Dan Griffey – Back to life, renewed perspective // I am thankful
It was a cold, icy January morning. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with what seemed like indigestion. I remember laying there waiting for it to pass. When it didn’t get better after 15 minutes, I decided to get up. I realized something was wrong when I couldn’t stand and began to fall, catching myself with the dresser. I thought if I walked around the discomfort would go away, but it got worse. It soon intensified – my chest started hurting and my left arm became extremely heavy. At that moment I knew I was having a heart attack.
Dan Griffey had a blood pressure cuff in his home and decided to check his blood pressure, which was 200/127. “I had opposing thoughts,” Dan said. “I knew I was having a heart attack, but I thought ‘I can’t be having a heart attack!’” He called for his wife, Teresa, and they headed to the Emergency Department at Reid Hospital.
Fortunately, Dan never lost consciousness. Within what seemed like only 10 minutes after they arrived at Reid, he was in surgery. One of his arteries was 100% blocked, but was corrected with a stent placement. “That morning went by so quickly – it was a blur,” Teresa said.
Dan spent three days in the hospital recovering under the care of Cardiologist Dr. John McGinty. “The best part about my stay was the interaction with the people that cared for me,” Dan said. “There are people who perform their jobs, and there are people who perform their jobs, because that’s what they truly want to do. For my caregivers, the job was just an extension of who they truly were.”
Dan remained perplexed. A healthy lifestyle was important to Dan. He worked hard on his farm, ate healthy food and maintained a healthy weight. Yet, he had a heart attack.
“I pointedly asked Dr. McGinty to tell me what I did, so I wouldn’t do it again,” Dan said. “He said, ‘Nothing – it just happened.’” With time, Dan realized if he hadn’t taken care of his health and done all the right things, he could have ended up in a much worse situation.
Dan did have a family history of heart issues. His father had three stents placed at a larger hospital in Indianapolis 15 years ago, and 2 years ago he received a pacemaker at Reid. “Years ago, we had a negative opinion of Reid heart care – this event changed my perspective,” said Dan. “I don’t believe I would have gotten any better care with any better outcome than what I received at Reid.”
Just a week after being discharged from the hospital, Dan began cardiac rehabilitation. The 12-week program allows patients to slowly build their physical capacity while under the close watch of trained cardiology staff.
“God has a plan for all of us,” Dan said. “Life is such a precious gift. We shouldn’t measure it by the negative events in our lives, but rather the good that develops from those events.”