Cal and Teri Sundine // Wrong time – right place

SundineAfter 23 years of marriage, Cal and Teri Sundine were consumed with life. Teri was a neuro critical care nurse in Indianapolis. Cal worked at Hills Pet Foods. They were anticipating the arrival of grandchild number six, and had many reasons to enjoy life.

However, Cal recently lost his father from a long battle with heart disease. He knew heart disease ran in his family, and Cal didn’t take that lightly. A couple of years ago, he had a heart scan. “It gave me peace of mind knowing everything looked good.” But he also knew this was no guarantee of the future.

One August morning things changed. Cal woke up at 5:30 a.m. and felt fine. As he drifted back to sleep he began to feel chest pain. “Teri asked if I was feeling alright,” Cal said. “I thought I was having a heart attack.”

At that moment, Teri began to panic. “Then I was a wife – not a just a nurse.” Her perspective was completely different on this side of the situation.

They hurried to Reid’s emergency department. When they arrived, Cal felt light headed. He thought, “Is this really happening?”

The doctors began working on Cal like a fine dance, Teri said. In less than 45 minutes, Cal was having a heart catheterization by Dr. Jithendra Choudary.

“Reality hadn’t set in yet,” Cal said. “I was 48 years old and there I was.” Cal knew, though, everything was going to be alright, and he was in good hands. “Everyone from processing to the catheterization was phenomenal.”

Cal’s heart attack was caused by a blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. Often called the “widow maker”, this type of blockage is often fatal. Fortunately, Cal made it to the hospital in time, and Dr. Choudary was able to open the blockage by placing a stent.

As a nurse, Teri had high expectations as did Cal after walking through health issues with his father. “I can’t say enough about Reid and the staff,” Cal said. After just two hours in his room, housekeeping came in to mop the floor. “That impressed me,” Teri said.

A day and a half later, Cal was home and soon began Reid cardiac rehabilitation. He enjoyed hearing everyone else’s story while there. “It is nice to be able to talk to people in the same situation,” he said.

To celebrate Cal’s recovery and the life he and Teri have together, they jumped on a plane and headed to Scotland for the trip of a lifetime. The two have a new appreciation for life, and as a result have changed their lifestyles. They walk on the treadmill regularly and began a vegan diet. Since August, Cal has lost over 40 pounds and is still losing, and Teri lost 15 pounds.

As they look back, they are still thankful for the care they received.

“My heart attack was at the wrong time, right place,” Cal said. “I truly owe Reid for my life.”