When the caregiver becomes the patient
As a firefighter and medic, James Deguzman feels sheepish talking about his hesitation to recognize his own heart attack and his reluctance to go to the hospital. Fortunately for him, his wife, Deborah, was quick to act when he mentioned pain in his neck and chest.
“She told me to go to the ER to at least get looked at, especially since people show different signs and symptoms,” James recalls. “As a medic I already knew this, but it was the look in her eyes that convinced me to go.”
And he’s glad she did. Tests performed at the hospital revealed that James had a 95 percent blockage in his right coronary artery. Dr. Vasudev Ananthram, Dr. Vernon Francis and the clinical team at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center were able to place a stent in his blocked artery.
James’ decision to seek treatment has the ultimate happy ending:
“There was no heart damage and I’m expected to make a full recovery,” he says.
James is grateful to the team who saved his life that day. He appreciates the many staffers and physicians who crossed his path from the emergency department, cath lab and ICU.
Only two days after his stent, James was walking outside and he hasn’t slowed down.
“After my one-week follow up, I was able to pick up the pace with walking distances,” he proudly shares. “Using free apps like Myfitness Pal and Map My Walk, I have lost 32.4 pounds in 61 days. I have balanced my food groups and briskly walk a minimum of two miles a day at 3.5 mph pace. My average weekly distance has been 22.6 miles.”
James’ wife continues to be a source of encouragement. She helps him de-stress with relaxing exercises, yoga and meditation. As a fitness partner, she has also lost over 20 pounds.
James believes more than ever that people should take action at the earliest signs of trouble. Learn the symptoms of heart trouble and seek care quickly by calling 911.