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Colonel Gary Plumb, USAF Retired

Colonel Gary Plumb, USAF Retired
Posted on: 07/01/2020

Hear him tell his amazing story

"On the 2nd of June, I was at the gym and thought I was having a little heartburn so I got off the elliptical and thought I might try the bike for a while. Didn't get any better. I finally took my wife's advice and went to the hospital where they told me I was having a heart attack. We went right into the cath lab. From the very beginning to the very last day, care was just incredible. I quickly met with Nikki and Dee and just the brightest cheerful people, made me feel at ease right off the bat. Very quickly I was with Dr. Yandel and Jesse, and they started analyzing what was going on. I felt very comfortable. I was totally awake the whole time, watching what was going on and asking questions, and they treated me with respect, and they answered my questions. They were quite frank with their answers, which is what I would expect. But again, from the very beginning I had confidence that these guys knew what they were doing. I could see it by watching the scopes and then I heard them say, "Better call a surgeon. A blink or two later, Dr. Sandwith was there, very quickly, I understood. I could trust this guy. He very quickly established a rapport with me, talking about aircraft, and he knew that would make me feel more at ease. That contact, that care, made sure I knew that he placed value on me as a person. Likewise, he was very upfront and very frank, and clearly had a plan. And I knew I was in good hands.

The next morning, I had a quick ride down the hallway to the operating room. Everybody was cheering and talking to me so I felt pretty good. And, again, always felt very comfortable. Always felt a human connection with the people that were taking care of me. I wasn't just some number, some unknown patient. I was a person that they put value in. And that gave me a lot of strength. I knew that I had a good team of dedicated people that worked well together and that I'd be taken care of. And always with a smile, and always with more than care, just with love of another person. And it's beyond me how people such as the nurses and the physicians can do this work day in, day out, and save lives and provide that care and love that you need to survive.

Gary with his wife and FWBMC heart pillow.

I tried to thank everybody and everybody said me being here is thanks enough. And I don't believe it is. I assume that a lot of the staff get more negative feedback than they do positive. So I'm trying to provide some positive feedback that you're incredible and thank you for saving my life, but, maybe more importantly, you saved me being a part of my whole family's life. And I won't be just the old granddad that kids never knew because he died young. They're going to know who I am and I'm going to get to know who they are and it's thanks to the professional, love and care, and continuous care that I was given, because it was a little touch and go there for a while, but the whole team was focused and ready to do whatever was needed.

Dr. Sandwith was obviously in charge of making sure that everything was being done that could possibly be done, and every different specialty was brought to bear to make sure that I was okay. And, sure enough, here I am at home now, trying to get stronger every day. I have a long list of people and I can't possibly go through them right now, but it was from every level. From the CEO, Mr. Mitch Mongell, all the way down to the cleaning crews that cleaned my room and would say a short prayer. Just incredible.

So I just want to thank you for what you did for me, you're a fantastic organization. And, obviously, a lot of varied functions, nurses and various staff functions and everybody integrated together to provide such concentrated and focused professional care is just an incredible tribute to your staff, to your skill, to your love of your profession and I can't thank you enough for everything that you did for me.

Also, I was astounded with the facility - it was just immaculate. You can see yourself in the floors. That's the attention to detail and the level of total professionalism that the whole organization provides. So I just thank God I was where I was and that I ended up at the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. That I had the staff that I did. But I think regardless I would have had the same staff, I'm sure whoever, if the names had been different, they still would have been just as professional, as awesome, as caring and as loving. I think that's just representative of your organization. So thank you for who you are. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for what you did for me. Thank you for what you did for my family. I will never forget what happened, you gave my life back to me."

Colonel Gary Plumb, USAF Retired
Posted on: 07/01/2020

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