Bubba Futch is in his fifties and the third-generation owner of Futch Printing and Mailing in Jacksonville, Florida. He recalls the day he had a heart emergency.
“I was never really worried, even when I was being rolled to the cath lab. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and that made me so comfortable. I was just really impressed with how things were being handled.
One month later, Bubba was back in the saddle (of his mountain bike). “My first ride back on my bike was awesome. Close to the best I’ve had in my life.” The same goes for his work at Futch Printing and Mailing. He keeps a breathless pace as he handles production, works on the machinery, and even makes deliveries.
Bubba remembers the day when he experienced an unstoppable force -- chest pain.
“One Friday morning I woke up feeling a pain in my chest like I’ve never experienced before. Not like indigestion or nausea, more like someone was standing on my chest,” Bubba recalls. “I didn’t think much of it, and after about 10 minutes it went away, so I went about my morning as usual.
About 15 minutes later the pain returned, he prompted his wife, Aga, to give him some aspirin. It was around this time something he had just printed for St. Vincent’s Riverside started swirling around in his mind.
“We read all the materials we get to print. We do a lot of print jobs for St. Vincent’s, so I’ve read a lot of brochures and fliers about heart attacks and stuff like that,” Bubba says. “They said you’ll feel things like numbness in your arms or a feeling of indigestion, but I didn’t feel like that. Still, I’d read enough to know I couldn’t keep ignoring it.”
Less than half an hour after arriving at the shop, Bubba told Aga they should go to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Riverside. An EKG reading revealed Bubba was experiencing a heart attack caused by two clogged arteries. One artery was 70 percent clogged and another was 90 percent blocked. Within minutes, he was riding a wheelchair to the catherization lab to have two stents placed in his coronary artery.
He says the nurses were shocked at how quickly he responded to his own symptoms—most folks ignore the telltale signs of heart trouble until it’s too late. Thankfully, Bubba’s ability to recall the printed materials meant he knew better. Within 90 minutes after pulling up to the emergency room,
Bubba was resting in a hospital room after the heart procedure. This man who barely stops to take a break at work recognizes the same tireless efforts among the St. Vincent Heart Team and all those who helped him that day. Bubba was home from the hospital by Sunday and ready to go back to work on Monday. The third-generation owner of Futch Printing and Mailing had already missed a conference that weekend thanks to his impromptu hospital trip; he didn’t want to miss more work.
But Aga wasn’t having it.
“I wasn’t actually cleared to go back to work until about a week later. Aga made sure I stayed in bed and rested for that first week despite my protests,” Bubba admits with a laugh. “Once I was cleared, it was still light duty for a while.
Bubba has since returned to work and is back to his brisk pace. His heart feels better, but he knows he still needs to manage his health. Still, that hasn’t stopped him from living life the only way he knows: Top speed.
“I rode 15 miles on my bike just last night,” says Bubba, and he looks forward to every ride he can make down a mountain in North Carolina. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to go even faster now that I have clear arteries.