Heart-shaped potato proves to be life-saving omen
By Tom Mitchell
Published: Monday, June 4, 2012, 1:28 a.m.
MANOR -- Ed Taladay never imagined that a lowly potato would be a harbinger of things to come.
A little more than a month ago, Taladay and his wife, Hope, went for Sunday dinner in their son's home. Taladay's daughter-in-law, Renee, opened a bag of potatoes and pulled out a potato that was shaped like a heart. No one there imagined that the unusual shape of the potato could be an omen.
During the dinner, Taladay said, he had a dull pain in his left shoulder. He said that the day before he had been using lopping shears to prune bushes and grapevines.
"I attributed the pain to my work the day before and basically ignored it, thinking it would go away," he said. "Otherwise, I felt fine and we had an enjoyable dinner."
The next day Taladay noticed that he felt tired, and the dull ache turned into a sharp pain. The pain became so intense that acting on his doctor's advice he went to ACMH Hospital.
"By then the pain was getting worse and going all around my chest and into my back," he said.
After an initial exam at ACMH, Taladay was transported to Allegheny General Hospital. There, he met Dr. Stephen Bailey, director of cardiac surgery. Bailey informed him of the seriousness of his situation and recommended immediate surgery. Taladay had what is known as the "widow maker," a serious blockage of the heart vessels. The Allegheny General medical team also discovered that Taladay's blood sugar was seriously elevated, coming in at 290.
It was determined that his heart vessels were blocked by at least 80 percent, so Taladay had triple bypass surgery.
"Not many people survive the widow maker," he said. "I'm lucky and thankful to be alive."
In less than a week, Taladay returned home to recuperate. During that time, he received more than 100 get-well cards from friends, family members and co-workers.
However, Taladay learned that there was yet more to his survival story to come. On his 68th birthday, May 17, Taladay returned to Allegheny General to receive a unique "birthday gift" -- a pacemaker.
"The folks at Allegheny General were simply wonderful," he said. "And Dr. Bailey, who in my opinion is a brilliant surgeon, saved my life. But I also have to thank the Good Man above, too. My family has been quite supportive and understanding. I'm so thankful for everything and thankful to be alive.
"If anyone ever has unusual pain in the chest or arm, don't ignore it. We joked about the heart-shaped potato, but as it turned out, it really was an omen, but perhaps a good one."
Taladay hopes to return to work at the Community Action Agency and hopes to resume serving as a member of the board of directors at the Mechling Shakley Veterans Center. He said his recovery is slow, but he's making good progress. He and his wife are looking forward to more Sunday dinners with their son and daughter-in-law.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Riverhawks take long view of new school site
- Kittanning youths OK after Route 422 crash
- Town hall set on water
- Punxsutawney man pleads guilty in 2011 fatal crash
- Councilwoman seems to avoid ouster in W. Kittanning
- West Kittanning council shakes up water authority board
- von Trapp bringing her sound of music to Ford City
- Woman dies in Kittanning house fire
- Neighbors say bright, flashing sign in West Kittanning interferes with sleep
- Banner year for potholes across Armstrong County
- Kittanning officials plan street repairs