Louis Wood was nicknamed "Bones" by his family in grade school because "he ate like a horse but was only skin and bones." It was only after he turned 35-years old that the food began to stick to his bones.
Around the same time his heart started to fall out of rhythm. Louis remembers he was at a work physical when the doctor looked surprised while listening through the stethoscope.
"That doctor first asked if I drove here," Louis says. "Then he asked if I had a cardiologist."
The next day, Louis had an appointment with Koroush Khalighi, MD, an independent member of the Easton Hospital medical staff.
A cardiac catheterization revealed that Louis had the heart function of an 80-year old man. He suffered from atrial fibrillation - an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure.
For the next several years Louis' heart followed a similar pattern: it would fall out of rhythm until it was reset via electrical shock.
Sometimes the reset would last a year; other times six months. But soon it was going in and out of rhythm regularly. One Sunday morning, Louis woke up with his heart racing and headed to the ER.
That next week he was back in Dr. Khalighi's office for an EKG. Dr. Khalighi sent him straight over to Easton Hospital...well, Louis headed there after stopping for a roast beef sandwich at a fast food restaurant.
"I love to eat," Louis says. "Plus, I knew I might be in the hospital for a bit, so I wanted to eat something really good first."
After a few tests, Louis was scheduled for an radio frequency catheter ablation - a procedure that maps the heart to determine where the electric signals are irregular so that tissue can be destroyed.
Dr. Khalighi and Vadim Levin, MD, both heart rhythm specialists with more than ten years of ablation experience, performed the lengthy and complicated surgery. When Louis woke in recovery, he did what only he could...he called his favorite pizza shop and ordered a pie with extra cheese.
"The food in the hospital tasted great," Louis says. "I doubled up on my orders there and then enjoyed some perks on the side." His fiancé brought candy. His children brought cheeseburgers. "I had a stash of items in my nightstand."
He made the most of his stay at the hospital. "The nurses could see that I was a jokester," Louis says.
"I felt very comfortable with them, and they were right there every time I rang my bell."
Still recovery took time. Louis was off work for a month. "At first I had no energy," he says. "But slowly my strength came back."
His blood pressure has been good, and there have been no signs of his rhythm disorder. Louis has returned to work and the hobbies he enjoys, like bow hunting.
"I love the jerky, steaks, sausage, bologna and burgers I can make from a deer," he says. Not surprising from the guy who wakes up in the night, makes a burger and then heads back to bed.
"I've always told people I'm on a 'seafood' diet," he says. "When I see food, I eat it." Now the only thing Louis struggles with in Dr. Khalighi's office is losing the few extra pounds he's put on that might tax his otherwise healthy heart.
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