Linda Wilson: Open-Heart Surgery

“My family and friends have noticed the change in my life and that I have more energy and self-confidence. I can go anywhere now, and I don’t get so tired.”

After recovering from successful open-heart surgery at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, Linda Wilson said, “It feels good to be alive.” The support she received from her children Nicia, Charles and Sentelle and the surgeons and staff at Henry Ford Allegiance Health have given Linda the strength to support others.

For years, Linda has had acid reflux disease, which causes frequent heartburn. One night, she thought she was having a bout of indigestion after dinner and went to bed early and in pain. Linda was actually experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.  

At an appointment with diabetes specialist Hasan Qutob, MD, later that week, Linda told him about her “heartburn.” He advised her to see her primary care physician, Horace Davis, MD, as soon as possible. “I followed up, and Dr. Davis sent me right to the Henry Ford Allegiance Emergency Department,” Linda said. “I asked if I could go home first, and he said no.”

At the Emergency Department, “Everyone moved fast to get me through tests and into a room,” Linda recalled. Cardiothoracic surgeon Mahender Macha, MD, came in to see her and explained that she’d had a serious heart attack. Four of Linda’s arteries were significantly blocked, and she was scheduled for open-heart surgery.

Linda doesn’t remember much about the day of her surgery, but her children said they were kept informed, which calmed their fears. “The doctors came out and told them everything went well,” Linda said. “I know I wouldn’t be here today if not for God and my surgeons.”

“I know I wouldn’t be here today if not for God and my surgeons.” Linda Wilson, open-heart surgery patient

The day after her surgery, Linda “had trouble comprehending all I had been through,” she said. “All I knew was that everything hurt. I never thought I’d be able to get up from bed. But after several days of prayer, and with encouragement from my children and the patience of the nurses, I took small steps.”

During her stay at the Henry Ford Allegiance Heart and Vascular Center, Linda felt “very well cared for,” she said. “The nurses and doctors were always checking on me and giving me my medicine, and they were willing to answer our questions.”

Since her hospitalization, Linda has given up smoking, and she walks regularly with her daughter. “I fell into a depression right after my surgery, but joining Henry Ford llegiance Cardiac Rehabilitation in February helped,” she said.  “By the time I graduated from the program in May, I was feeling much stronger.”

Linda moved from Jackson back to Albion, to be closer to her family and friends. “That is when I decided to turn my life over to God,” she said. She soon joined and became active with a local church.

The personal support Linda received was very important to her. “My church and my children were always here to give me the extra push when I felt like giving up,” she said. “Sometimes the words you need to hear are not what you want to hear. But they kept me going.” The women’s group from Linda’s church is also a great source of support for her. “We help each other through different challenges in our lives, and the talking helps. We work a lot on forgiveness,” she said.

Linda’s family and friends have noticed the change in her life and that she has more energy and self-confidence. “I can go anywhere now, and I don’t get so tired,” Linda said. “The change is amazing.”

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.