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    Retired Soldier reclaims heart healthy life



    Story by Joel McFarland 

    Reynolds Army Health Clinic

    Often people do not realize there is a problem until they are faced with heart disease firsthand. Such was the case with retired Master Sgt. Jerry Sappington, a RAHC beneficiary.

    "Back in November, I noticed that I was getting winded easier performing tasks I usually had no problem doing," said Sappington.

    A visit to his primary care provider at Reynolds resulted in an appointment for a stress test across the hall at the Internal Medicine Clinic with Dr. Rodrigo Mariano.

    "Five minutes into my stress test Dr. Mariano stopped the test, took a closer look at my readings and had the my wife take me straight to Comanche County Memorial Hospital," said Sappington. "My stress test was at 8 a.m., by 10 a.m. I was admitted into Memorial and by 7:30 the next morning I had undergone triple bypass surgery."

    With no prior indication of a heart problem, the surgery took Sappington by surprise.

    "I asked my surgeon at Memorial, Dr. Aaron Trachte, what may have brought this about," he said. "It came down to the fact that I was a male who had smoked most of my adult life and had a poor diet. Even though I have not had a cigarette in over eight years the damage to my heart was still there."

    Since his surgery in November Sappington has been in cardiac rehab and is continuing to improve.

    "Without a doubt I know that Dr. Mariano saved my life that day. The care I received at Reynolds and Memorial from the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff was the best I could have received," said Sappington.

    The recovering retiree offered a few suggestions to others with similar health problems.

    "Take care of yourself now, don't wait till after the fact. If you smoke quit. Start eating right and exercise. I had to learn that lesson the hard way and I want everyone to know that my surgery could have been preventable."

    In January, Sappington was on hand at Reynolds as staff members and friends gathered for the monthly award ceremony. For Sappington, it was an opportunity to present Mariano with a certificate of achievement and to let the Reynolds staff know how thankful he was for the doctor's help and care that November morning.

    While Sappington followed a more routine method of scheduling an appointment to regain his healthy outlook, the recent opening of the Health Readiness Center at RAHC, makes it is easy for everyone to make healthy choices.

    Continuing through February, the Health Readiness Center is offering walk-in blood pressure screenings during Heart Health Month. Also located in the center is the Fort Sill Tobacco Cessation office along with the Army Wellness Center annex and the Reynolds Nutrition Care Division, everything people may need to ensure their heart health. The Health Readiness Center is on the second floor of RAHC, and its services are open to all service members, their family members and retirees who receive their care at Reynolds.

    To make an appointment call the HRC at 580-558-8467 or walk into the clinic during February for a blood pressure screening.



    Date Taken: 02.23.2017
    Date Posted: 01.30.2018 13:24
    Story ID: 263910
    Location: FORT SILL, OK, US 

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