Heart Health

Everything but the Chocolate Cake

The first time around

It was out during a walk in with his wife in 2015 that Gary Williams experienced his first chest pains. He ignored them for a couple of days, but when the nagging ache wouldn’t go away, he found himself in the back of an ambulance. It was a heart attack.

“It came out of nowhere,” said Gary. “I had a stent put in and I thought I was doing fine. It was kind of a non-event, really.”

Flash forward two years, and as Gary recovered from vertebrae fusion surgery, out during another walk, those familiar pains reared their ugly head again.

Back in the hospital

A stress test revealed the need for yet another surgery. This time, Gary would need a triple bypass from Methodist cardiologist Dr. John Batter due to artery blockages in his heart. He was admitted to Methodist Hospital.

“I am admittedly not a good patient,” said Gary. “I hated every minute of it, and appreciated it just as much.”

The reluctant patient

Being in the hospital and recovering from a major operation is rarely a pleasant ordeal, but Gary says the actions of the staff at Methodist made his surgery and recovery bearable. 

“There’s no dignified way to go through that process,” said Gary. “You have tubes in you and you feel so uncomfortable. It’s just not a pleasant experience. When you’re sick like that, the big things are important, but it’s the little things to make you comfortable that make the experience tolerable. You expect to have the major things taken care of, but the staff at Methodist took care of the little stuff, too.”

Gary noted that every time he pushed the call button, nurses answered within seconds. He says he was “blown away” by the quality care he received by everyone at Methodist, so much so he wrote a letter thanking the entire staff for a job well done.

“When I needed anything it was provided,” wrote Gary, “except for that piece of chocolate layer cake I requested...”

Amazing nurses 

Gary says the nurses he encountered were especially gracious and supportive both before his procedure and during his surgical recovery. 

“I’d be remiss not to mention those who attended to me during the surgical prep process,” wrote Gary. “They were also very kind and professional. Aside from the fact that I was there for major surgery, it was as good an experience as I could want.”

He fondly remembers two nurses – Alicia and Jocelyn – who took care of his every need.

“To me, they represent their colleagues, profession and employer in the finest way possible. They were just all very kind and very sensitive. I was blown away by the quality of care I received from everyone there.”

Gary Williams
Methodist Hospital patient

Care from everywhere

And Gary’s compliments weren’t just about the nurses.

“There is nothing dignifying or pleasant about being in the hospital for the kind of surgery I went through,” wrote Gary, “but EVERY SINGLE nurse or staff member I encountered seemed to know that and they worked to make it all as palatable as it could be for me. Their professionalism was amazing, but even more than that was their collective compassion, understanding and empathy regarding what I was experiencing."

Gary’s only complaint about his Methodist caregivers was their denial of his favorite treats.

“They wouldn’t give me donuts for breakfast after my surgery,” joked Gary. “Or salt. Now that I think about it, anything that tasted good was pretty much out of the question. Oh well.”

Toast to the future

Gary was grateful for his quick recovery at Methodist and the outstanding caregivers who helped send him home. That’s why today, he’s focused on his ongoing good health.  

“I'll raise a toast with a wish that I never have to see any of those people again or be admitted to a hospital for any reason,” wrote Gary. “But if I do, it will be to Methodist.”