Watch a video of Mike and Beth sharing their experience.
he had cardiogenic shock, a very serious condition in
which the heart doesn’t pump enough blood to meet the
body’s needs, and an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP)
was inserted to help. On January 30, 2014, he had a triple
bypass. Later the IABP was removed, and he was released
to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. He went home five
days later to continue his physical and occupational
therapy at home.
That was the end of eating and drinking anything he
wanted. Beth continued to record his vitals (blood glucose
level, oxygen, heart rate, temperature, weight, blood
pressure) every day and watch what he ate. “I kept a log of
all of Mike’s health issues which helped in complying with
all the meds and treatments that the doctors had ordered,”
she said. “It seemed overwhelming at first, but we took
one day at a time.” She says the notes and questions in
the log book help them better understand all the aspects
of living with HF.
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania followed
up with the O’Mearas soon after Mike went home. “I was
in daily contact with the cardiovascular team through the
secure Penn website for patients,” Beth said.
With the lifestyle changes he made, Mike lost 20
pounds, which decreased his heart’s workload a little.
Now he sees both his primary cardiologist and the
cardiology pulmonary specialist for cardiology as well
as the electrophysiology cardiologist for his defibrillator/
pacemaker every six months. He also continues to see his
internist every three months. “I always accompany him with
my notebook and take detailed notes,” Beth said. “Every
patient needs an advocate.”
And Mike has words of advice for young people: “Don’t
ignore your health because you think you are invincible.
Get checked yearly in order to address any issues that
arise in the beginning stages. I am a firm believer in early
Mike has recovered enough that he can again travel to
conferences with Beth. Along with lifestyle changes and
new medicines, there has been another change in the
O’Meara household: “After the heart failure, we did get a
puppy in July 2014,” Beth said. “Sarge is part of Mike’s
recovery. Taking him out for a walk or playing tug-of-war
several times a day gets him up and going. This has added
a 24/7 pal to his life. They are best buds!”