Bob's Cardiology Story
In the days following September 11, 2001, Bob Fehse could be found outside the Pentagon. He was there with the Salvation Army, providing food and drink to the firemen, police and healthcare volunteers who were working around the clock to save survivors. It was just one of many times that Bob made the needs of others his first priority. His health, however, challenged his selflessness.
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When it comes to heart problems, Bob Fehse can lay claim to "been there, done that." His first pacemaker was implanted in 1998, five years later he had his first flutter ablation. When both began to fail him, he once again was facing invasive cardiology procedures. This time, he chose Martha Jefferson Hospital for his care.
"I've been to many other hospitals. But for my care, there is no other choice - being at Martha Jefferson is like coming home," said Bob.
Symptoms of a Chronic Condition
Seven years after his first pacemaker was placed, Bob began to sense that something was wrong. He found himself fatiguing easily. His breathing became more difficult and labored. Eventually, he became too tired to take even a short walk around the neighborhood with his wife in the evenings. His health continued to deteriorate and there came the moment when Bob could no longer ignore his symptoms. "I was feeling really ill and knew I had better get to an emergency room. I asked to be taken to Martha Jefferson."
So began Bob's next heart journey.
When Bob arrived, cardiologist Dr. William Freedman evaluated his condition and detected the presence of an atrial flutter. He also diagnosed Bob with congestive heart failure, which was taxing not just his heart but his pulmonary function as well. Soon a multidisciplinary team of specialists was addressing the underlying medical causes of Bobs' deteriorating health. Dr. Chris Friend, a cardiologist specializing in device implantation, took the lead on Bobs' care, which included a second pacemaker, a coronary arterty stent and a third flutter ablation.
After this round of treatment Bob says, "I'm back to myself again, and doing the things I love."
He now exercises three days a week at Martha Jefferson's cardiac rehabilitation program under the close medical supervision of the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation staff. These are people in whom he confidently puts his trust. Bob shared a frightening moment that reinforced his faith in the staff. "I had a dizzy spell during one of my exercise sessions. Before I could say anything about it, the staff had already picked up on it. One of them performed an EKG immediately so that they could determine what was happening. The physician and nurse response rate was so fast - they were with me right away. If it weren't for them, I couldn't do the activities that are so important in building my strength."
Today, Bob is back to what he loves the most. He volunteers at local soup kitchens and food pantry. He is active with a local group called IMPACT, comprised of 28 diverse congregations seeking to secure a greater degree of justice in the Charlottesville Albemarle area. More importantly, he's once again taking long evening walks with his wife.
Bob's heart and pulmonary conditions will remain with him for the rest of his life. But under the watchful care of his Martha Jefferson physicians and staff, his life will retain the quality that this good-hearted man deserves.
Bob shared his Cardiology Experience with us in July of 2008.