In June 2015, while working in the garden, Billy Mixon suffered a heart attack. Mixon had been working on building a retaining wall for about four hours when he remembered he needed to mow the lawn. As usual, the Georgia sun was hitting hard and Mixon decided to take a dip in the pool. However, even the water offered little relief.
“I felt overheated,” Mixon said. “So I cleaned up my tools and went inside. Within minutes, the most excruciating pain I have ever felt [was] radiating down both arms.” The pain began to subside, and though Mixon at first refused to call 911, he consented when the pain returned only moments later.
“My daughter was working the ER so I knew I would be in good hands, and was reassured when I was told y’all would be there waiting for me,” Mixon recalled. “When I arrived, there seemed to be 20 people there waiting for me.” Mixon was quickly admitted to surgery and remembers being conscious and able to watch his surgery on the big screen. “I thought that was pretty cool,” he said.
Mixon had a 100 percent blockage in the right anterior chamber descending. He received a stent, but recalls his experience as one of comfort and positivity.
“From the time I was placed in the ambulance to when the stent relieved the pain, I remember someone’s hands always touching me,” Mixon said. “Not in a medical way, but in a soothing and reassuring way. Whispers in my ear that I was going to be okay, hard squeezes on the shoulder – your people were absolutely amazing.”
Because of the care he received at Midtown Medical Center’s cath lab, Mixon survived what is known as “the widow maker” and can continue directing the Command College at Columbus State University.