In August 2016, Carol Biroschik woke up one morning with pain in her neck, jaw and down both of her sides.
“I had worked outside in my flower bed the day prior, so I thought it might have been aches and pains from doing that,” Carol, a Streator native, said.
But when Carol’s pain persisted and worsened into the afternoon, her husband, Steve Biroschik, a retired General Electric emergency response coordinator, suggested she call her primary care doctor, Dr. Cynthia Cabalfin, an OSF HealthCare internal medicine provider.
Dr. Cabalfin suggested she go to the OSF Center for Health – Streator Emergency Center to get checked out immediately.
Steve and Carol arrived at OSF Center for Health – Streator Emergency Center. They were getting checked in when Carol started having intense, sharp pains.
Carol was quickly taken to a room where she listed her symptoms for Dr. Glenn Aldinger, emergency center physician. He immediately ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG).
“Dr. Aldinger came flying back in the room after reviewing my EKG results, and he said, ‘You are having a full-blown heart attack.’”
Dr. Aldinger and the emergency room nurses stabilized Carol and immediately called OSF Life Flight to take her to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. She was rushed to surgery, where she had two stents put in to restore blood flow to her blocked arteries.
“I was out of surgery and in recovery before Steve even made it from Streator to OSF Saint Francis,” Carol said.
Recovery at home
Today, Carol is living life to the fullest with her husband, their two grown children and their grandchildren. She now utilizes the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at OSF Center for Health – Streator to help with her recovery. The program includes a combination of exercise and educational sessions with a skilled cardiac nurse three days a week, following an individualized treatment plan for her specific condition and goals.
“The most common heart attack symptoms include pain or discomfort in the chest, arm or shoulder; shortness of breath; jaw, neck or back pain; and lightheadedness,” said Dr. Brian Rosborough, Regional Director of OSF Medical Group, I-80 Region. “If you experience any of these symptoms, go to your nearest emergency room immediately. Many people don’t realize they are having a heart attack because some start off mild and become increasing more intense.”
Prior to her heart attack, Carol had never had any issues with her heart. She encourages everyone to learn the signs of a heart attack and seek help immediately if you are having any symptoms.
“I tell everyone I am OSF’s biggest fan. The staff at OSF Center for Health – Streator Emergency Center and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center saved my life – they are my saints and angels,” Carol said. “I would recommend OSF to anyone.”