Cheyenne Resident Has ‘Widowmaker’ Heart Attack

January 27, 2022

Damon receives life-saving care from several community members and CRMC  

Katina and Damon Tweedy: Damon underwent a cardiac catheterization at CRMC after suffering what’s known as a “widowmaker” heart attack while at work.

Damon Tweedy doesn’t remember much about November 7, 2021.

“I had a heart attack when I was at work at Walmart, but I don’t remember a lot about what happened,” he said.

Damon was told that a nurse and certified nursing assistant who were shopping at Walmart performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him until the ambulance arrived.

Damon’s wife, Katina Tweedy, also told her husband that he “coded” twice in the ambulance on the way to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC).

Damon regained consciousness while he was being treated in CRMC’s emergency department.

“I thought I’d had a seizure,” he said. Damon has experienced severe seizures for the past several years, as the result of a head injury he sustained during an auto accident.

Damon was surprised to find out he’d had a heart attack. “That wasn’t my first thought,” he said.

Damon spent several hours in the emergency department being tested and treated.

“They were waiting for a bed to become available,” Damon recalled. The bed shortage was due to CRMC having so many patients being treated for COVID-19.

That evening Damon was admitted to CRMC’s Telemetry unit, where his heart could be continuously monitored.

“I got really good care on the Telemetry unit,” he said. “Dr. [Abdur] Khan and the physician assistant and all the people on the sixth floor were really wonderful to me.”

The day after being admitted to CRMC, Damon underwent a cardiac catheterization.

“I had about a 95% blockage in one of my major coronary arteries. It’s the one they call the ‘widowmaker.’ ” During the procedure, Dr. Khan, an interventional cardiologist at CRMC, opened the blockage and stents were placed to keep the artery open.

Damon is now back at work and is also participating in CRMC’s cardiac rehabilitation program, where he exercises under supervision in a small group setting and receives encouragement as well as education about heart health.

“It’s a good program,” he said. “It’s helped me regain strength and confidence.”

Damon and Katina want the community to know they are extremely grateful for the help Damon received on November 7 and in the days and weeks after.

“It was such a comfort that they let my daughter and me stay with him,” Katina said of the three days and nights that Damon spent at CRMC. “He was agitated, especially at first, so it was nice that we could be there to reassure him.”

Thinking back on November 7, Damon said it was a good thing that he was at work when he had the heart attack. “I’d really like to find out who the nurse and CNA were so I can thank them for saving my life,” he said.

Damon is also grateful to the emergency medical technicians who revived him in the ambulance, and he wants the community to know how much he appreciates the care and treatment he received at CRMC.

“If it weren’t for all these different people who helped me, I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said.