They make you feel like you are the only patient that they have to care for.

Bette Chavoya, Patient

Bette Chavoya, 88, had an irregular heartbeat for years. She had few issues until her condition took a turn for the worse, sending her to the Emergency Department at Bronson Methodist Hospital. After being admitted to the Cardiac Unit, Bette was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. This happens when the aortic valve narrows, restricting blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Drs. John Schonder and Christopher Rogers of Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare drew pictures of Bette’s heart to explain what was going on.

Bette appreciated the good care she received, “I came away with full understanding and knowing that I needed to have something done. Dr. Rogers, being the wonder that he is, told me all about a new heart procedure called TAVR.”

Since Bette was not a candidate for standard open heart surgery, TAVR was the best route to take. “The TAVR team was unbelievable,” said Bette. “They make you feel like you are the only patient that they have to care for.”

Carmela Pulling, RN, cardiovascular program coordinator, helped Bette through the entire surgery process. Bette described her as “being there for every beat and move, and she is like my angel.”

When Dr. Alphonse DeLucia got ready to perform the surgery, he made sure to speak with Bette beforehand to make sure she didn’t have any other questions. She described the staff as fantastic and said she felt at ease. A week following surgery, Bette was back at home with minimal pain. Two weeks after surgery, she was back at the bridge table playing her favorite game!

“I would highly recommend the procedure. It was a piece of cake in comparison to the numerous other procedures that I have had done. And with this one, there was no real pain. I was absolutely amazed.”

Her daughter, Susan Chavoya, also noticed that Bette’s breathing improved quickly and that she had an increase in energy and stamina.

“I can’t thank Bronson staff enough,” Susan said. “You are never ready to lose your mother – and I still have my mom here, and she will be 89 years old in July. I’m so grateful to them for all of their care from start to finish.”

Cardiac rehabilitation took place at Bronson Lifestyle Improvement & Research Center. Bette went three times a week for 12 weeks, and then only twice a week. The rehab team communicated clearly with Dr. Rogers on Bette’s progress. She also had a follow-up appointment with Dr. DeLucia. And she still gets phone calls from Carmela to make sure she’s doing OK.

Bette describes the entire experience as receiving the surprise of her life.

“I don’t have heart palpitations anymore – it is beautiful,” Bette stated. “I feel good – I feel great!”

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