Wanda remembers one of the first conversations she had with Delmer before they married 17 years ago. “He told me, ‘Now I have this heart problem and I want you to know that,’” she recalls. They were both in their 60s and in love. “It was love at first sight and it has been the happiest 17 years of my life!” Delmer knew his health would be something they both would need to navigate throughout their relationship, and Wanda knew she would be right by his side no matter what happened. When Delmer started having sudden pain in his chest February 23, 2016, they both knew what that meant – a trip to the Emergency Department. “It’s not his first rodeo, but this was the worst. We knew it was his heart. This was the worst pain he’s ever had – right in the middle of his chest.”
They arrived at Hillcrest Claremore where Delmer was assessed. Due to the nature of his condition, he was transferred to Oklahoma Heart Institute at Hillcrest South. Though Delmer has had 12 previous stents, the couple did not necessarily know what to expect when they arrived at Hillcrest South for the first time. “We have always gone to St. John Medical Center,” adds Wanda. “We were really impressed with Hillcrest South. It was just like family.”
At 81 years old, Delmer was not a candidate for open-heart surgery due to his previous heart procedures. He was scheduled for a heart catheterization to determine the cause of his immense pain. After receiving a new stent in the place of an older stent in his aorta, Delmer spent four days in the intensive care unit (ICU) recovering and gaining strength. Wanda made the trip from Claremore to Tulsa each day. “The nurses in the ICU were wonderful,” she adds. “You felt like you knew them. You are so scared and at the same time, they make you feel so comfortable.”
Wanda spent every moment she could at the hospital making sure Delmer was getting better. She not only had the opportunity to visit with his doctors and nurses, but also Senior Care Coordinator Marilyn Rumley, who visits with patients and their families to ensure all their needs are being met. “She was so great,” shares Wanda. “She is such a personable person. She told us about Silver Elite and we signed up! I’m anxious to learn more about heart problems – how to eat and take care of yourself. I look forward to those seminars.” Silver Elite is a free program for anyone 60 and older, offering fun and educational events throughout northeastern Oklahoma and Hillcrest HealthCare System in-hospital benefits for members.
Delmer is now at home and looking forward to strengthening his heart through cardiac rehab at Hillcrest Claremore. “He’s doing better every day,” adds Wanda. “We think it was God’s plan that he was sent to Hillcrest South. Oklahoma Heart Institute is top of the list. I told Delmer if I get sick, take me there. The meals were so good. The rooms were so clean. Hillcrest South was wonderful!”
To learn more about Silver Elite, please click here or call 918-579-6060 (option 2).