When Joseph Raineri of Berrien Springs woke up one November morning feeling congestion in his chest, he thought his discomfort was the beginning of pneumonia.
However, when Joseph went to the Emergency Department at Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles, staff members immediately knew that his pain was a sign that his heart was in serious trouble.
An angiogram revealed that Joseph had three blocked arteries and that his heart was working at just 15 percent capacity. Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Kourosh Baghelai told Joseph that surgery was risky with his heart so weak, but that it was also necessary to save his life.
Looking back at his surgery now, Joseph remembers feeling confident that he was in good hands with his cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Shawn Tittle, and the rest of the
Lakeland team. Within the next week, he was able to return home. Three months later, after making progress in his cardiac rehabilitation program, Joseph learned that his heart was functioning at 40 percent capacity.
In the year after his surgery, Joseph’s life has returned to normal. An avid bicyclist, he
credits his hobby with keeping his heart from failing prior to the surgery, and continues his regular rides through southwest Michigan.
“I’m doing everything I want to do, and I
owe it all to the people who took such incredible care of me at Lakeland,” says Joseph. “After the surgery, I couldn’t believe I was alive. Now, every day is brighter and
better than the day before.”