Rosalie Jacobs

Heart Attack Survivor

Rosalie Jacobs

Rosalie Jacobs is alive today primarily because of her ability to listen.

She was home alone when suddenly she felt a strong sense of pressure in her abdominal area and a wave of nausea. She went to her neighbor to ask for some Pepto Bismol to relieve the pressure and pain.

When that didn't work, she did what many people choose not to: She asked her friend to drive her to the emergency room at The Medical Center of Aurora.

A nurse hooked her up to an EKG machine and told her all looked normal. While preparing to disconnect Rosalie, things changed. Suddenly, Rosalie was in complete cardiac arrest.

A full cardiovascular team was immediately in the room and quickly saved her life by stopping what could have been a fatal attack. Rosalie was only in her 50s when this occurred.

Her willingness to listen to her body, acknowledge something was wrong and then act immediately upon it saved her life. Unlike many people, she didn't take a chance that she'd feel normal in a few minutes. Rosalie's good judgment resulted in her having a heart attack at the hospital and thus getting immediate care. In cardiovascular health, time is life. The longer it takes to get care, the greater the chances of death.

That was Rosalie's first heart attack. A few years later, her cat woke her up when she wasn't breathing correctly, and upon examination, her cardiologist determined atrial fibrilliation had occurred. Months later, while under care of her cardiologist, she was chasing her cat in her backyard when she was suddenly overwhelmed with breathlessness, fatigue and again, nausea.

At this time, her team of cardiologists discovered that her mitral valve was not working and needed to be replaced, and that she needed bypass surgery. Rosalie was in the hospital for an entire month recovering from valve replacement. It was during this time that she learned even more the critical importance of listening to your body. Rehab specialists helped Rosalie understand what her body is trying to tell her and how to respond. She now can monitor her own blood pressure and other significant indicators, and she knows when to call for help.

With the support of wonderful friends, family and the nursing and physician team at The Medical Center of Aurora, Rosalie is back to living a full, independent life at age 71.

"Denial is your enemy. Listen and be patient. If you have family history of heart disease, you must listen and pay attention. Try to learn as much as you can so you can get the treatment right away. You can't assume anything," she advises.

And finally, "Have a good time with the time you have."

Patient written permission obtained prior to the posting of this story.