Bobby Morris (left) is pictured with interventional cardiologist, Steven J. Filby, M.D., (right) at Reid Heart Center in Pinehurst.
On March 12, 2015, Bobby Morris, a 62-year-old Montgomery County resident, began to experience unusual pain while he was at home.
Morris had just returned home from Atlanta, where he had gone to watch his daughter play in a college softball tournament.
He mentioned to his wife that he didn’t feel well, and she immediately called for an ambulance. FirstHealth Emergency Medical Services transported a very confused Morris to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.
“All I can remember is getting in the ambulance and riding there – I cannot remember anything after I got to the emergency department,” he says.
Once in the emergency department, Morris was sent straight to the Cath Lab in Reid Heart Center.
Not only was Morris experiencing a heart attack, but tests showed that he had a 90 percent blockage and was in dire need of a stent.
"And then things turned for the worse," he says.
While in the middle of the stent procedure, he threw a clot that went to the 'widow maker,' and went into cardiac arrest.
The left anterior descending artery, also known as the 'widow maker,' is an artery of the heart. The 'widow maker' cuts off the flow of blood to the entire left side of the heart. If the blockage is not removed quickly enough, it can result in sudden death.
Morris was revived, but the damage to his organs that had occurred during the episode was life threatening.
When the procedure was finished, the doctors made the decision to put Morris in an induced coma.
“They basically just wanted me to rest,” he says.
Morris rested and recovered in the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) for the next week.
“I remember waking up in the step down unit at Reid and could only move my arms and thought I was paralyzed,” he says. “I was thinking ‘what had happened?’ I had no idea I had been in a coma for a week.”
Steven J. Filby, M.D., interventional cardiologist, who Morris describes as simply wonderful, was the one who, as soon as Morris woke up, explained everything he had been through.
Morris spent a total of two weeks in Reid Heart – one in CCU and the other in recovery. He was then transferred to Moore Regional’s Inpatient Rehab unit where he stayed for a total of three weeks to fully recover.
“They were so wonderful there,” he says. “They were so patient with me – during that time I was in dialysis, and they just handled everything so well.”
After five weeks at Moore Regional, Morris was sent home.
“I had done so well in my physical therapy program I was able to walk up steps and mobile enough to go home,” he explains.
Once back home in Troy, Morris participated in nearly three weeks of at home therapy with FirstHealth Home Care.
“I have no words to explain how wonderful everyone was,” he says. “Again, these folks were so patient with me. They didn’t give up on me, just did their job and that was what I needed.”
To this day, Morris still continues Outpatient Physical Therapy at FirstHealth.
He also successfully completed Cardiac Rehab in Pinehurst, where for 12 weeks he underwent an extensive rehab program. After completing the rehab program, Morris was referred to FirstHealth Fitness in Troy, where he signed up to become a member.
“I feel great now, from the day I was admitted to now, I have lost more than 50 pounds. I follow the very strict Cardiac Rehab diet. My dietitian sat with me and my wife to help develop a plan. Together we went through a list of foods that would better help me.”
Morris also credits his weight-loss and current health status to exercising at the fitness center.
His entire experience at FirstHealth - from EMS to the Fitness center - was one that forever changed his life.
“I get very emotional when I talk about FirstHealth,” he says.
At his first visit with Dr. Filby since his hospitalization, Dr. Filby looked at Morris and said “your chance of survival was zero. I am your cardiologist, and I did all I could do to save your life, but I am not the reason you are here. I have been waiting for this day for you to walk through the doors and see me – alive and healthy again.”
“That was a changing point in my life,” Morris says. “I thank God for keeping me here on Earth. I have a new perspective on life – things that used to bother me, don’t anymore. I still have three kids in college and a wife that I have been married to for 31 years, and I want to be around for them. I have learned to appreciate life more, and while I worry about my health, I just want to live every day to its fullest and appreciate what God has given me."
Morris now serves on the FirstHealth Patient Family Advisory Council and says his decision to join was an easy one.
“I felt like serving on the council was a way I could give back to FirstHealth for everything they gave back to me.”
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