January 8 started out a typical Friday for 57-year-old Reid Bishop – until it took an unexpected turn in the afternoon.
A systems engineer and long-time Colorado Springs resident originally from Conifer, Colo., Reid had been out with his teenage son snow blowing driveways for elderly neighbors, many of whom are retired military.
“I went back inside back to my home office to settle up some things at end of the day, when my upper arms started to feel restless,” he said “They didn’t hurt, I just couldn’t get them comfortable. I thought they must have been tired from carrying the snow blower around.”
Reid also noticed he couldn’t help but swallow more than usual and his throat felt constricted. “I thought it must be heartburn and took a few Tums,” he said. When nothing changed and he started to feel nauseas, Reid realized something was seriously wrong. His wife Nina Bishop called 9-1-1 and an ambulance was at the house in a matter of minutes. “At this point, I was starting to feel pretty lethargic, though I still didn’t have any chest pain,” Reid said. “When they told me I was having a heart attack, I couldn’t believe it.”
The Paramedic asked Reid which hospital he’d like to be taken to, but he didn’t need to think too long. “I told them: ‘Definitely Penrose,’” Reid said. “Nina had had a few minor operations there, and we’d always been pleased with our experiences, plus I’d heard they had a great cardiac center. Our driver told us he thought they had one of the best heart units in the whole state.” Penrose-St. Francis is part of the Centura Health Heart and Vascular Network, the region’s leading provider of cardiovascular care.
Within 30 minutes after arriving at Penrose Hospital, Reid was in the Intensive Care Unit with a stent inserted in his right coronary artery, saving his life and avoiding extensive damage. He stayed in the hospital over the weekend while physicians and staff monitored his atrial fibrillation and ensured he was stable enough to release.
The team at Penrose also encouraged Reid to change his lifestyle as part of his recovery process. He has since started walking two miles daily and has lost 20 pounds. “The staff gave me real hope and were so understanding, I didn’t feel at all judged for the lifestyle I had led. None of the doctors were condescending at all,” he said. “I’ve set health and weight goals to get back to a size I haven’t seen in years. I realize it will take a while, but I can do it. I want to be more active and able to keep up with my teenage kids.”