If Clyde Daubert had a choice, he would be outside running his beagles or in the woods hunting. But during fall hunting camp, he stayed at the cabin rather than trekking through the woods. Clyde wasn’t himself. He was tired, and his legs were weak. When he got home, he noticed some dizziness—his wife, Nettie, called the doctor.
Clyde and Nettie went to see a cardiologist at a nearby community hospital. After some tests, Clyde learned his heart was enlarged, and the cardiologist recommended a lifestyle change—no more fat, no more salt, and more healthy habits.
“I have a family history of heart disease, and I have been on blood pressure medication for almost 20 years, but I have never felt sick,” says Clyde. “Looking back, I knew something was off all summer and fall. I was getting tired so quickly. I just never thought it was my heart.”
Clyde followed orders, and Nettie joined him in his new healthy habits. During a follow-up appointment a few months later, the doctor noted minimal changes to his condition and ordered a cardiac catheterization, which revealed several arteries leading to his heart were nearly fully blocked.
Clyde was immediately taken by ambulance to the Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC for cardiac surgery. The next morning Michael Lazar, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, performed open-heart surgery.
Nettie remembers the day of surgery: “It was a long day and a long surgery. Once he was back in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), they made sure his needs were met, then they started taking care of me.”
During recovery, physical therapists started working with Clyde every day in Inpatient Rehabilitation.
Clyde was beginning to feel like himself again and especially enjoyed group therapy.
“They call it Good Morning America. It was my favorite time of the day. We all get together, they play some good music, and we start the morning with exercises.”
Nettie also felt a sense of relief as he entered inpatient rehabilitation, “I knew he was in good hands. If something went wrong or he had another setback, he was right in the hospital, close to the doctors.”
“Everyone was great—from the ICU nurses to the physical therapists—even the person that cleaned my room,” says Clyde. Nettie added, “Shawl and Rachael in the ICU became like family, and everyone contributed to his well-being.”
Today, Clyde is back out running his beagles at the Shamokin Beagle Club, and he will be ready to spend more time out in the woods at this year’s hunting camp.
As Nettie aptly put it, “He is my walking miracle.”
Clyde's treatment and results may not be representative of similar cases.