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Jay K's Story

Heart & Vascular Care
“If someone told me that I would have to have a bypass, I wouldn’t have believed them. My family has no history of heart problems. I’ve never considered myself inactive or overweight – this is the last thing I ever would have expected. ”

One Tough Run

Jay Kline, owner of Kline Funeral Homes, went out last August on his usual run. Even though the weather was hot and sticky, 52-year-old Kline pursued his run like it was any other day. Until it wasn’t.

“I was running, and I just couldn’t seem to get any air into my lungs. I blamed it on the August humidity,” said Jay.

The Pine River native decided to quit early, only making it about 1½ miles, and made plans to make up for his lost mileage the following day.

With his rest day from the previous afternoon in the back of his mind, Jay figured that he would have no issue reaching his normal 3 miles. This time however, he only reached a half mile.

Again, he conjured up different excuses that would explain his inability to run. Maybe he had developed a respiratory infection and had not realized it. Or maybe it was that he was another year older and his body wasn’t used to the stress. Whatever the case, the thought of a potential health problem never crossed his mind.

On his family’s recommendation, Jay went to see Rebecca Wirtz, a nurse practitioner at the CentraCare Specialty Clinic in Baxter. Upon seeing Kline, Wirtz knew that something more was going on than just the potentials Jay had described to her. She ordered a stress test, and the Kline family awaited the results.

“When he had his stress test, he very quickly had symptoms, and the abnormal changes showed,” said Rebecca. “Fortunately, we were able to get him the care he needed in a timely manner.”

Moments after the results came back, Jay and his family were off to St. Cloud Hospital. What awaited him was triple bypass surgery.

While Jay was in surgery, his family stayed in the waiting room. Jacki, Jay’s wife, said that the CentraCare staff made it a priority to check-in with the family and give them updates.

Both Jay and Jacki feel that the care they received at CentraCare was what made the entire experience just a little more tolerable.

“I would rate both St. Cloud Hospital and the Specialty Clinic in Baxter as exceptional. Even if I looked for a complaint, honestly between the clinic and the hospital, I couldn’t find one,” said Jay.

When asked what advice Jay would give to others in his position, he said practice prevention and be your own advocate in health care – it could save your life.

“If someone told me that I would have to have a bypass, I wouldn’t have believed them. My family has no history of heart problems. I’ve never considered myself inactive or overweight – this is the last thing I ever would have expected,” said Kline.