William Bond: Cardiac Catheterization & Open-Heart Surgery

"The surgeons answered all our questions, and that made a big difference. I was not nervous when it was time to go to surgery."

William Bond loves to travel, especially to Arizona, where several of his family members live. But the Arizona trip he’d planned for October was unexpectedly cancelled, due to chest pain that led him to the Henry Ford Allegiance Heart and Vascular Center for open-heart surgery.

“Last September 11, my 53rd birthday, my girlfriend and I went out to breakfast and an early movie,“ William recalled. “When we got to the movie theater, I was feeling short of breath and had tightness in my chest. I blamed it on the heavy breakfast I had just eaten and hoped it would go away when I sat down. But it didn’t get better, so I told my girlfriend I wanted to go home to take some aspirin and lie down. She insisted we go to the hospital instead.”

After preliminary tests, William was admitted to Henry Ford Allegiance Health for further observation. “I tried to talk my way out of there the whole time, because the first tests were all negative and I was feeling better,” William said. “But I was scheduled for one more test – a cardiac catheterization to measure the blood flow and pressure in my arteries.”

That test revealed that William had three significantly blocked arteries and required open-heart surgery. “I wasn’t expecting that, and I was scared at first,” William said. But the doctors took the time to explain everything to me, and that made me feel better. They also gave my girlfriend a notebook that told us exactly what would happen and what to expect. The surgeons answered all our questions, and that made a big difference, too. I was not nervous when it was time to go to surgery.”

William appreciated being able to stay in one large, private room for his entire stay at the Heart and Vascular Center — which he found “very comfortable and accommodating.” He also appreciated the staff who cared for him. “They made sure I knew what to expect every day, and they had me up and walking the day after surgery,” he said. “Someone was always there for me.”

His transition back home also went smoothly, William said. “Before I left the hospital, the nurses arranged to have physical therapists and nurses come to my home. They took care of everything so I could focus on getting better.”

Since his surgery, William has adopted healthier eating habits. He has lost 30 pounds and plans to continue on that path. “I am feeling better than I have in a long time,” he said. “I have noticed that my strength is coming back and I can do more without getting short of breath.” He begins the Henry Ford Allegiance Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program next week.

Like many open-heart surgery patients, William finds he has become more self-aware. “An experience like this really makes me appreciate things I once took for granted—like waking up every day and getting up on my own power,” he said. I am thankful for my health and the things in life that are really important.”

William is especially looking forward to traveling more and making his trip to Arizona. “Every day I am alive is a good day,” he said.

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.