“With my company, I had great health insurance so I have kept up with my annual physical every April but I was late this year,” he said. “I felt just fine, and I didn’t want to go to the doctor because of the coronavirus.”
Earlier in May 2020, he got a rash on his back. At first he thought it was poison oak but he wasn’t really sure how he got it. A visit to Tryon Medical Partners confirmed that Terry had shingles.
“Ed Bradford is my doctor and I have been with him for many years,” said Terry. “We have a great relationship and we talk about anything and everything.”
Dr. Bradford mentioned that Terry was overdue for his annual physical, so they took his vital signs. The nurse detected an irregular heartbeat, so they proceeded with an EKG.
“When I saw that paper full of squiggly lines, I told Dr. Bradford, ‘Don’t quit your day job, you can’t draw a straight line to save your soul!’ He told me, ‘Terry, this is one line you don’t want to be straight.’
Terry was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, meaning the two upper chambers of his heart do not pump the blood properly to the lower chambers. Usual symptoms of AFib include shortness of breath, or the feeling that one’s heart is racing or fluttering. Besides his irregular heartbeat, Terry is completely asymptomatic. If left unchecked, atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke.
“I know God brought me into the office to find that AFib,” Terry said. “I couldn’t imagine having to go to the hospital with something like that, with coronavirus out there.”
Though Terry is low risk, he and Dr. Bradford are playing it safe. Terry is on medication and has been completing stress tests to keep a close eye on his AFib.
“I tell them any time they put me on a treadmill, I want a trophy and a first place ribbon,” Terry laughs. “I am in this thing to win!”