In fall of 2014, Rick Smith of Farwell began experiencing pain in his legs whenever he would walk or remain active for extended periods of time. By January of 2016, and having just turned only 39 years old, Rick found it nearly impossible to even walk to his mailbox and back without being in excruciating pain.
“I didn’t know if it was muscular or what it was. I just knew I needed help or I wasn’t going to be able to walk or get around soon,” says Rick.
Rick had always enjoyed being outside and taking care of his yard. He and his partner, Jonathan Wentworth (pictured right), also enjoyed camping, hiking, and boating together. However, because of his debilitating condition, he could no longer do those things.
“I thought that I shouldn’t be feeling this old or have this many problems. Why is this happening?” says Rick.
Rick had conveyed his pain and symptoms to his physician on a few occasions; however, he felt his physician wasn’t being receptive to his needs.
A family friend mentioned to Rick that Vascular Health Clinics in Midland might be able to help him and Rick didn’t hesitate to contact the clinic to schedule an appointment. A few days later, Rick was shaking hands with Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the clinic.
After running some tests, Dr. Haqqani determined that Rick had blockages in both his left and right common iliac arteries. These are major blood vessels that branch off from the aorta in the abdomen and transport blood to the legs.
“Dr. Haqqani was very personable,” says Rick. “I felt at ease and in capable hands from the moment I met him.”
The blockages, Rick was informed, were the result of a plaque build-up in the arteries, most likely due to his two-pack-a-day smoking habit. His legs were being deprived of the necessary oxygen and nutrients the blood supply delivers to the body’s cells and were slowly dying.
Dr. Haqqani recommended vascular intervention to restore proper blood flow to Rick’s legs.
“I was shown diagrams of what was wrong with me and Dr. Haqqani explained everything he was going to do in great detail. I had complete confidence that he would help me,” says Rick.
In an outpatient procedure performed while Rick was awake and talking to him, Dr. Haqqani performed angioplasty and inserted stents in both of Rick’s problem arteries.
“There really wasn’t any pain while he was working on me and my recovery time was quick,” says Rick.
Rick noticed an instant difference following the surgery and was walking pain-free within just a few days. Within two weeks, he was back working in his yard. “When I mowed my lawn for the first time pain-free I was just all smiles,” says Rick.
“It’s like I’ve been given a new set of legs!”
Rick can’t say enough about the quality of care he received from not just Dr. Haqqani, but from the entire staff of Vascular Health Clinics.
“The entire staff is amazing. The atmosphere is just awesome. I would recommend the clinic to anyone who is going through what I did,” says Rick. “I feel like I’m at home when I’m there.”
Having moved to Michigan from Florida four years ago, Rick hopes to move back there with Jonathan sometime in the future. He now knows that when he does, he will be able to enjoy the beach and outdoor activities that a Florida lifestyle affords.
“I certainly found it’s important to be proactive in your own healthcare. That’s why I took it upon myself to call the clinic to make an appointment myself and just do it on my own,” says Rick.
“I thank God it worked out. I’m so happy.”