Not many people can claim they are survivors of heart disease, but Dan Hartman is one of them. As Executive Director of the Muskingum Valley Red Cross, he’s touched many lives over the years, but he says he has neglected one life until now, his own. That’s a choice that has Hartman looking at his own mortality.
Hartman, was not feeling well about a month and a half ago. He says he had really begun to slow down and was having a hard time breathing. So, he finally scheduled a visit to get his heart looked at.
"I went in that morning, thinking ok, I’ll do the heart catheter. They might find something. They might not. I’ll go home and have pizza and pop with my kids, " says Hartman.
However, what the doctor found was something very serious. Hartman was going to need triple by-pass surgery.
"That’s when you realize everything you’ve known up to that point was probably a big mistake, " says Hartman.
Hartman was immediately admitted to the hospital, and the surgery was scheduled for the next morning.
"My arteries were so blocked and in such bad places that the doctor told my wife all the CPR in the world wouldn’t have saved me if the final one would have been blocked, " says Hartman.
It’s a realization that had Hartman on edge.
"That’s life, and I almost lost it, " says Hartman.
Yet, Hartman came out of the surgery all right. He recovered in the hospital for a week and has been going through rehab for about a month, with more to come, but could Hartman have prevented this from happening? He says he would have made better lifestyle choices, especially since heart disease runs in his family.
"My dad’s side, his brother’s, and his father. It’s one of those things that happens. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you because we’re the boomers. We’re invincible. We’re going to survive well beyond our parents, " says Hartman.
He says he would have done things a little differently.
"I probably would have listened to my wife a lot sooner. I would have gone to the cardiologist and said something’s still not right here, even after all the stress tests and all the medications. I probably waited way too long, " says Hartman.
He says this incident has really made his appreciate life. He has his family by his side and is looking forward to one activity once rehab is done.
"I plan on doing a whole lot more fishing here real soon, once I get to feeling better and it quits snowing, " says Hartman.
Hartman is a survivor of heart disease. He will always carry a 22 inch scar down the center of his chest as a reminder of just how lucky he is to be alive.