Larry and Barbara Eldridge are self-described foodies. Since retiring a few years ago, Larry has become the “everyday” cook – preparing nourishing breakfasts, savory dinners and the most delicious coconut macaroons Barbara says she has ever tasted.

When they are not in the kitchen, the Olney, Maryland, couple lead an active life. Family is at the heart of what brings them joy. Their four children and two grandchildren regularly fill their home with laughter. And after last winter, the Eldridges are especially grateful for the everyday moments they spend together.

Last February, their lives felt anything but ordinary when Larry suddenly felt a crushing chest pain that radiated to both arms. He was rushed to Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital (now Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Silver Spring).

“It was the worst pain I have ever had in my life,” recalled Larry, 70. “I remember looking out the ambulance window and praying I’d survive the trip.”

Lifesaving Response

Cardiologist Gregory Fisher, MD, and an expert emergency heart-care team were waiting for Larry when he arrived. Larry had a complete blockage in an artery that supplies blood to two-thirds of the heart, a potentially fatal condition.

Dr. Fisher rushed Larry to the nationally recognized heart catherization lab, cleared the artery and inserted a stent, saving Larry’s life.

“When Dr. Fisher explained which artery it was, but that Larry had survived, I was in shock,” Barbara said. “Things could have ended very differently if the physicians, nurses and staff hadn’t been so well-prepared and skilled at what they do.”

Barbara and Larry emphasized that the caregivers’ professionalism and compassion comforted them during some of the scariest moments of their lives.

“All of the nurses, physicians and staff members were so knowledgeable and caring, which put our minds at ease,” Barbara said. “It was also clear that everybody had the same information and showed a tremendous amount of respect for each other, which is so crucial.”

Larry and Barbara have worked in healthcare, hospital administration and healthcare quality improvement for a combined 88 years. “We know quality healthcare when we see it,” Barbara added. “We are forever grateful to Adventist HealthCare’s remarkable team of caregivers.”

Larry Eldridge Cardiac RehabA New Way to Live

As part of his recovery, Larry participated in cardiac rehabilitation at the Center for Fitness and Health at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville. Through its comprehensive three-month program, Larry participated in medically monitored and individualized exercise instruction, education programs and nutrition counseling to help prevent progression of his heart disease.

To express their gratitude, the Eldridges donated to both White Oak Medical Center and the Center for Fitness and Health. “It was important to us that we honor the physicians and staff who saved my life and helped me make lifestyle changes to stay healthy,” Larry said. “I count my blessings every day.”

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