioner in the Blessing Hospital Cardiothoracic Surgery department. Andrea asked Craig to return to Blessing right away.
Craig was taking two medications commonly prescribed to open heart patients after surgery. One of the medications, a blood thinner, caused fluid to collect around Craig’s heart.
Again, Dr. Arnold responded, draining the fluid from around Craig’s heart, and planting his feet firmly on the road to recovery.
That road lead Craig to the Blessing Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation program where he participates in monitored exercise and receives heart healthy information.
“I’m getting stronger,” Craig says of his participation in the program. “It’s comforting. They put a heart monitor on you so you know you are safe.”
As the result of his strong faith, his wife’s decision, the life-saving care of the Lewis County Ambulance District responders, the skill of Dr. Arnold, Andrea Leone and the surgical staff, the compassion of the Blessing Hospital Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit team and the guidance and support of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program, today Craig’s heart overflows with gratitude.
“To get your life back is an amazing and gratifying event,” he said.