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Meet my Mom – You helped save her life!

Everyone has one: a mom that you love and care about very much. Moms spend a lot of their lives loving and caring for their children. A mother’s love and care is often reflected back to them as their children grow into adults. When children are lucky, a time comes when they are able to give back this love and care to their mom. I am one of those lucky kids and I am also so incredibly grateful to everyone at Beebe Healthcare who helped to care for my Mom’s heart.

This story begins two years ago when we finally convinced Mom to move to Rehoboth Beach to be closer to family. It was an incredibly difficult decision for her. Packing up, selling her home and downsizing to a smaller, new house at the beach was quite a challenge, but she did it – like a trooper! Yes, initially she was a little sad, moving away from long-time friends, but since she has been here she has made so many new friends. Her neighbors are wonderful, the folks at church and bingo are terrific, and she is always on the go from one fun activity to another. Mom just loves living in Rehoboth Beach!

Before Mom moved she was diagnosed with AFib or Atrial Fibrillation. AFib occurs when the heart’s normal electrical signals that make it pump blood don’t work the way they should. The irregular electrical signals make the heart ‘fibrillate,’ and consequently the blood does not circulate efficiently throughout our bodies.  This can cause the formation of dangerous blood clots in the heart or in the arteries, which can lead to heart failure, heart attack, or stroke. One of the first things Mom did when she moved was to find a new, local cardiologist.

Mom’s AFib had been well controlled by medication, until last March. I remember it was a warm afternoon when I walked over to her house to borrow a cup of sugar. Mom said, “Sure, the sugar is right in the cupboard next to the stove. Oh, and by the way, I think I need to go to the hospital.” I just loved how nonchalant she was! Should I call an ambulance? “No, that’s OK. Just let me get my purse and you can drive me.”

The doctors and nurses in Beebe’s Emergency Department were totally amazing and wonderful. Mom’s heart was racing and they performed an electrical cardioversion to convert her heart beat back to normal rhythm. She was released that same day with instructions to follow up with her Cardiologist, which she did. Unfortunately over the next couple of months we made three trips back to the Emergency Department for the same problem. It was September when Mom was referred to Dr. El-Sabbagh, the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Services at Beebe Healthcare.

Before her appointment with Dr. El-Sabbagh, Mom had the opportunity to learn more about AFib and Beebe’s Cardiac Electrophysiology Services at a program called “Presenting Our Physicians” held at the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare. Dr. El-Sabbagh presented in- depth information about atrial fibrillation, its causes and different treatment options. He described the advanced cutting-edge technology used for performing ablations. These minimally invasive procedures use radiofrequency or cryo-energy to destroy or disrupt parts of the electrical pathways in the heart that cause arrhythmias. Mom left this program confident that Dr. El-Sabbagh was the right doctor for her.

Soon after her initial appointment, Mom was scheduled to have an ablation with Dr. El-Sabbagh at Beebe. The entire team at Beebe’s Electrophysiology/Cardiac Catheterization Lab was superb. Everyone who had a part in my Mom’s care took care of her as if she was their mother. I was able to sit with her when she was waking up from the anesthesia. I walked by her bedside as she was moved to her room for an overnight stay in ICU - just for observation. I remembered when I was a little boy and Mom held my hand in the hospital after I had my tonsils removed. The nurses on the ICU quickly made Mom comfortable and I knew she was in very good hands, the best hands, for a good night’s rest.

The next morning I came to the hospital to find Mom sitting up in a chair, fully dressed and eating breakfast, “I’m ready to go!” Right before lunch she was released and her heart has been beating just fine ever since!

I share this story because I want to thank everyone who was a part of my Mom’s care at Beebe: the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department, Dr. El-Sabbagh and his team, the team in the Electrophysiology Lab, and the doctors and nurses in the Intensive Care Unit. My thanks to all of the Beebe team members who work “behind the scenes” for every patient: performing diagnostic tests, preparing delicious meals, and keeping everything so clean.

I must also thank everyone who has so generously supported Beebe Healthcare and helped it grow to become what it is today. One hundred years ago two doctors, James and Richard Beebe, shared one vision for a hospital that started with only three beds. Beebe’s growth was stimulated by a gift – a very generous gift, from Helen and Benjamin Shaw to expand the hospital to meet the needs of the community. Caring and committed families have continued to fund a century of growth and innovation at Beebe. As Beebe begins its second century of service, new visionaries will fund the future of Beebe and ensure award winning care for our ever-growing community.

As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe continues to depend on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts, large or small, to Beebe Healthcare, are tax deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation.  Please consider making a gift today and share your amazing stories with our community. To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go online to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or write to foundation@beebehealthcare.org.