Take me to Dr. Day at St. Mark’s Hospital: For world-class skills, world-class experience
Bud says he gained confidence, a plan and got his future back because of the world-class care at St. Mark's Hospital.
Bud Chew’s experience with an irregular heart rhythm began during a routine colonoscopy appointment.
“Just before wheeling me in, they stuck some electrodes on my chest and took a resting EKG. I heard two nurses say to one another, ‘He’s in A-Fib.’ Then I told them what I do for a profession,” Bud said. “I’m a cardiovascular physiologist. I study heart failure for a living. That said, I’ve never paid much attention to atrial fibrillation in detail until I experienced it.”
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm. It can lead to blood clots in the heart and ultimately the dislocation of blood clots, causing a stroke or even death. While some people do not experience any symptoms related with the condition, others feel chest pain, a fluttery or pounding heartbeat, fatigue, light headedness, shortness of breath or weakness.
“When I’m in A-Fib I feel my heart flopping around in my chest. After I had it once, I became very conscious of it. It’s really uncomfortable,” Bud said. “My bouts of A-Fib would last up to 8 or 10 hours at a time. And once I started learning more about the condition, I became anxious. I didn’t want to have a stroke and become a burden to my family. My initial doctors in Arizona told me not to worry about it, but the more I experienced A-fib and the more the prescription medications weren’t helping, the more anxious I became about this thing that was out of my control and controlling my life. So, I started searching for answers.”
Bud found hope and a pathway forward because of Dr. John Day, a renowned cardiologist who provides care in The Heart Center at St. Mark’s Hospital and specializes in A-Fib. First, Bud read a book Dr. Day wrote entitled, “The A-Fib Cure: Get Off Your Medications, Take Control of Your Health, and Add Years to Your Life.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the book changed my life completely for the better. After reading it, I immediately started working on lifestyle modifications. It took work and effort, and I lost 50 lbs. in 5 months,” Bud said.
With Bud’s focused efforts on cutting back carbs, exercising daily and reducing stress levels, he saw tremendous health improvements, but his atrial fibrillation continued. That’s when he decided to seek out Dr. Day for an in-person consultation at The Heart Center at St. Mark’s to discuss a treatment procedure called ablation.
Atrial fibrillation ablation creates scarring on the inside of the heart to break up the electrical signals causing the irregular heart rhythm.
“I had read the book cover to cover twice and read the ablation chapter three or four times. I knew what to expect about the procedure, but I wondered about meeting Dr. Day. Would he be like what I thought based on the book?” Bud said. “I’m happy to say, he was everything I hoped he’d be and more. He’s world-class in his skill set and world-class in his experience He understands what his patients are going through, and I had faith in his ability to help get me better.”
After an initial meeting, Bud scheduled an ablation procedure at St. Mark’s Hospital. He checked into the hospital at 9 a.m. and checked out that afternoon, saying his experience felt seamless, efficient and filled with kindness.
“From start to finish, it was a confidence-inspiring process,” Bud said.
The day after surgery, Bud felt some expected soreness and chest congestion. He also continued to experience atrial fibrillation from time to time, which Dr. Day and the heart team had cautioned him about.
“It’s been a little more than a month now, and my A-Fib happens a lot less frequently, and when it does, it lasts an hour or two instead of 8 to 10 hours a time. It’s definitely trending in the right direction,” Bud said.
Now that Bud had the right procedure, performed by the right doctor at the right hospital, a positive anticipation for the future has replaced his anxiety. In a few weeks, he and his wife, Laura, will retire from being professors at Western Wyoming Community College and set out on new adventures.
“Dr. Day gave me that future back. I get choked up just thinking about it. This has made such a difference in my life — and it’s not just Dr. Day but his whole team. These are people who truly dedicate themselves to providing amazing healthcare. They actually care about their patients. That’s why I say, ‘Take me to St. Mark’s Hospital,’ Bud said. “They restored my faith in the medical system.”
For one day access to world-class cardiovascular care, call the Heart Center at St. Mark’s at (801) 266-3418.