A New Voice
Awarded for his outstanding news, sports and economic reporting, Ron Kilgore has contributed more than 35 years to television and radio broadcasting. As the voice of the airwaves, Ron initially didn't view his physical appearance as a factor, but when he started to gain weight at an alarming rate, and thought briefly about the health consequences but ignored it. Ron continued to gain weight at a rapid rate, had difficulty breathing and consistently suffered from cold-like symptoms. Taking these health concerns in consideration with his age, Ron instinctively knew that his current health posed a risk of early retirement. No longer able to ignore the warning signs, Ron scheduled an appointment with his family doctor and was shocked when he left with a life changing diagnosis.
In March 2010, Ron was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Initially believing that he suffered from a severe cold, the diagnosis came as a scary surprise. Though the news seemed frightful, his family doctor reassured him that the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial could provide him with the best treatment for his heart and vascular needs.
Upon arrival to Long Beach Memorial, Ron's anxiety was calmed by the compassionate care given to him by Henry Van Gieson, MD, medical director, Cardiac Rehabilitation at the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial and his care team. As part of his hospital journey, Ron endured multiple tests and X-rays to confirm his diagnosis of congestive heart failure and to check for other possible health concerns. During a scheduled angiogram, Ron suffered a small stroke and minor heart attack. Ron didn't hesitate to let his care team know that he felt a change in his body. As Ron recalls, like a scene from a movie, Dr.Van Gieson and the care team "jumped into the ER in a matter of seconds." Within minutes, Ron was administered the plasminogen activator (tPA) drug, which completely reversed the effects of his stroke.
Following his stroke and minor heart attack Ron underwent one week of treatment, to regulate a prior diagnosis of type II diabetes and his recent diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Specifically Ron was treated with medication to lower the sugar and fatty substance levels in his blood, increase the amount of high lipoprotein and to reduce the excess amount of water in his body.
Throughout his hospital stay, Ron credits Dr. Van Gieson and his care team for providing the upmost professional and compassionate care. What stood out to him most was that his care team had a genuine interest in his well-being. He never felt as if he was a number on their list, rather he and his care team developed a partnership. Through their friendship, Ron built a trusting relationship with his care team, and valued their knowledge of his heart and vascular needs. In trusting their medical expertise, they inspired Ron to take an active role in redefining his life.
As a result of his congestive heart failure diagnosis, Ron was prompted to engage in the cardiac rehab program to increase his physical activity and balance his diet. Through diet and exercise, Ron has lost more than 60 pounds and learned how to balance his life with type II diabetes.
"A couple of years ago, I couldn't walk more than fifty feet, and I was losing my voice. My quality of life has gone from 40 to 90 percent. I have a new lease on life." Ron now participates in phase 2 of the cardiac rehab program, working out twice a week without heart and respiratory monitors.
Looking back on his journey, Ron can not thank Long Beach Memorial enough. As a token of his gratitude, he offers some of the staff a guest spot on his radio show to highlight the genius and compassionate care of Long Beach Memorial. Feeling "totally lifted, and smarter" Ron is able to enjoy his new lease on life, and continue doing what he loves…keeping his radio voice alive.