Life Changing: Heart Disease came as shock for William Davis

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 30, 2015

William Davis had no history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol. He had never smoked yet one of his arteries was completely blocked and two others were partially blocked.

Davis never expected that he would have a heart condition. He was shocked.

“On March 22, 2013, I was working in Cordele, Georgia and everything was going fine, I thought,” Davis said. “I was watching basketball on television and, all of a sudden, I felt a tingling in my elbows and my arm pits. It was a feeling like nothing I had felt before.”

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The next day, Davis left Cordele around 2 p.m. to drive home to Troy. He admitted that he was uneasy about the pain he had felt.

“Really, I was scared it was my heart,” he said.

He saw his physician, who recommended an EKG. A week later, Davis was scheduled to see a cardiologist in Montgomery.

“I was given a bottle of nitroglycerin tablets and was told that, if the pain returned, to put one of the tablets under my tongue and let it dissolve,” Davis said. “If the pain did not go away in five minutes, I was to take another nitroglycerin table and, if after three tablets the pain was still there, I was to get to Baptist South and in a hurry. The nitroglycerin tablets would expand the arteries and open them until I could get to the emergency room.”

Days later, Davis was watching the NCAA basketball tournament on television when he began to feel tightness in his chest. He immediately put a nitroglycerine tablet under his tongue, then another and a third.

“The nitroglycerine wasn’t working and we left right then for Baptist South,” Davis said.

Frances Davis transported her husband from Troy to Baptist South in 31 minutes, earning her the title, NASCAR Nana, William Davis said laughing.

“We did the right thing in getting to the hospital in a hurry,” Davis said. “When you suspect you’re having a heart attack, there’s no time to waste.”
Davis was prepared for a heart cauterization that revealed one artery was completely blocked and two others were partially blocked.

“An EKG is fine if you are having a heart attack but a cauterization is the only way for doctors to determine if you have blockages,” Davis said. “They run a wire from your groin area through your heart and it shows where the blockages are if you have any.”

Davis had three stints put in his arteries to keep them open so the blood would flow more freely.

“Surgery was not required and I was one fortunate and thankful man,” he said. “I went home knowing what I had to do for my heart’s health. First, I had to eat right and, by that, it meant eating only things that swim or fly and nothing fried. I was told that pork – the ‘other white meat’ — is not healthy. It’s dangerous.

“I was to take my medications as directed and exercise by walking four to five times as week for about 45 to 60 minutes, non-stop. If I would do those things, I would protect the rest of my heart.”

Although, Davis had no history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol and was a non-smoker, he had a family history that included heart disease.

“My heart problems are heredity,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about your family history but you can take measures to protect yourself from heart disease.”

Davis said eating right and exercising are the heart healthy things to do. And, also, the smart things to do, for overall good health.

Davis is a member of the Pike County Heart Association Board and is grateful for the opportunity to help raise awareness of heart disease and monies to fund research into the prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke.

The association’s annual Survivors’ Breakfast will be Feb. 7 at Park Memorial United Methodist Church and all survivors of heart disease and stroke are invited to attend. The annual Pike County Heart Walk will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Troy Recreation Center. All of those who support the Pike County Heart Association and the American Heart Association are encouraged to attend.