It’s only March, but Kenneth Theetge, age seventy-five, is looking forward to early May, when he, his grandson, and his next-door neighbor will go fishing for muskies in Waneta Lake.
Theetge lives in Cayuta, NY, with his wife and daughter and three friendly geriatric dogs. Framed photos of their seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren cover the bookshelves in their house, which sits on a rise at the top of a hill. “Muskies are fun to catch, they’re real fighters,” says Theetge grinning, “but then we release them back into the lake very carefully.”
Theetge is feeling good now, looking forward to tangling with a big fish on the end of the line. But back in February he was completely worn out. He recalls having no energy; he was easily winded—a walk to the end of the driveway to fetch the mail was an ordeal. The day after Valentine’s Day, he lay down on the couch in his living room to take a nap. When his wife, Sherry, tried to rouse him a while later she couldn’t wake him up. “I could hear her,” Theetge recalls, “but I just couldn’t wake up. I was out of it!”
Sherry Theetge called an ambulance for her husband. Emergency medical technicians arrived quickly and immediately transported him to the Emergency Department at Schuyler Hospital, where caregivers did a swift assessment, confirmed that Theetge had a severely slow heart rate and very high blood sugar, and called their colleagues at Cayuga Medical Center to say that an urgent transfer was on the way.
Hospitalist Dr. Michael Berlin evaluated and admitted Theetge to Cayuga Medical Center and called in cardiologist Dr. Amit Singh, FACC, ASNC, for a consultation.
“Mr. Theetge had multisystem problems. His pulse had been in the thirties when he arrived at Schuyler Hospital,” says Singh.
“He is a diabetic and has had prior open-heart surgery. I told him that having a pacemaker would make him feel better and it would be easier to manage his symptoms. But before the pacemaker could be inserted, we needed to get control of his blood sugar and wait until the level of blood-thinning medication in his system was lower.”
Dr. Singh called his colleague Dr. Lynn Swisher, FACC, who has extensive experience in pacemaker implantation. “Dr. Swisher came into my room and explained everything to me about the pacemaker,” says Theetge. “She was very sincere and is an excellent practitioner. I liked her.”
“Dr. Swisher and Dr. Malcolm Brand perform 120–140 pacemaker insertions a year,” observes Singh. “This is a very routine procedure here.”
The additional beneﬁts of TLC
Kenneth Theetge was admitted on February 15 and released five days later. Typically, pacemaker patients spend very little time in the hospital, according to Singh, but Theetge’s care team wanted to monitor him to ensure that he was feeling tip-top before Lynn Swisher, MD going home. “We wanted to treat him
in a safe way; we wanted to make him feel better so he’d have his best quality of life,” says Sandy Fuller, RN, director of the Cayuga Heart Institute.
Having had open-heart surgery in the past, Theetge has had more than his fair share of hospital stays. “I never realized until now that there was such good care available out there. I’ve been to two other hospitals in the region and the difference between them and Cayuga Medical Center is like night and day,” he says. “Everyone was so good-natured and friendly, and I really enjoyed Dr. Berlin. I’ve never seen nurses respond so quickly when I needed them. I had
a bunch of blood tests and not one of them hurt—the needle sticks were perfect. I can’t say enough about how clean the hospital was. And it’s the first time I have ever enjoyed hospital food! I was so happy to be at Cayuga Medical Center. Everything about my care was just perfect.
“We have a wonderful family doctor here in Schuyler County, Dr. Blanche Borzell. She’s like family to us; she even makes house calls for my wife, who has COPD,” says Theetge, “and now I’ve asked Dr. Singh to be my cardiologist from here on. He’s terrific.”
Seamless transition of care from Schuyler Hospital’s Emergency Department to Cayuga Medical Center, board-certified cardiologists, the most current technology and the latest cardiac procedures, follow-up cardiology care close to home, a close, long-standing relationship with the Sands Constellation Heart Institute in Rochester —it’s all available to Mr. Theetge and his family through the Cayuga Health System. “We are so glad that Schuyler Hospital is now associated with Cayuga Medical Center,” says Theetge. “I can’t say enough good things about it!”