A heart attack stopped 67-year-old Larry Beuthin in his tracks. But Beuthin, an avid outdoorsman, beekeeper and devoted family man, was not about to let his heart attack put an end to his active lifestyle.
Beuthin felt his first twinges of chest pain while out for a winter walk. “I blew it off as cold night air just irritating my lungs a little bit,” he says. “I went to bed feeling good, but woke up about at 2:00 in the morning with tremendous pain across my chest.”
He woke his wife, who drove him to nearby Ripon Medical Center. From that moment on, Beuthin knew he was in good hands. “I wasn’t really worried,” he says. “I just knew those people would take good care of me.”
Beuthin was transferred by helicopter to St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, where he underwent a cardiac catheterization, a procedure that looks for blocked arteries to the heart. One of his arteries was nearly completely blocked, so essential blood (and oxygen) weren’t getting to his heart. Juan Diaz, MD, a board-certified interventional cardiologist with Agnesian HealthCare’s Dale Michels Center for Heart Care, placed a stent in Beuthin’s artery to hold it open and improve blood flow to his heart.
“I was feeling better a day or two after the procedure because I was getting better circulation to my heart,” Beuthin says. “I hadn’t realized before that my heart was slowing me down.”
Although he was feeling better - and doing well physically - his medical team recommended cardiac rehabilitation, both to strengthen his heart and to help him learn heart-healthy habits. While Beuthin was eager to get back to his active lifestyle, he wasn’t so sure about cardiac rehab.
Beuthin signed up for cardiac rehab at Ripon Medical Center, and quickly saw the value of working with a team of experts who understand heart health. “It was very educational,” Beuthin says.
Beuthin learned a lot about healthy eating. “I thought I had been eating pretty well, but I learned about various types of food, how to look at labels and how to eat properly. It reallyopened my eyes to the fact that I can’t just say I’m eating good,” Beuthin says.
His effort paid off. “I now have more energy, and physically, I can probably do more than I was doing even before the heart attack. I have so much more energy to do the things I am interested in.”