Patient Story

Straight from the Heart

Maria Slack's Story

Maria Slack

During her career in the U.S. Army, and in the years following her retirement, Maria Slack has been committed to healthy eating, weight management and a high level of fitness. In fact, her lifestyle would seem to remove her from the usual concerns about heart health … except for a significant family history of heart disease, and that's one risk factor you can't eliminate.

It was May 11th, 2015 and I attributed my upset stomach to some dental work I had done earlier in the day. But when I suddenly felt like I was sitting in sauna I knew something was wrong and immediately called 911. It was only when the paramedics came and put me on the gurney that I felt the kind of chest pain that's usually associated with a heart attack –which is a good reminder that women may not experience classic symptoms like men, so we need to be especially vigilant. I went straight to the cath lab and ended up getting two stents to open up the blocked arteries. The whole process, from the time I called 911 until the stents were in place, took less than an hour.

Part of the reason is that when my husband and I retired from the military we bought a house that's only a short walk from Riverside. But what saved even more time is that the medical team was ready for me when I arrived and was very efficient. Since then I'm even more focused on  nutrition and exercise and take part in a supervised program at the Riverside Wellness &Fitness Center. And I remind people to get medical assistance at the very first sign of a heart attack. I'm gratified to report that following that advice has already made a difference in the life of a friend.