In 2006 I was much sicker than I knew. I had been so wrapped up in my day to day trials and tribulations that I neglected to realize how tired and out of shape I had gotten. I paid my bills and made my appointments but I really didn't enjoy my quality of life. On a trip to see my daughter I experienced chest pain and "indigestion", nothing severe just a tinge here and there. On my return home I went to the Doctor and he scheduled a Nuclear Cardiac Stress Test. On my arrival at the hospital, I was told that my health insurance would not pay for the test. If I was having symptoms of a heart attack, I was sure to have one now from this new stress. I was also told that if I needed any lifesaving procedure during the test or afterward that my insurance wouldn't cover that either. What! My insurance wasn't even insurance. It was a medical discount plan packaged and promoted as insurance. I paid dearly for the test and prayed for good results. They were not good. I had 5 blockages to my Coronary Arteries. 3 of which were blocked 90-99%. OMG, do I need a By-Pass???!!!
I tried to get new and better insurance, but in this day and age once you have a pre-existing condition you might as well just die if you cannot wait the year required enrollment. I tried to get into a group plan through a professional association I belonged to, that would take 1 month to be enrolled. I decided to wait the month and hope for the best. By this time my doctor had me on many different medications to prevent the Angina that was gradually getting worse. He insisted I go into the hospital, but I was stubborn and told him I was waiting for new insurance. He suggested Deborah. Meanwhile, friends and family were worried as I resolutely told them I was going to be OK. 2 friends, Nancy and JoAnn Vernay were actively involved with a fundraising chapter of the Deborah Foundation for many years. They called me and intervened, saying they would get me an appointment at the hospital immediately if I would go immediately and stop being so stubborn.
I agreed, I went to the hospital and was immediately admitted and had some more tests done. I was counseled by 2 top cardiologists. An Angioplasty or a By-Pass would be necessary depending on the damage they found once they got inside. Long story short, if I had waited even another week it would have been a By-Pass. Because of the state of the art equipment and highly experienced Doctors at this Heart and Lung Center I was feeling fine and on my way home in 2 days with 3 drug-eluting stents. I had a new lease on life and a new attitude about taking care of myself. I have never to this day received a bill from the hospital, although I make it a point to donate a certain portion of my income each year.
We started a new chapter of the Deborah Foundation in The Pompton Area so younger people would learn about this wonderful visionary place. Back in the 50s, there were over 300 Fundraising Chapters to help raise funds and awareness for the hospital. Now there are only 70 chapters left. In today's world, there is so much competition for the charitable donations needed to continue this lifesaving work, so we try to put the Fun back into Fundraising.
I have made it my pledge to continue to pay forward the kindness and compassion that was shown to me through Deborah Hospital Foundation.