Portrait of Bob Wheeler – Overlake patient

Overlake Volunteer Becomes Overlake Patient

I was told by my doctor about 20 years ago in New Hampshire that I had calcium buildup on the back of my aortic valve; but at that time, surgery was not necessary. Over the years, I developed a heart murmur due to the calcium. It became obvious after monitoring it over time the valve would eventually need to be replaced, but I didn’t know when.

It’s interesting because they can monitor the health of the valve through a blood test. The pressure gradient on one side of the valve to the other side is measured. If the number gets to 40, the valve may need to be replaced. When I came in last fall, mine was 48. My cardiologist, Dr. [Ronnier] Aviles, and his team told me I was a great candidate for the surgery and met all the requirements.

Dr. Aviles and [cardiothoracic surgeon] Dr. Scott Louis did the procedure, which was performed this past spring. It went perfectly. I was in and out of the operating room in an hour and a half. The next day I went home. Dr. Aviles commented I could be the poster boy for TAVR.

You come in not knowing what’s going to happen; you’re scared. But everyone I encountered was super at helping me through the emotional rollercoaster. My patient navigator, Chelsea, was my guiding light through the physical and emotional process of having the procedure.She told me what was going to happen and what they were going to do. The TAVR coordinator, Brianna, was always available on the phone and ahead of the process. I think the world of both of them.

I volunteer once a week at the main information desk at Overlake and have been on the other (non-patient) side for several years helping people, meeting people. Everyone who comes to the hospital has a problem concerning them, and I try to relax them. Being a patient here, I got to experience how all the doctors, nurses and staff show a concern for a patient as a person as opposed to just another patient; they are all top notch. I couldn’t be happier with the care I received.

Click here to learn more about TAVR at Overlake.