Tim’s Story

A heart attack survivor returns to health

Tim Adamiak wasn't sure what was happening to him that night in August 2022. "I felt a sickness that I hadn't felt before," he said. "I knew something was wrong."

Tim, an active and fit cattle rancher as well as a Type 2 diabetic, was home alone. He experienced severe vomiting, episodes of dizziness and passing out, and his blood sugar level soared to more than 300 mg/dL.

When he drove himself to Adventist Health Sonora the next morning, he was so weak that he had to crawl into the Emergency Room. The ER staff immediately recognized that he was in serious distress, and from that moment on, his care proceeded "like clockwork."

"I can't say enough about the Emergency Room treatment I got at this hospital," Tim said. "They were spot on and quick and got things moving." Tim doesn't remember the names of the doctor or others in the ER who cared for him, but says he has a "list of people who really saved my life."

Tests determined that he was having a heart attack. He was transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where he underwent successful triple bypass surgery.

"I didn't have the typical symptoms of a heart attack, such as pressure, pain and shortness of breath," he said of that August night. It's only in hindsight that he and members of his family recognized that he had symptoms in the days leading up to his heart attack.

"In the days before the incident, I was feeling tired and had to take a lot of breaks," he said. His daughter remembered him being short of breath and not feeling well, and his wife noticed he was napping a lot.

While Tim was aware of the potential for cardiovascular complications as the result of his diabetes, he felt he was keeping on top of his condition with medication and regular visits with his primary care provider. Looking back, he wishes he would have been more proactive about his heart health.

Now he is.

After recuperating for a few weeks at home, Tim joined Adventist Health Sonora's cardiac rehabilitation program, a 12-week program designed to help patients regain confidence and quality of life through exercise and education on a number of health-related topics.

Tim, who prefers a walk outside to a walk on a treadmill, at first was put off by the gym equipment, but his outlook soon changed.

"I look forward to going there," he said of cardiac rehabilitation, "and I'm going to miss it when it's over."

Tim credits the cardiac rehabilitation team with restoring full range of motion in his right shoulder, which was impaired by soreness from surgery. He also saw noticeable increases in his stamina and strength each week, which gave him both the ability and the confidence to return to his ranch chores.

"The best experience out of all of this was cardiac rehabilitation. It really made a big difference," he said, noting that he considers the cardiac rehabilitation staff his friends. "They're really special people."

Tim also expressed gratitude for the medical care he received: "My case was perfect all along."