Glen’s heart failure story: ‘Charlie’s got his angels and so do I’
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
One minute, Glen Fox was lying on the couch watching television; the next, he was frantically praying for God to spare his life.
That’s how Glen recounts his first experience with a heart attack. He was 32 years old.
Glen has congestive heart failure. That means his heart is weakened and can’t keep up with his body’s demand for oxygen. Nearly 6 million Americans live with heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Comprehensive Heart Failure Clinic at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay serves Glen and others like him, monitoring his condition and helping improve his quality of life.
When Glen had his first heart attack 19 years ago, he had no health insurance, no annual physical examinations with a healthcare provider, and no idea his health was in jeopardy.
“I thought I had indigestion,” he says of his heart attack. “I went and (drank) some ginger ale and that didn’t seem to do it. I thought I was gonna burp but I didn’t. The pain just kept getting more and my chest kept getting tighter and tighter.
“My family called the ambulance for me and the last thing I remember hearing … they’re hollering, ‘Clear!’
“I cried, and I prayed: God, don’t take me yet. And He heard my prayer.”
Glen survived the heart attack but didn’t make any lifestyle changes.
Eight years later, he felt that familiar chest pain. He was rushed to Aurora BayCare Medical Center, where he received a diagnosis – congestive heart failure.
"My heart, you know, it was getting weak," Glen says.
Glen had a defibrillator implanted, but his heart still wasn’t functioning properly,
“Then I prayed. God heard my prayer. He sent me an angel,” Glen says. “Her name is Annie.”
That angel, Annie Campbell, is a registered nurse and part of the team at Aurora BayCare’s Comprehensive Heart Failure Clinic. The clinic has a nurse practitioner, cardiologist and registered nurse who work collaboratively to provide continuing care for heart failure patients.
“We provide lots of education to patients and families so that they understand the disease and the treatments,” Campbell says. “The more they understand their disease and why they are taking medications and what the medications do for them, the more apt they are to be compliant with them.”
Glen needed that guidance – and a CardioMEMS implant. The device monitors his heart and sends wireless data to the clinic. Based on the data, the clinic can recommend changes to Glen’s care.
Glen now works to control his diabetes and high blood pressure, lose weight and take his medications as prescribed.
“Charlie’s got his angels and so do I,” he says of the heart failure clinic’s staff and cardiologist. “Annie is like my little guardian angel. She cares. … I appreciate that because I never had that. I never had (anyone) care about my life more than I should about my own. … I felt that in my wife and I felt that in Annie.”
Glen says he has a rosier outlook on life, despite his heart issues. He’s also made several lifestyle changes, especially with his diet, which used to be heavy on fried foods.
“It’s changed for the better,” he says. “Eating vegetables more … A lot of the food we eat now is baked, we eat a lot of fish. She’s got me eating more fish than I ever ate in my life. I’m eating cod, tilapia, flounder … healthier.
“God sent my angel to help me live.”
Request an appointment online or call 866-938-0035 for an appointment with the Comprehensive Heart Failure Clinic at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.