Anatomy and Physiology Teacher Learns Life Lessons After Heart Surgery

David Fisher of Denton, Maryland knows the consequences that can result from an unhealthy lifestyle; all of the men on his father’s side have died from heart disease. So David, a retired anatomy and physiology teacher, has always made sure to eat well and exercise regularly in an attempt to keep his heart healthy. One day David woke up with classic signs of a heart attack – pressure and pain in his chest and a cold sweat – but did not immediately seek treatment. David assumed his pain was related to the previous day’s exercise routine and indigestion, so he took an antacid and returned to bed.David Fisher

A few hours later his chest pain was increasing, so David and his wife drove to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. Staff there performed an EKG and realized that David was having a heart attack. David was in disbelief – he had seen his primary care physician for a physical three months prior and was given a clean bill of health. Doctors decided to transfer David by helicopter to the Comprehensive Heart Center at University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

David was immediately wheeled into the operating room and underwent a quadruple bypass surgery that lasted four hours, led by Dr. Murtaza Dawood. The procedure was a success, and David was discharged from UMMC after eight days. David returned to his home in Denton and recalls that he was never in a lot of pain after the procedure, but he would tire very easily. Never one to be inactive for too long, David thrived in cardiac rehab therapy at The Center for Cardio-Pulmonary Fitness & Wellness in Easton. His cardiologist, a friend who lives up the street, would check in often with David and cleared him to return to his own workout routine just 14 weeks after surgery.

David is back to working out nearly every day, alternating between weight lifting, running, and circuit training. His doctors told him that his excellent recovery can be attributed to the healthy lifestyle he maintained prior to his heart disease, and that there wasn’t anything he could do to prevent the event. He was genetically predisposed to heart failure. His sister underwent gene testing following David’s heart attack to determine if she was at risk as well.

David, who is 71 years old, is looking forward to staying active for many years to come. He plans to enjoy the Nissan 350Z convertible that he purchased last year – a purchase he decided on while recuperating in the Intensive Care Unit at UMMC. David is also considering a return to the classroom. While the experience was traumatic, he says that the education he received following his heart attack about his own physiology was admittedly “a little fun.”

This page was last updated: July 9, 2014

         
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