I couldn’t have asked for better medical care

Jeffrey Blosser, Patient

While enjoying a vacation in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in northern Michigan in 2014, Jeffrey “Jeff” Blosser noticed something different. On one of the hikes, he felt a shortness of breath, but quickly dismissed the concern. After all, he was on vacation.

As a farmer, Jeff tried to lead a healthy lifestyle. He ate a healthy diet and got plenty of exercise on the farm. However, months after his vacation, Jeff noticed the same shortness of breath along with occasional headaches.

In 2016, Jeff scheduled an appointment with his dentist to have a wisdom tooth extracted. While he was there, as part of the routine, the dentist checked his blood pressure. Jeff was surprised to learn that his blood pressure was significantly higher than normal. Before he left, the dentist made Jeff promise that he would see a doctor.

Jeff knew he had a family history of heart disease and decided he could no longer put off going to the doctor.

Photo of a teen girl and boy

Jeff said that seeking help wasn’t just for him, but also for his children (pictured).

“Family is important to me. I have two kids, a son and a daughter, and I want to be there for them as long as possible. I want to be able to see them grow and start families of their own. I wasn’t only doing this for myself, I was doing it for them.”

Jeff scheduled a stress test at a hospital in Indiana near his home in Union, Mich. At the stress test, the nursing staff knew right away that something was off. One of the tests was on a treadmill set to an incline. A healthy person should be able to withstand close to an hour on this test, but Jeff got winded and sick after just a few minutes.

Though there were hospitals closer to his home, Jeff chose to come to Bronson Methodist Hospital where he met Alphonse DeLucia III, MD, with Bronson Cardiothoracic, Vascular & Endovascular Specialists. He knew right away he was in good hands.

“Dr. DeLucia explains things so well. He doesn’t talk over you, nor is he conceited. He’s just a great, warm person. Both he and his staff put you first.”

Dr. DeLucia explained to Jeff that he needed surgery and couldn’t wait any longer. Jeff’s surgery was quickly scheduled for September.

From beginning to end, Jeff’s surgical experience went smoothly. First, he worked with Mary who helped run some preliminary tests.

“Mary was personable, polite and friendly. She really went the extra miles for you.”

The morning of surgery he met his anesthesiologist, Dr. Vincent Pagano, and his pre-operative nurse. Both warmly held his hands while they prepared him for surgery. The next thing Jeff remembered was waking up in the intensive care unit. With a calm, soft-spoken voice, his nurse, Barbara Fogarsi, explained where he was and that the surgery had gone well.

“She helped me wake up and made sure I was okay physically, mentally and emotionally. She also washed my face and fed me all the ice chips I wanted.”

Dana Menter, cardiac technician, and Derek Lohman, RN, continued Jeff’s care in the post-operative cardiac surgical unit.

“Dana genuinely cared that I stayed positive and that I didn’t let this get me down. She walked me through everything. I couldn’t have asked for better care. Derek was there at night. He made sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed. Hospitals can be tough to sleep in, but Derek made sure I slept as well as I could.”

During his time in the hospital, Jeff made sure to do his exercises and walk at least three times per day, though usually it was five or six times. Four days after surgery, he was released to go home.

Less than a month after surgery, Jeff’s pulse shot up and medicine wasn’t helping it go back down to normal. He had to go to the emergency department (ED). Again, he chose to come to Bronson. Dr. DeLucia was expecting his arrival and had three nurses waiting when he walked through the doors of the ED. They gave him medicine to thin his blood and introduced him to Dr. Michael A. Pack, a cardiologist with Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare.

“Dr. Pack is great and has so much integrity. You can tell by talking to him.”

After a discussion on the case, Drs. Pack and DeLucia concluded that Jeff had atrial fibrillation (afib) and decided together on a treatment plan that would work best. Dr. DeLucia explained to Jeff he would need a procedure that would shock his heart and restore it back to its normal rhythm.

Jeff stayed overnight in the hospital prior to the treatment and again, was cared for by Derek. Derek made sure Jeff had everything he needed and explained the pros and cons of his surgery and recovery.

“Derek remembered me from the last surgery. You know when you just click with someone and you get along? That’s what it was like.”

The next morning, Jeff was prepped for the treatment. This helped his heart rate and returned his pulse to normal.  Jeff again woke to a kind nurse holding his hand.

Today, Jeff is continuing to recover from his surgeries. Though he’s not back to 100 percent quite yet, he is confident he will get there. He feels much better than he did prior to surgery and is thankful for Dr. DeLucia, Dr. Pack and the rest of the Bronson team.

“I am very thankful I came to Bronson, even though there are other hospitals that are closer to me. Dr. DeLucia is incredible. I’ve never met a doctor like that and could not ask for anything better. Throughout my experience, everyone had a great attitude. Everything was positive. Plus, the food was good!”

Photo of a farm from 1915

This photo was taken in 1915 of the farm where Jeff grew up. Today, he has his own farm that helps him lead a healthy lifestyle.

Jeff is looking forward to getting back to working on the farm moving hay, attending livestock shows and everything else he enjoys. He can’t wait to spend more time with family and friends and do normal activities like riding his bike. He feels better each week. On days when he’s not doing rehabilitation, he’s going for walks and doing other approved exercises.

Jeff’s advice for anyone in similar situations?

“Definitely don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Get tested, and put faith in what they say. Many think ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Especially if you have a family history of a chronic illness, go get it checked even if you’re not noticing symptoms. Because if you put it off, you might as well plan for the worst. ”

What’s Jeff say about his overall experience?

“I couldn’t have asked for better medical care. Combined with prayer and God’s strength, I feel better each day. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated. That’s what they do at Bronson. I could tell that everywhere I went. Currently, I’m looking at volunteer opportunities through Bronson. I want to give back. Human compassion: that’s the bottom line. I’m just thankful for what Bronson did for me. Thank you for all you do.”

READ OTHER Heart & Vascular STORIES