Timeless January-March 2022 - Page 23

HEALTH
“ If anyone is walking through this , I want to encourage them not to give up on themselves and to tell them they can still have a good quality of life . Life does not end because of heart disease .”
manager and telemetry manager , was in charge of communicating with the family .
“ I had to set up for the family to be allowed to see her before surgery because we were making special arrangements to let them be tested , making sure they did not have any symptoms , and doing all of the checkpoint screenings ,” she recalled .
Immediately before surgery , the family visited a small space off the surgery department to spend 20 minutes with Merideth .
“ All five of her children sung a hymn to her before surgery . You have never heard such a cappella harmonizing in your life . Then , they had a prayer with her and walked out ,” Gunn said of the extraordinary moment .
The family waited in their cars until after surgery before being allowed into the lobby to speak with the surgeon .

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Over the next week , Merideth spent time in the cardiovascular recovery unit , then the telemetry unit before being discharged on April 3 .
“ The family was extremely nervous because they could not be with her . It was a very challenging time ,” Gunn said . “ Every day , I would take my iPad or my phone in her room and set it up and let her Facetime her sons and daughters .”
The family would stand outside Merideth ’ s hospital window and talk with her by cell phone relocating to the sidewalk when she was moved to the second floor .
“ We would encourage her by waving and smiling and making gestures and we would see her smiling and waving ,” Loretta Merideth said .
“ We never showed any moments of where we were just overwhelmed with care ,” she said . “ We always smiled . We always said mom you got this . You are healed in Jesus ’ name . Because she is a Christian , she would grab hold of that , and she just kept on going .”
Queenie Merideth applauded the hospital ’ s staff , especially Gunn , for all they did to help the family navigate the situation .
Merideth , herself , was less nervous about the COVID pandemic .
“ I am a Christian and I have had nervous problems before and God has always brought me through and he still does ,” she said . “ I am always praying , and I never stopped . I just prayed harder .”
Merideth recovered from her surgery over the next several months .
She still loves her gardening , cooking and decorating her home , which she picked up as a Home Interiors and Gift Company representative years ago . She also loves spending time with her family , which also includes sons , Kenneth and Landerous , and another daughter , Filista Winder , and one grandchild , Elizabeth Victoria Winder .
She and her husband George have made numerous lifestyle changes , including eating healthier and exercising more , to help her fight heart disease .
“ My dad has always been very , very active ,” Queenie Merideth said . “ Here lately , he has really been making some modifications . With my mom ’ s diet , it is kind of difficult for one person to make diet changes on their own .”
The family makes sure Merideth maintains her medications , and they never ignore any troubling symptoms she experiences .
It is important to remind senior adults they can still maintain a good quality of life even if they have heart disease , said Loretta Merideth .
“ Sometimes it can be a little scary and people get a little bit afraid to do activities or feel like they are going to overexert themselves or may cause other harm to their body ,” she said .
“ If anyone is walking through this , I want to encourage them not to give up on themselves and to tell them they can still have a good quality of life ,” she added . “ Life does not end because of heart disease .” T
Greer
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