Heart and Vascular
When Katie Headrick started feeling dizzy and weak on a Saturday morning in 2011, she decided she would go see her family physician. When she was on her way out of the neighborhood, a neighbor who happened to be a nurse stopped her to have a conversation. She told her neighbor how she was feeling, and her neighbor suggested she let her listen to her heart. After grabbing her stethoscope and listening, they ended up on the front doorstep of friend and neighbor, Dr. Ben Rester, an interventional cardiologist on staff at Forrest General.
“I had suspicions of a heart problem about a week prior, but I just didn’t think it was possible. I was active for my age and was working out and walking three times a week,” said Headrick.
Dr. Rester immediately took Katie to the Forrest General Emergency Room where they attempted to shock her heart twice to get it back into rhythm. “Dr. Rester was so serious, but so calming and comforting. He was an angel.”
She was admitted to the hospital that day and diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). “I ignored my symptoms for a while as weakness or low blood sugar. Whatever everyday problems my friends were having, I assumed I was having too, which wasn’t the case.”
Katie was placed on medications and was monitored continuously. She wore a monitor and sent in readings to the manufacturer so Dr. Rester could see and study her heart’s activity.
Eventually, she had two ablations performed to fix her AFib. After surgery, she never thought she would get her strength back, but she did.
“Every day is a gift from God, and I enjoy being busy. Before my surgery, I was afraid to go to sleep because I didn’t know if I would wake up or if my heart would give out. I knew Dr. Rester was going to do whatever it took to get my heart back in rhythm and get my quality of life back. Literally, he has my heart in his hands.”
Katie is always spreading the word about taking action when it comes to heart health. “Heart disease is a woman’s disease. We are so passionate about so many things that we often put our health on the backburner.”
One day, she found some fluttering heart pins at a local store, and she started carrying them everywhere she went and handed them out to anyone that looked 50+ and talked to them about getting checked for heart disease.
Currently, Katie takes blood pressure medication and goes to Dr. Rester’s office for check-up appointments 1-2 times a year, in addition to the times she stops in on holidays to deliver treats.
“It was not a coincidence that my neighbor stopped me that day and that Dr. Rester happened to be at home. It was divine intervention."