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Crusaders With Heart

Mended Hearts of Vero BEach/Indian River County provides support and encouragement for victims of heart disease

The sun is barely up when Joe Distasio phones the Progressive Care Unit at Indian River Memorial Hospital. The charge nurse is expecting his call. He or one of his colleagues calls the unit each morning, and each da they are seeking the same information. They want to know if there is anyone on the floor who would benefit from a visit. On this particular day, there is.

Tall, handsome and suntanned, Jow and his wife Lillian arrive at the foot of the bed, the image of a healthy, happy couple enjoying retirement. THe patient is an 83-year-old man. he is scheduled to transfer to ORlando for an angrioplasty later that day and is sleeping. THe nurse wakes him. "He needs to talk," she says. He appears frail and shifts uncomfortably in bed. Joe keeps the introductions brief, introducing himself and his wife and then says, "I've been through a quadruple by-pass myself."

It si then that the frail man, obviously ridden with anxiety, begins to cry. He admits to his dears, says he's been depressed, says he's wrier about what life will be like with heart disease. Lillian smiles. "Just look at Joe," she says, "He plays golf three days a week and chases me around the house the rest o the time. The only problem is, he doesn't know what to do with me when he catches me!"

Read the entire article in the Summer 2001 issue