Timeless January-March 2022 - Page 22


Navigating through a pandemic

Pearl Merideth recovers from heart procedure administered after hospital ’ s first COVID-19 patient admitted

By Glenda Sanders • Contributing Writer Photos submitted


few years ago , Pearl Merideth was surprised to learn from her physician that she had suffered a heart attack .
“ I had not realized I had had one ,” the 79-year-old Collinsville resident said .
She was still going about her daily tasks of cooking and cleaning , as well as working in her vegetable garden and flower beds .
“ I did not have pain in my chest or pain in my neck or arms . I did not have trouble breathing . I did not have any of that ,” Merideth recalled .
Her daughter Loretta Merideth said her mother ’ s symptoms were nausea and her stomach felt “ kind of hard ” around the belly button .
“ My mom just felt some minor symptoms ,” she said , “ but we did not take it lightly .”
Merideth , who suffers from diabetes , has a history of high blood pressure and had a stent put in her right leg previously to open a blocked artery and improve blood flow .
Her physician soon confirmed that Merideth , in fact , had suffered a heart attack . Pain or discomfort in the stomach is a symptom women can experience with one .
On March 27 , 2020 , a few days after Anderson Regional Medical Center had admitted its first COVID-19 patient , Merideth went into the hospital to have heart bypass surgery . During the procedure , a surgeon took blood vessels from another part of her body to re-route blood flow around the blocked arteries in her heart .
The surgery can carry risks , so family members were already stressed without adding the worry of a fast-spreading pandemic .
“ It could not have come at a worse time ,” daughter Queenie Merideth said .
The hospital ’ s newly implemented COVID lockdown restrictions kept Merideth ’ s husband of 58 years , George , and her children from being inside during the surgery . Gail Gunn , Anderson Regional ’ s clinical resource