Ron Tagliabue (NEW)

One of the things I hate to do is to miss a column. After 10 years, I have only missed about five times. Last week was one of those times.

On Saturday, June 6, I found myself in the emergency room at Grand Strand Medical Center. I am going to tell you about my experience in the hopes of helping someone in the future.

I woke up Saturday morning and walked from my bedroom to the kitchen table. I felt a tingling in my legs, and when I sat down, I realized I was having a tough time catching my breath.

It calmed down and I walked into the office to start my column, and the same thing happened. After catching my breath, I decided to sit on the couch.

That’s when I said to Susan, “I think I need to go to the emergency room.”

I called my cardiologist's office and spoke to the on-call doctor. Due to long lines at the emergency room, she suggested I go to an urgent care facility and have an EKG done.

I went to Beach Urgent Care and they performed the EKG.

The doctor came in, and I can still see the look on her face when she said, “You should get to the emergency room, you are on the verge of a heart attack.”

My wife and I headed for the Grand Strand emergency room.

I walked in with the EKG record in hand, and they immediately took me inside. Within minutes, they did another EKG, put a port in my arm, and did a chest x-ray.

Cut to the chase, it was decided I needed a pacemaker. I had to wait till Monday because it was a holiday weekend.

I can honestly say the care I was given by the doctors and nurses was top notch. They made the whole experience as good as could be expected. The actual placing of the pacemaker is a 20 to 30-minute operation with little to no pain afterwards. All my vitals are looking good.

While I am on the subject of health care, I have a pet peeve I want to discuss.

Many times on social media, you will see new residents ask for recommendations for different types of doctors. Many people give their personal preference but some say, go to Charleston, Columbia or Wilmington because they don’t like the doctors here.

My wife and I have found just the opposite.

I’ll start with my wife, Susan. She was told in New Jersey she would be on insulin the rest of her life. She went to an endocrinologist here, and he said, “I will have you off insulin in a year.”

He was correct, and to this day, her sugar numbers are good.

She also had severe pain in her thumb joints and was told all she could do for the arthritis was to take anti-inflammatory medication to relieve the pain. A hand specialist in Myrtle Beach operated, and today she is pain free.

She has also had surgery to remove lumps in her chest, and ankle surgery. All successful. I started with carotid artery surgery 13 years ago, and to this day the artery is still in the 0 to 39 percent range.

That was followed by a quadruple bypass and a new aortic valve five years ago.

Four years ago, I had 18 inches of colon removed due to a cancerous polyp.

Now I have a pacemaker.

I tell you these things only for one reason: we have excellent doctors in Horry County.

I think the most important thing in choosing a doctor is trust. You have to feel confident with him or her.

I purposely didn’t mention the names of the doctors and surgeons because the ones I used are not the only good ones in the area. If you want their names, email me and I will tell you who I used.

If your doctor recommends going somewhere else for treatment, he must have a good reason to tell you that.

One bit of advice to the men: Stop being a baby and go to the doctor if you have the slightest inkling there may be something wrong.

The first 60 years of my life, I only went if I had a cold. I may have been able to prevent my heart problems with stints many years ago. There are so many non-invasive tests for a myriad of illnesses.

Stay healthy.

I thank the doctors, nurses, my wife, and God for my recovery.

Next week, back to The Farm news, I promise. I am thankful to be here writing another column.

I am always looking for items of interest. Email to ronaldtagliabue@gmail.com

Till next time.

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