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Victor's Heart Surgery Story

Jun 6, 2019

Victor Powers, patient, Hilton Head Hospital

“As crazy as it sounds, you don’t want to leave because they’re so nice to you. They make a huge difference. They’re dedicated to what they do.”

“You don’t know how much you appreciate having a hospital until you end up needing to use one.”

Victor Powers would have preferred to continue his hectic lifestyle without enduring a health issue. Instead, he was confronted with his own mortality in an unexpected way.

“Early in the spring I started feeling exhausted all the time,” he says. “I had one occasion when I had a scary episode. I was walking up a flight of stairs and felt severe chest pain. I was a typical guy and didn’t want to do anything about it right away. My wife signed me up for a stress test and, unbeknownst to me, probably saved my life.”

After failing the stress test (“miserably,” he adds), Victor was admitted to Hilton Head Hospital. Later that afternoon, doctors determined that his heart had two 99-percent blockages and one 80-percent blockage. He needed surgery immediately.

After six and a half hours on the operating table, Powers woke up the next morning with a newfound dedication to healthy living.

“I was just determined I was not going to waste the opportunity that I had,” he says. “The first day I was at home, I walked up and down the driveway, about 350 feet, and a couple weeks into it I was up to four miles.”

While he built up strength at home, Powers received additional support from members of the cardiac rehab department of Hilton Head Hospital. By committing to a fitness plan, Power has lost 24 pounds since his surgery.

“There are slideshows to tell you things you should eat, drugs you’re taking and how they interact with one another,” he explains. “They set a standard for you. Every time you do the workouts, you grade them on a scale to determine your progress. I had so much energy because I was getting all this oxygen I hadn’t gotten in so long.

Powers has another important reason to express his appreciation for Hilton Head Hospital: Five of his grandchildren have been born there.

“The staff understands the people and they understand what the island is about,” he says. “As crazy as it sounds, you don’t want to leave because they’re so nice to you. They make a huge difference. They’re dedicated to what they do.”