“Every day is an extra one, why not enjoy it?”
Lying on a Cape Cod Hospital cath lab table in the middle of a heart attack did not make Peter Van Stratum, 65, nervous or anxious.
“It was peaceful, amazingly enough,” the Truro resident said. “I’ve lived a good long life. I wished good luck to the people working on me. You’d think you’d be panicky, but I wasn’t.”
His son Bill, a construction worker, felt differently. “This brought tears to my son’s eyes, seeing his Dad lying there like that,” Mr. Van Stratum said. “He’s a big, strapping man, but this shook him up. I told him not to worry. I’m in the right place.”
Thanks to Richard Zelman, M.D., F.A.C.C. Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology, and his CCH cath lab team, Mr. Van Stratum was right.
Mr. Van Stratum had his heart attack on the 3rd hole at Highland Links Golf Course in Truro last year. (“I still made par.”) Truro Paramedic Alan Felton, who happened to be golfing on the next hole, recognized the heart attack symptoms. “It felt like someone was standing on my chest,” Mr. Van Stratum said. He was whisked back to the clubhouse in a golf cart and placed in an ambulance for CCH.
“It took 32 minutes to get from the golf course to Cape Cod Hospital,” he said. “The team with Dr. Zelman was waiting at the door. They were impressive. Dr. Zelman was watching reports coming from ambulance. I got to the backdoor – everything was perfect. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing. I felt like all hell was poppin’. But they were all completely in control.”
His coronary artery was repaired and Mr. Van Stratum was admitted. His subsequent stay in the hospital also exceeded expectations. “The ICU is spectacular, with super-talented people. There is nothing is marginal about that hospital. Everyone and everything was remarkable.”
As with many heart attack victims, the event transformed his life. “I have a better attitude toward everything. Literally, every day is an extra one, why not enjoy it? I exercise every day, treadmill, golfing. I feel great – better than I have felt in decades. Dr. Zelman told me to lose 30 pounds this year and 20 pounds next year. I’ve lost 35 pounds already. I feel better than I’ve felt in decades. Dr. Zelman and his team literally saved my life at Cape Cod Hospital.”