Dan Coppernoll: Open-Heart Patient

"If I ever need another heart surgery, this is the only place I would go.”

The first day after his open-heart surgery at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, Dan Coppernoll of Grass Lake walked two long laps around the Heart Center. He wanted to do more, but his care team advised him to go easy. Slowing down isn’t easy for Dan. A former cattle rancher and recently retired from a physically active job at Gerdau, Dan still works more than 70 acres of his 240-acre farm. He is also a Deputy in the Grass Lake Sherriff Department’s Mounted Division.

A year and a half ago, Dan was working on his land when, “my heart started beating like crazy and I couldn’t breathe,” he recalled. “I knew I was having a heart attack. I felt like a goner.”  At Henry Ford Allegiance Health, cardiothoracic surgeon Mahender Macha, MD, identified two severely blocked arteries, and he successfully performed open-heart surgery to repair both.

“I feel like a million dollars, and I recently took a four-hour mule ride down the Grand Canyon. I’m grateful every day.”Dan Coppernoll, open-heart patient

“I’m so very thankful to Dr. Macha and for the great job he did finding and fixing the problem. If I ever need another heart surgery, this is the only place I would go,” Dan said. He was also pleased with the level of attention the nurses provided. “They got be back on my feet right away and that helped me get back to my farm work,” he said. “I didn’t sit in a recliner after retirement, and I couldn’t just sit still after my surgery. I wanted to get up and get back in shape—and that’s what I did.”

Dan’s active life was a major factor in his quick and complete recovery.  In addition to farming and baling hay, Dan continues his work with the Sheriff’s Department, helping with crowd safety on horseback at local parades, fireworks such events as the Civil War Muster. He’s even gone bear hunting since his surgery and completed a four-and-a-half hour mule ride down the Grand Canyon last December. “I feel like a million dollars, “ Dan said. “I’m grateful every day.”

Severe chest pain is not always present with a heart attack, especially for older adults, people with diabetes and women. They may experience sudden shortness of breath, coughing, dizziness, fatigue or weakness. Don’t take a chance. Call 9-1-1.