INDIANAPOLIS — 57-year-old Ted Meadows spent his life working in a factory in Kokomo. The father of four struggled with heart problems for years, finally landing in the hospital in 2017.
"Finally went into the emergency room one evening and they were just about to let me go and ended up flying me down to Indy. I was almost 340 pounds,” said Meadows.
That’s when Meadows and his family learned he had an enlarged, weak heart. Meadows was given a Left Ventricular Assist Device, or LVAD. The battery operated device connects to a failing heart and helps keep it functioning. Meadows was told that eventually, he would need a new heart.
"In order to be on a transplant list you have to meet certain criteria,” said Dr. Woodrow Corey, Cardiologist and Director of Ascension St. Vincent’s Cardiometabolic and Lipid Center.
Meadows was sent to the Cardiometabolic and Lipid Center at Ascension St. Vincent for help. When we met Ted he didn't meet the criteria for that so he was take off the list,” said Dr. Corey.
Specifically, Meadows’ hemoglobin A1C score, which is a measure of your blood sugar control, was too high. As a diabetic this was a problem. He was also overweight and his Body Mass Index was too high.
A team including Dr. Corey and Stacy Harris, a Registered Nurse and Diabetes Educator, helped get Meadows back on track. Together they came up with a specialized plan that included lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, as well as helping Meadows get medicine he was unable to afford.
“A 3 month supply of insulin, even with my insurance, was over $400,” said Meadows. The clinic has special relationships with pharmaceutical companies that helped get some of Meadows medication paid for. They also enrolled him in programs for funding assistance.
In a matter of months, Meadows dropped 75 pounds and brought down his A1C score to a safe level. He is now back on the transplant list waiting for a donor heart.
Meadows says if it wasn’t for the help of the doctors and nurses at the clinic, he’s not sure what would’ve happened to him. "Just helped tremendously, without that I wouldn't have gotten my medicine and I wouldn't have been able to get back on the list,” said Meadows.