Kootenai | Kootenai Health | Issue 4, 2023

KH.ORG 15 Comprehensive and compassionate See how Kootenai Clinic Cancer Center can help you. Visit KH.org/cancer. Today, Mike and Jane are excited about what feels like a new beginning. Mike is working on a book, and they are planning a “victory cruise” with their family. Learon Tidwell and his granddaughter, Savannah On July 31, 2023, a bone marrow biopsy showed Jane has no evidence of leukemia. Just two days later, on Aug. 2, Mike was invited to ring a special bell in the Kootenai Clinic Cancer Center reserved to help celebrate those who have finished their cancer treatment. “God blessed us with the most amazing people throughout our medical journey,” Mike said. “Dr. Gay and physician assistant Megan Whitmore are top of the line, and our nurses, the people doing our intake, the people at the front desk, and the volunteers were amazing. They were all so patient and kind.” Today, Mike and Jane are excited about what feels like a new beginning for them. They are planning a “victory cruise” with their family. A published author, Mike is looking forward to his second book. “I feel like everything has been on hold, and now it’s like when I was a kid at the playground standing by the merry-go-round,” Jane said. “We’re looking for that space to jump back on.” LifeFlight transported Learon to Kootenai Health, where he was immediately intubated and admitted to the ICU. After stabilizing him, Eric Wallace, D.O., medical director of interventional cardiology at Kootenai Health, performed a cardiac catheterization. “It’s important for the public to know CPR,” said Dr. Wallace. Without Charlsie’s intervention, “her dad would have died.” ‘God was there with us’ Two days later, Robert Burnett, M.D., medical director of cardiothoracic surgery at Kootenai Health, performed an open-heart coronary artery bypass graft on Learon in the cardiovascular operating room. “Kootenai Health has a whole team of cardiologists, CT surgeons, cath lab team and more on call 24/7. Our staff works well with each other, placing each patient’s needs above everything else,” said Dr. Wallace. “We have capable medical facilities that are up to date and available for medical emergencies, which is something our recent Heart Center expansion accomplishes.” Today, Learon is at home resting with his wife of 48 years by his side. “Our 50th wedding anniversary is coming soon. I had to stick around for that,” a tearful Learon joked. Learon and Peggy are eager to thank their entire care team at Kootenai Health. “Everyone was so incredibly generous, kind and attentive,” said a grateful Learon. “I’ve told Dr. Burnett that ‘thank you’ is so inadequate for what he did for me.” “We’ve gone over and over it again so many times,” said Peggy, describing how everyone was in the right place at the right time to save Learon’s life. “God was there with us the whole time. There’s just no other explanation.”