At least, that's the way her granddaughter tells it, and for purposes of this story, that's what matters. 

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How it began

In August, 2018, Karen was on vacation with her family in Hilton Head, South Carolina., and her 11-year-old granddaughter was excited to make dinner for all 12 people in the house.

A relevant fact to this story: A typical restaurant order of General Tso’s chicken is likely to contain as much sodium as you should consume in an entire day. But also, this wasn’t a typical restaurant order: Two bottles of soy sauce were purchased so that the dish could be prepared.

Karen noticed the saltiness of the dish but remembers that “when I went to bed that night, I was absolutely fine.”

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The next thing she remembers waking up around 3:30 a.m., unable to breathe. Her quick-thinking husband recognized the severity of the problem and got her to the hospital.

Karen, who had no family history of heart disease, was in congestive heart failure. Four pounds of fluid was drained from her lungs.

A few days later she returned to her New Albany home and went to The Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center.

While meeting with cardiologist Konstantinos Boudoulas, MD, and cardiac surgeon Nahush Mokadam, MD, at Ohio State, Karen learned she had a tear in one of her heart valves. About a month later, she had open heart surgery to repair the tear.

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Three months later

Karen has made a full recovery. Because she did not need an artificial valve replacement, her risk of needing further surgery or having complications is lower.

The care she received before, during and after her surgery was exemplary, Karen says. It’s why she and her husband made a gift to support heart research at Ohio State.

“There is a reason why Ohio State has such a fabulous reputation,” Karen says.

“This place does such a good job. You’re just treated very well,” adds Karen’s daughter Heidi.

As for the General Tso’s? Well, Karen’s granddaughter says that a story can’t have a happy ending if it never started in the first place.



How you can help

Donate by Mail

The James/Wexner Medical Center Development Office
c/o The OSU Foundation
PO Box 710811
Columbus, OH 43271-0811