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His & Her Open-Heart Surgery

Not Just One Surgery, but Two

In the emergency room, doctors told Tina she had suffered a heart attack and had triple vessel coronary disease. As she was wheeled away for a heart catheterization, Bob started to panic.
“We never spend time away from each other, and as I saw her being taken from me, I got even more upset,” he says. “When the results confirmed that she needed heart surgery, I almost collapsed. I kept thinking, ‘This can’t be happening. I can’t lose my bride.’”
With each step, Bob started to feel even more discomfort in his chest, became short of breath, and began to profusely perspire. As he rounded the corner outside Tina’s hospital room, a nurse asked him what was wrong. He couldn’t answer.
The team of nurses immediately set Bob in a wheelchair and whisked him to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome. An emergency heart catheterization was performed. “Some 90 percent of his left main coronary artery was blocked, necessitating coronary artery bypass,” says Addonizio, also the surgical director of the hospital’s Porter Institute of Valvular Heart Disease.
Having a husband and wife facing surgery at the same time presented a problem for the hospital. Just when doctors had stabilized Tina, her husband was taken into emergency surgery. “Our job was to keep her stable while he was rushed to surgery,” Addonizio says. “Then, we had to keep him stable as he recuperated knowing that she was having her surgery after him.”

Tina learned the news about her husband just before he entered surgery. Two days later, Tina underwent surgery. They recuperated in rooms next to each other in the cardiac care unit. “As soon as we could, we had nurses wheel us into each other’s rooms so we could recuperate and eat our meals together,” Bob says. “We haven’t been apart since.”

Continued on Page 3: Life After Heart Surgery
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