A Grateful Heart

March 21, 2012 No Comments   

During a frightening medical crisis in 2006, I lost my job and had to go on unemployment. After fighting my way back to health, I needed to find work. Saint Joseph Health System not only helped heal my heart, but the organization offered me a job. More than five years later, I am still with Saint Joseph and my heart is mended.

On December 30, 2005, I went to the doctor because of abnormal weight gain. My blood pressure was in the stratosphere, so he immediately admitted me into the hospital. My wife, Mary, met me at home and drove me to Saint Joseph East. They had to literally pump the water out of me. I was in heart failure. I transferred to Saint Joseph Hospital on December 31, and began a very long hospital stay.

I had open heart surgery on January 5, 2006. I had six bypasses and a heart valve repair. The surgeon only gave me a 20 percent chance of survival. While in surgery, or maybe before, I had a series of small strokes. I was in a coma for a week after surgery. The surgeon said I was a “miracle patient.” I never felt the heart attack or maybe even multiple heart attacks which may have occurred over a period of time.

I spent time at both Saint Joseph East and Saint Joseph Hospital before transferring to a local rehab center on February 15. I needed to learn to walk again. The strokes did something to my legs. I came home in April 2006 without a wheelchair and just used a cane for a short time, but I progressed rapidly.

After the doctor released me, I went on unemployment and I eventually found a job at Saint Joseph Hospital in the nutritional services department. I now work in the medical records department. Finding employment at the hospital that helped save me was no coincidence. I feel I am in the place where I’m supposed to be and am grateful to be healthy and able to work with people who care so much about others.

Through everything that happened to me, Mary, was a wonderful godsend, sticking by me all the way. My parents and friends were so supportive. And now my co-workers have become my extended family.

I am very thankful for all my blessings.

Michael Christian
Medical Records Specialist
Health Information Management
Saint Joseph Hospital

Employee Stories, Saint Joseph Health System

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