Miguel King remembers the time in his life when he woke up gasping for air. He also remembers trying to reach for his cigarette as he would usually do in the morning, but he really didn’t feel well. Instead he drove himself to the Emergency Department at Baystate Medical Center.
A MOMENT OF FEAR
“I was out of breath when I arrived at the emergency room. I was immediately placed in a room where they ran some tests and the doctors notified me that I needed to get triple bypass surgery the next day.” recalls Miguel. “That hit me like a ton of bricks and I was very scared.”
Miguel thought about his children, grandchildren and fiancée. He wanted to live so he could be around for them. ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be alright.’ These were the words Miguel recalls his surgeon Dr. Daniel Engelman saying to him before surgery. “His words comforted me and I decided to trust him and his team,” says Miguel.
During the triple bypass surgery, Engelman and his team took three blood vessels from Miguel’s legs and chest wall and inserted them around his blocked and damaged arteries.
GIVING UP AND GIVING BACK
Miguel’s surgery was successful and he continued following up with cardiologists Gregory Valania, Ashequl Islam and Timothy Egan. “I love these doctors and wouldn’t trade them for anybody because they continue taking great care of me and educating me about making healthy choices.”
“After this surgery I decided that I was done smoking and done not taking care of myself. I am happy to say that 11 years after this surgery, I’m still smoke-free,” he adds.
Inspired to give back, Miguel became a volunteer at MOCHA (Men of Color Health Awareness) in Springfield where he encourages others to play an active role in their health.
“I often share my story and it’s a joy to see my impact on those who quit smoking and drugs and begin to take care of themselves,” shares Miguel.