Dana Grasty thought she was just tired. She drove a far distance to her chef job every day at the Oceanfront and put in long hours. But something more serious was needed: Heart surgery.
“One evening around 2 a.m., it got so bad that I couldn’t lie down comfortably,” said Dana. “I was scared, so I went to Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk. I was freaking out because I couldn’t breathe. The nurses were patient. They calmed me down and reassured me that they would help. They really made me feel better.”
Dana had heart failure because of a leaky mitral heart valve. At first, she worked with the Heart Failure Management clinic at Obici, but her condition progressed to the point were she needed to have her valve fixed.
Trusting the nearby experts
She turned to Sentara once again and trusted the surgeons and nurses at the Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk.
After a short, in-hospital recovery, Dana relied on her friends at the Sentara Obici Heart Failure Management Clinic and Community Care case manager Barbara Kelly-Gibbs.
“I’m watching the patient and looking for clues to see how they’re doing. When I met Dana in her home, I saw her walking. After a few steps, I could tell Dana was short of breath. I contacted the cardiologists to get advice,” said Barbara. “I try to lessen any emotional strains, too. One of Dana’s family members was pushing her to walk more. I explained to him that I knew he was well-intentioned, but Dana had to work up to more. Everyone then understood better what is possible.”
Barbara encouraged Dana to increase her walking distance only every three days. She also nudged her to dream and reach goals at a slow, steady pace.
“I told her ‘first you get better, then you get back to work, and then you get your own place,’” she said.
And soon enough, Dana did get back to good health – and work.