Janis Fletcher Received the Critical Cardiac Care She Needed

October 12, 2020

One night earlier this year, Janis Fletcher began to feel sharp pain in her shoulders. An active volunteer, city worker and 19-year breast cancer survivor, she initially assumed it was the result of overwork or a lingering side effect of her chemotherapy. The next day at work, still not feeling herself, she decided to schedule an appointment with her primary care doctor.

Heart attack survivor Janis Fletcher working out in Physical Therapy

Fletcher met with her doctor via Zoom that afternoon and explained the pain she was feeling. Despite her having no chest pain or shortness of breath, the doctor suggested an EKG just to be safe. It was on her drive back to work that her doctor called and told her she was having a heart attack and needed to visit the nearest emergency room right away.

Safe Care During a Pandemic

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic starting to peak, the emergency staff at Texoma Medical Center (TMC) took Fletcher’s condition very seriously and immediately got her the care she needed. She spent six days in the intensive care unit before receiving open-heart surgery, and then another 18 days recovering in the stepdown unit.

Fletcher said throughout her stay, every care provider was there when she needed help. At one point, she experienced an atrial fibrillation, to which two nurses immediately responded. “It felt like a horse galloping in my chest,” she recalled. “They knew about the issue before I did. They set up an IV drip and one of them stayed with me until my heart rate went back down.”

Fletcher continues to visit TMC for physical therapy. She returned to volunteering at Women Rock, Inc., a nonprofit organization for breast cancer survivors, and looks back on her heart attack and treatment at TMC as a reminder that every day is a blessing.

“From the moment I walked up to the ER until the day they took me down in the wheelchair for home, I was treated professionally, promptly and kindly. This meant so much to me! I'm feeling stronger and spending my time taking it easy per the doctor's orders.”