“Without Upland Hills Health, odds are I wouldn’t be here…”
The day started out like most do when yard work is the task at hand. Dianne began pulling weeds while Mike mowed the lawn. It was hot that day, and Dianne began not feeling well. She went inside to cool down, assuming she just needed to rest and get out of the heat. After some time, her husband Mike came to check on her. As soon as he saw her, he knew something was very wrong. He knew she needed medical attention right away.
With the intention of heading to Madison for care, they began driving to urgent care. Before they made it to the highway, Dianne passed out in the passenger seat of Mike’s Jeep and slumped forward. Mike knew that it was important for Dianne to continue to breathe, so he lifted her chin to open her airway. When he heard her gurgle, he knew she was getting some air, at the very least. His main priority was to get her to an ER as quickly as possible. He decided to turn toward the closest emergency facility, Upland Hills Health
When he arrived at Upland Hills Health, he immediately pulled into the ambulance garage, where he was met by an ER Nurse. In an act of impressive strength, she lifted Dianne from the Jeep, placed her on a gurney and immediately began CPR. Dianne’s heart had to be shocked twice before she was stable
enough to be Med-Flighted to UW Hospital. The main artery of Dianne’s heart was 100% blocked. She had suffered what is known as a widow maker heart attack.
For the first four days following her heart attack, Dianne lay in a medically-induced coma. She had swelling of her brain which doctors feared might cause permanent damage. Her care providers weren’t sure if she would fully recover. They speculated she may not remember Mike or her children. They weren’t sure if she
would ever be able to work again. They even prepared her family for the possibility that when she awoke, she might need to live in a nursing home.
After several failed attempts to bring Dianne out of the coma, she finally awoke. She lay in her hospital bed holding her nurse’s hand on one side and her husband’s on the other. It was the moment of truth. The
moment they would know if she recognized her husband. When her nurse asked her to squeeze Mike’s hand, she did. This was a huge relief to her family, and a good sign that she was on the mend.
Although Dianne doesn’t remember the weeks leading up to or following her heart attack, she knows she owes her life to her husband and the emergency staff at Upland Hills Health. “Even though I don’t really remember that day and what happened, it lives with me. I still feel it. If it weren’t for my husband doing what he did and the staff in the ER doing what they did, I wouldn’t be here. I’m very grateful to them.”
While the worst is behind her, Dianne continues to need rehabilitation for her heart. Just over a month after her heart attack, she began strengthening her heart by working with the Cardiac Rehab team at Upland Hills Health.
“It’s pretty amazing listening to some of the people here, who have been coming for 17, 18, 20 years…and still exercising and still going. That’s where I’m hoping I’m at 20 years from now.”
The quick thinking of her husband and the efforts of the nurses and doctors at Upland Hills Health are the reasons that Dianne is alive today.
“I’m very happy this hospital is here and is this close to me. Even if we would have called an ambulance to get me to Madison, without Upland Hills Health, odds are I wouldn’t be here. I’ve always recognized the importance of first responders and emergency rooms but until you go through it, you don’t know it. I have a true appreciation for them. They saved my life. They’re angels on earth.”
Dianne’s story is one that has a happy ending. Even though most people don’t survive a heart attack like Dianne’s, she never stopped fighting and she continues to take steps to ensure her heart remains strong.
This year, Dianne celebrated her 55th birthday.