What started as back pain for Jim Kluiter of Allison quickly became very serious. “It started as low back pain, and then I could feel the pain come around my ribcage. I thought it was a side effect of one of the medications I’m on,” said Jim. While Jim’s wife, Barb looked online for the drugs side effects, Jim’s pain moved into his chest. “As soon as I told Barb that she grabbed her coat, purse and car keys and drove me to Waverly Health Center’s emergency department.”
Barb dropped Jim off right at the ED entrance and parked the car. By the time Barb got inside, Jim was having a heart attack. Moments later, a code blue was called. Barb knew what that meant; she had lost her father years prior due to cardiac arrest. “A nurse took me into a different room. I called our sons, and then started praying. We were all just so shocked,” said Barb. Barb was grieving the loss of her mother, which had only happened that morning.
The ED team worked to resuscitate Jim for over 20 minutes before his heart started beating again at a normal rhythm. Barb went in to see Jim when their two sons, Brandon and Daniel, arrived. “I only remember one thing from being in the ED that day. I remember hearing my son say ‘C’mon Dad, you can beat this. We’ve got to put siding on the house this summer and I want you to drive the corvette again.’”
Jim was transferred to UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital where two stents were put in, and later a pacemaker. A stent is a tiny metal tube that helps prop open an artery (blood vessel). Most stents are coated with a medicine that helps keep the artery from getting narrow or blocked again. It holds the artery open and allows blood to flow more freely. A pacemaker is a device that sits under the skin near a person’s heart. A pacemaker can treat an abnormal heart rate.
Jim was eager to start cardiac rehab at WHC, because he knew it would make him feel better quicker – Jim had gone through cardiac rehab after his first heart attack in 2014. Jim’s happy with the progress he’s making saying, “I’m just about back to where I was before my heart attack.”
“If it wasn’t for my wife, Doc Shover and the grace of the Lord, I wouldn’t be here. I hope I get the chance to hug everyone who helped me that day,” finished Jim.
Pictured: Jim and Barb at the Plain Jane Opry in Missouri, July 2017