Bob Neal’s Story
On February 7, 2010, Bob Neal experienced a heart attack. It happened a few days following a well earned vacation for him and his wife Marilyn, the owners of the Turkey Farm in New Sharon. Below is Bob’s story.
It was our first two-week vacation together since 1983 and it was a disaster. It was cold in Florida and even more frigid in Nashville. The very first day I came down with a cold, which I almost never get and I just couldn’t shake it. Even after returning home and enduring three weeks of feeling lousy, I still wasn’t getting any better. Then on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, I started experiencing the classic warning signs of heart attack: pain in my left arm, shortness of breath, a tight chest, and heartburn. This continued all afternoon. I was also running a fever, so I took a couple aspirin (which may be the reason why I am still here). At some point, my wife remarked that she thought I should get to the hospital emergency room. Neither of us had said anything about heart attack; but I knew what she was thinking.
When we arrived at the hospital by car, I walked into the emergency department and approached the nurse’s station. One nurse asked, “How may we help you?” I told her I was having shortness of breath, tightness in my chest, and pain in my left arm. Pointing to a patient room, she responded, “That room right away!”
She was the most wonderful, warm nurse who instantly gave me a play-by-play of what was going to happen. I appreciated the explanations and found all who cared for me to be very helpful. They immediately gave me nitroglycerin, followed by an EKG procedure to help evaluate my symptoms. Dr. Stephen Zanella came in and checked on me several times and everything transpired in a very orderly fashion, despite the emergency room being very busy at the time. Eventually it became clear that I was moving to the ICU for at least the night. The next morning I was given a choice of where to have the specialized heart treatment I needed and was transferred to Maine Medical Center.
Once there, Dr. Paul Sweeney did the catheterization and Dr. Higgins put in the stents the following day. (During angioplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded into a clogged artery to push blockages aside; then, usually a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help keep it from re-narrowing.)
After my discharge from Maine Medical Center, I returned to Franklin Memorial Hospital where I had carefully monitored outpatient cardiac rehab three-days-a-week for about nine weeks to recover. In addition, Dr. Sweeney and his colleagues from Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine based in Scarborough, provided my follow-up cardiology specialty care right at Franklin Memorial Hospital.
I have completely recovered and I’m back to my active lifestyle on the turkey farm and enjoying women’s college basketball as much as I can!
Stephen Zanella, DO
Dr. Zanella graduated from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988. He has been a courtesy staff member of Franklin Memorial Hospital since 1991 and an active member since 1997. Dr. Zanella's professional interests include emergency medicine and quality assurance.Learn more...
Paul Sweeney, MD
Dr. Sweeney is a board-certified internist specializing in cardiovascular diseases. His main office is with the Cardiovascular Consultants in Scarborough, which participate in the Cardiology Clinic held at Franklin Memorial Hospital. The clinic is held every Wednesday and Friday in the Outpatient Specialty Unit at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling 779-2539.Learn more...