Bill Miller woke up one night with a feeling of tightness and pressure in his chest. He thought he knew exactly what it meant.
“After a while it wasn’t getting better so I was getting very concerned,” he says. “The first thing that people think of is a heart issue.”
His wife, Joyce Miller, drove him to the hospital, where doctors performed a series of tests, including a CT scan. The technician saw a buildup of fluid on Bill’s spine and a split in his cervical vertebra. He needed immediate surgery.
During the procedure there were major complications that would affect his progress later on.
“The surgery was supposed to take about an hour, but it turned into a four-hour procedure,” he says. “They found several calcium deposits on my spine, and they had to replace a couple discs. Instead of an overnight stay, I had to be in the hospital for six weeks. The rehab went well until I got out of the hospital, and then my progress slowed down tremendously.”
Before his surgery, Bill regularly worked 50 to 60 hours a week in the restaurant industry. His poor health kept him out of work and put Joyce in the role of caregiver.
At about the same time, the Millers moved from Terre Haute to Indianapolis so that Joyce could begin work as an Ascension Care Management care team member. Overwhelmed by her responsibilities at work and home, Joyce recommended that Bill get his own care team to help him make that next step.
Bill was introduced to care team member Kim, who connected him with a physical therapist, as well as a nutritionist and educational resources for his diabetes. That ongoing support has been invaluable.
“From day one the experience with Ascension Care Management has been so positive. They listen to you and make recommendations,” he says. “They sit with you to listen to your story and don’t treat you like a number. I was in the business world so I can appreciate that. You can call one person instead of having to look through the phone book or being in touch with your doctor, your nurse – all these people who are taking care of you.”
Now that Bill has a care team, the Millers can return to their normal activities. Joyce loves playing the piano and Bill enjoys listening to the sound the music fill their home. They also invite their grandchildren to spend the weekend, which they couldn’t do before because of Bill’s health.
Bill credits Ascension Care Management for giving him the tools he needed to get healthy and spend more time with his family.
“Every time I think of it I get emotional. You can take a lot of things for granted,” he says. “Ascension Care Management didn’t just help me achieve my goals; they follow up with me and keep in touch. They made me feel more comfortable with opening up. If I have an issue, they call me to see what’s going on and can take care of getting help with my physical therapy or my diabetes. They are just what I needed when I needed it.”