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The Beat Goes On

  • Author: Robert Castellano
  • Date Submitted: Jul 14, 2020
  • Category: Heart & Vascular

Robert knows a thing or two about a good beat. A drummer for most of his life, he understands that a steady beat is the foundation to any good song, and the same can be said for a healthy heart. Fifteen years ago, Robert’s demanding career took its toll on his health when he suffered a mild heart attack. After the heart scare, Robert knew he needed to make some major changes to save his life. Less than three months after the heart attack, he retired from his stressful job and moved north from the chaotic streets of Los Angeles to the peaceful orchards of Tulare.

Last fall, 14 years after moving to Tulare, Robert’s elevated blood pressure was making him worry so he made an appointment with Dr. Sarmad Said, a cardiologist affiliated with Kaweah Health. Robert passed heart test after test but his blood pressure remained elevated. Thankfully, he was in the expert hands of Dr. Said. “Dr. Said didn’t turn away from me. He took the time to listen to me and scheduled me for an angiogram to take a closer look.” Just as Dr. Said began the procedure, Robert’s blood pressure dropped dangerously, revealing to Dr. Said that an artery blockage was likely and heart surgery would be necessary. In the end, Robert’s heart required quadruple bypass surgery performed by Kaweah Health-affiliated Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Leheb Araim.

Now on the road to a full recovery, Robert believes he was meant to move to Tulare County to be treated by the compassionate team at Kaweah Health. “I really can’t convey the appreciation I have for Dr. Said, Dr. Araim, and the hospital’s medical staff. It wasn’t just a hospital experience. It was a people experience. I was always told by music teachers that the drummer is the heartbeat of the band, and Kaweah Health’s goal was to give me the beat back. They revive and restore lives, and I’m one of them. Those are the people who bring you back to life.”