Less than a year ago, Mike Southerland walked in to a hospital emergency room expecting doctors to adjust his medication to get rid of the severe dizzy spells he had been having. Southerland, a Bryan City Council member, thought that the emergency room doctors would simply adjust his medication and let him go. He was wrong.
The doctors immediately admitted him to the hospital. Within a week he was undergoing heart bypass surgery on four blocked arteries and getting a pacemaker. In observance of American Heart Health Month in February, Southerland agreed to share part of his heart health success story.
Today Southerland is feeling good, and conscious of his fortunate timing. He had no idea he was close to a heart attack, and thankful he received medical attention before it occurred. Sure, he’d had some chest pains when he was exercising – but you always have pain when you exercise, don’t you? Sure, he’d stopped using the stairs and begun to ride the elevator – but that’s just getting older, right? Sure, he’d had a few dizzy spells – but that could be blamed on medication, couldn’t it? Nothing added up to ‘heart attack’ in Southerland’s mind.
“Looking back, I can’t believe how I had closed down my activities little by little. It sneaks up on you,” saysSoutherland. “I was in good shape for so many years – I was a runner, ate well, did all the right things. But I gradually cut back on my activities without even realizing it. I didn’t have typical symptoms, so I didn’t connect them to heart trouble.”
Southerland has made a few changes following his narrow escape. He has worked hard to return to a full exercise regimen, maintain healthy food choices, and reduce stress. Before his surgery, he volunteered with lots of nonprofit organizations, and now he’s added the American Heart Association to his list. He took part in this year’s Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association and plans to attend the Brazos Valley Heart Ball, also benefitting the American Heart Association, on February 10.
“I’m convinced my medical team are all miracle workers. They gave me such personal and excellent attention, and they seem to love what they do. They are truly concerned about every individual patient, and I’m very grateful to them,” says Southerland.
Bryan/College Station is fast becoming a healthcare destination, and residents are fortunate to have medical specialists of all fields locally available. Several facilities offer specialized cardiovascular care including Scott & White Healthcare, The Med, BCS Heart, Central Texas Heart Center, St. Joseph Regional Health Center, Physicians Centre and individual physicians.
“I’ve walked as much as six miles and I’m building up to start running again,” Southerland says. “I haven’t felt this good in over 10 years. Now, in addition to the physical improvements, I’ve got an improved attitude. I’m motivated and look forward to doing everyday things again. I’d advise anyone who is experiencing possible heart problems to get things checked out thoroughly to catch any conditions early.” – Rhonda Brinkmann
The 2012 Brazos Valley Heart Ball addresses affairs of the heart, both physical and romantic. Proceeds benefit the American Heart Association, which works to improve cardiovascular health. Timing of the Ball gives you a chance to celebrate romance for Valentine’s Day. Bless your heart and that of someone you love.
2012 Brazos Valley Heart Ball
Friday, February 10 at Miramont Country Club
The Buckinghams will entertain guests with
their dynamic pop-rock sounds, along with
the popular Karen Chavis Band. Presenting
Sponsors for the event are Scott & White
Healthcare and Utility Fleet Sales. For
ticket reservations or sponsorships, call
(979) 268-0068 or visit www.facebook.com/