Photo of Ed Gray walkign at the Cardiac Rehab Program
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30–Love in Favour of Ed Gray

Ed Gray was playing a round of tennis back in November 2013 and felt, in his words, a bit “odd”. That was not surprising, really, for a couple of reasons. For one, Mr. Gray had had hernia surgery just the month before and had certainly minimized the rest and recuperation period in favour of getting back to his favourite sport. For the other, well, Mr. Gray is 83-years-old.

Call it the wisdom that comes with age, but Mr. Gray knew enough to postpone the rest of his match and instead head to his family physician’s office.

“I just felt that if I continued playing something bad would happen,” Mr. Gray says.

After a series of tests, he was back to his favourite game a month later. In a clear case of déjà vu, Mr. Gray once again got that odd feeling. This time, since he was playing doubles and didn’t want to let down the other players, he was going to push through and finish his match. Perhaps fate intervened when a fifth player showed up, enabling Mr. Gray to gracefully bow out and head home.

As luck would have it, Mr. Gray had an appointment with a cardiologist the next day, a precaution taken after his last odd event. First thing the next morning, off he went to Southlake to see Dr. Remo Zadra at the urgent cardiology clinic, where he was asked to take a treadmill stress test and an echocardiogram.

“Now someone is going to find out what is happening to me,” he thought. What he didn’t expect, however, was that when he finished the tests, an ECG technologist would be waiting for him, all bundled up “in her winter finest”, wheelchair at the ready.

“Dr. Zadra told me I was going to the hospital for a couple of days,” Mr. Gray says, “and when I came out, my tennis game would be better.”

He was to undergo coronary angiography, angioplasty and stenting to alleviate a double blockage in his right coronary artery. One was an 89 per cent blockage and the other a 99 per cent blockage. His situation had become more urgent with the presence of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) during and after his stress test.

“Less than two hours after I saw Dr. Zadra for the first time in my life, I was in the procedure room and interventional cardiologist Dr. Lorne Goldman was performing the procedure,” Mr. Gray marvels.

One of his lasting memories is the nurse asking him his level of pain—when he had no pain.

“That’s what was so deceiving about my situation and what I caution my friends about,” he says.

Even while experiencing symptoms, Mr. Gray was never really able to put a finger on what exactly he was feeling. “It’s like taking your car into the dealer because it is making a funny noise, but not being able to explain where the noise is coming from or what is causing it,” he says.

Mr. Gray was back home just two days after that fateful tennis match. “I thought I was bulletproof before the procedure,” he says, “but I feel even better now.”

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