For more than three decades Glenda Findley has been wondering. “You always think, is this it?” Glenda says of her husband’s heart disease. Although there would not be days she could forget regardless of when they occurred, Glenda’s husband, E.G., has suffered heart attacks on their wedding anniversary, his birthday and again right before Christmas day. He had his first heart attack at the age of 38. His co-workers convinced him to go to the ER in Cleveland, because he wasn’t feeling right. After a stress test, he was transferred to Hillcrest Medical Center.
“He spent about two weeks in the hospital,” Glenda recalls. “They were re-doing the 6th floor of the hospital, so we were down in the basement in a corner room below 12th and Utica.”
It was then both Glenda and E.G. met Dr. Robert Lynch, who would be there for E.G.’s second heart attack a few years after the first and again a few years later for his third. “They both grew old together,” Glenda says of the relationship her husband developed with Dr. Lynch.
Three by-pass surgeries, and more recent stent procedures, a pacemaker, and defibrillator, Glenda has been by her 74 year old husband’s side and bedside, riding the wave of heart attack, surgery and recovery. “Those are trying times,” she adds. “Your heart in is your throat. You’re wondering if he’s going to be alright.”
Glenda and E.G. have been married 53 years. When E.G. decided he didn’t want his heart disease to debilitate their lives, Glenda agreed and accommodated, with a few conditions. “We changed our diet drastically,” she shares. “I haven’t bought regular ice cream since his first heart attack.”
Glenda also wanted her husband to have the freedom to enjoy doing what he loved, caring for their cattle on their land. As a compromise, she bought one of the first cell phones, a bag phone, and made sure he took it with him, just in case she needed to come get him and take him to the hospital again.
Glenda says E.G. doesn’t have the typical heart attack symptoms, no chest pain or numbness down his left arm. She recalls one heart attack that occurred while they were dining at a Chinese restaurant. “He wasn’t feeling well, but waited until I was done eating and said, ‘I think we ought to go,’” says Glenda.
Today with advanced medication therapy, regular visits with his cardiologist, Dr. Anthony Haney, and cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. David Sandler, at Oklahoma Heart Institute, E.G. is staying active. He works part-time, serves on a board and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Both Glenda and E.G. are regular attendees at Silver Elite events, enjoying the food and free health seminars offered monthly.
Looking back on the last 36 years since E.G.’s first heart attack, Glenda says she leans on her faith and what they have been through together in life for strength. In 1984, as they took shelter in a closet, a tornado destroyed their Cleveland home. Neither heart disease nor natural disaster has shaken the foundation of this couple; parents to three, grandparents to eleven and great-grandparents to five.