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Winter 2015 - Gail Won’t Fail

Eleven years of involvement with the WakeMed Congestive Heart Failure Program keeps Gail Fish healthy and active.

H2H Winter 2015 Gail

In 2004, at the age of 56, Gail was no stranger to heart disease. “I had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for some time,” said Gail who has actually been enrolled in National Institutes of Health research studies related to her heart condition since 1987. Gail’s condition caused chronic symptoms, such as heart palpitations. During the summer, however, Gail was experiencing additional problems. “I just felt bad all summer,” she explains. “I had a dry hacking cough; I felt like everything was changing about my body and I was so tired.”

Gail’s persistent symptoms prompted a visit to her cardiologist, Dr. Charles Mangano, with WakeMed Heart & Vascular Physicians. “My daughter, who is a nurse, told me before my appointment that if my doctor didn’t put me in the hospital for tests she was going to insist on it,” said Gail.

H2H Winter 2015 Dr. Mangano

Dr. Mangano did check Gail into the hospital, and, two hours after she was admitted, Gail’s heart stopped. “Dr. Sinden who was taking care of me in the hospital said, ‘We lost you but we brought you back’,” Gail recalls.

After three days of testing and treatment, Gail learned she had heart failure. She also learned about the WakeMed Congestive Heart Failure Program. Marian Uy, RN, manager of the program, visited with Gail in her hospital room and, through the program, they have kept in touch ever since. In fact, Marian quickly became Gail’s “angel”. “Marian and the nurses would call me to check on my weight and ask me about my diet. I had a lot of questions, especially in the beginning, so I was really grateful for those phone calls,” says Gail.

A tricuspid valve problem and her chronic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have given Gail some medical ups and downs throughout the years, but she has been able to keep her heart failure symptoms in check, thanks to the tools provided to her by the WakeMed Congestive Heart Failure Program. She stays active at church and with her grandchildren, taking trips to see them in Pinehurst.

“It’s a miracle,” says Gail when she talks about how well she feels despite her heart problems. “I owe it all to Marian, my husband and my family. I am truly blessed.”