Larry O’Neal, farmer of 29 years, knows the importance of staying hydrated on those long, hot South Georgia summer days.
That’s why it came as a surprise when he began to feel fatigued and experienced shortness of breath. And then, he fainted—all symptoms disguised as dehydration.
A month later while driving a corn combine, O’Neal passed out again.
But for O’Neal it was more than a tall drink of water that the doctor ordered.
“My worker called the ambulance,” said O’Neil. “The EMT asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I quickly said no, but soon after, I passed out again. So they took me straight to Archbold where I spent four days under the care of cardiologist James S. Karas, MD.”
Diagnostic testing confirmed that an abnormal heart rhythm was the root of O’Neal’s problem. Dr. Karas recommended surgically implanting a pacemaker in O’Neil’s chest to assist with regulating his heart beat.
“Dr. Karas is great. He explained to me that my pacemaker would send electrical pulses to prompt my heart to beat at a normal rate,” said O’Neal. “It’s comforting to know that if my heart stops beating again, the pacemaker will pick up right where it left off. It’s a relief.”
O’Neal has since returned to working on his farm.
“I feel great,” said O’Neal. “I’m so grateful for Dr. Karas. We’re very fortunate to have great doctors and such a wonderful hospital in Thomasville.”
Every three months O’Neil visits the Pacemaker Clinic at Archbold’s Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center where specialists check the device and monitor his heart’s performance.
Archbold provides this follow-up care for patients post-surgery to ensure their device continues to perform optimally.
“The staff at Archbold’s Pacemaker Clinic is great. They really care about me,” said O’Neal. “It’s really like visiting family every time I come.”