Mona O'Connell – Cardiac Catherization Success Story

Smooth Sailing

A heart attack at sea brought Mona O’Connell home to Methodist Richardson

Mona O'Connell – Cardiac Catherization Success Story
After 30 years of cruising, Mona O’Connell felt like a fish out of water.

“It all happened on the cruise ship,” the 76-year-old Richardson resident says.

“My husband and I had finished dinner, done a little walking on the ship, and gone to bed. I had heartburn, but that was pretty normal for me. It wasn’t until I woke up that I felt something was off.”

Her left arm was numb, but she attributed that to sleeping on a hard mattress. Then after taking a baby aspirin and having a little breakfast, she realized that the numbness had nothing to do with how she slept.

“The pain started radiating down my arm,” Mona says. “I knew then that we needed to get help.”

The O’Connells went to the ship’s infirmary, where the medical team ran blood and EKG tests. They soon determined that Mona had had a heart attack and needed stents placed. Two options were given: have the procedure in Mexico, where the ship was headed, or come back home to be treated.

“I immediately knew I wanted to be back home, and I knew I wanted to be treated by Dr. Nguyen,” Mona says.

Safe on dry land

Nhan Nguyen, MD, cardiologist at Methodist Richardson Medical Center, had treated Mona’s husband, Jim, with exceptional service for years. She made sure it was Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Nguyen alone who treated her.

“When I first saw Mona, we determined that multiple stents would need to be placed,” Dr. Nguyen says. “We didn’t know the extent of her blockages till we began the procedure.”

In a procedure called cardiac catheterization, Dr. Nguyen inserted five stents into Mona’s arteries. One artery alone needed four stents placed, but the procedure went smoothly, and Mona left the hospital the next day.

Calm waters

Mona O'Connell – Cardiac Catherization Success Story
“I’m back to playing golf one to two times a week, and my husband and I are looking forward to our next cruise,” Mona says. “I’m looking even more forward to a pain-free one!”

Only three weeks after her procedure, Mona says she was back to where she was.

Dr. Nguyen and Methodist Richardson’s cardiac rehabilitation team have since worked closely with Mona on her rehabilitation. Along with closely monitoring and adjusting her prescriptions to help manage her recovery, they’ve also helped Mona with her arthritis.

“Dr. Nguyen and his staff have helped me learn and practice exercises that I’m now able to incorporate into my day,” Mona says. “I was allergic to common arthritis medicines, and if it weren’t for Dr. Nguyen and his staff who helped me find a more natural way around it, I wouldn’t feel this way.

Helping hearts

Find out what Methodist Richardson is doing to help your ticker tick stronger at MethodistHealthSystem.org/RichardsonCardio.