Heart health month: Eddie Praus stays active after heart surgeryAuctioneer, truck driver and musician Eddie Praus, 70, of Dickinson, woke up at 6 a.m. with a stiff arm and chest pains.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Auctioneer, truck driver and musician Eddie Praus, 70, of Dickinson, woke up at 6 a.m. with a stiff arm and chest pains.
“I told Leona I think I had a heart attack,” he said. “I was going to lay back down, but she wouldn’t let me. She gave me two aspirin and said I should see the doctor.”
Eddie talked about his experiences in keeping with American Heart Awareness Month. He just observed his one-year anniversary after having open-heart surgery.
“I drove the pickup to Sax Motor because it needed an oil change, and Leona gave me a ride to the clinic,” he said. “Two minutes later, the ambulance was sitting by the clinic door, and doctor said I was going to the hospital because I’d had a heart attack.”
Eddie was given additional tests, and medications to relieve the chest pain. Around 5 p.m., he was taken to Bismarck by ambulance.
Praus had a second heart attack around 2 a.m. at St. Alexius Hospital. Tests revealed there was sufficient damage to merit open-heart surgery.
He came through the surgery with three bypasses, but said the recovery was tough.
“He looked pretty pale and run-down,” Leona said.
Eddie went to St. Joseph’s Hospital rehabilitation services for therapy. He knew he was feeling better when he wanted to return to work.
The family owns Big D & E Auction and Praus Trucking with their sons, Delvin and Kevin and daughter, Janel. Shortly after the surgery, he went to the auction market to help out, but Delvin told him he needed to go home.
“The doctor said I didn’t have to stop talking — so I went up there and there was no problem,” Eddie said.
He waited four months before starting to drive truck or pick up his accordion to play for dances.
Eddie and Leona have pondered why he experienced a heart attack in the first place, but they couldn’t pin down a specific answer. He has a history of heart trouble, having had stents to open blocked heart arteries seven years ago.
A coronary stent is defined as a tiny wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty. The stent stays in the artery permanently. The stent will also improve blood flow to the heart muscle and will relieve chest pain (angina).
Eddie smoked, but quit 35 years ago. He’s also kept his weight down.
Leona tries to cook healthy.
“I eat anything on the table, but I watch my salt,” Eddie said.
Does he exercise?
“If he says he does, he’s lying,” Leona said.
Leona thinks it’s a combination of things.
“Stress is a big factor and the food and maybe not enough exercise — it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” she said.
When asked how he’s doing, Eddie admits he gets tired.
“He’s still wanting to do the same things as when he was in his 40s and 50s, but your age is against you,” Leona said.
Eddie’s advice is simple: “See your doctor if you have any symptoms.”
“Stay active,” Leona added. “People should go out dancing to keep themselves moving or walking — not just sit down at a restaurant for coffee.”
Because a majority of heart attacks happen in the Medicare crowd, Leona added, “It isn’t going to cost a whole bunch of money to have it checked out.”