To say that Midland residents Charles and Denise Melchi love to dance would be an understatement. It has been their passion since they met and married nearly three decades ago. However, when Charles started to feel aching in his legs and found it hard to remain on them for extended periods of time, it appeared the couple’s passion might be taken away from them.
“I didn’t know who could help me with my legs,” says Charles.
Fortunately, Charles was previously treated during an emergency room visit by Dr. Omar P. Haqqani, MD, Chief of Vascular Surgery at Vascular Health Clinics. Dr. Haqqani was called in to assess the severe stomach pain that Charles was experiencing and performed an emergency aortobifemoral bypass to address a life-threatening blockage in Charles’ aorta.
“Dr. Haqqani saved my life!” says Charles.
So when Charles began having difficulty walking, he thought of Dr. Haqqani and wondered whether he could help him with his legs. They had debilitated to the point that he was relegated to using a walker to safely get around.
He could no longer enjoy woodworking and tinkering with his electronics or spend time at his trailer in Houghton Lake. Worst of all, he couldn’t dance with his beloved Denise.
Dr. Haqqani determined that plaque build-up, likely due to decades of smoking, was causing blockages in the major blood vessels in Charles’ legs. Charles had peripheral vascular disease, meaning, essentially, that his legs were not receiving enough oxygen and nutrients through the blood supply. His legs, in a sense, were starving and slowly dying.
Peripheral vascular disease causes painful cramping, achiness, and fatigue in the affected limb. This tends to increase with activity and subside at rest. If left untreated, non-healing wounds and gangrene can occur. In extreme cases, limb amputation may be necessary.
Over the course of four visits – two for each leg – to Vascular Health Clinics in Midland, Dr. Haqqani performed a series of procedures, including laser atherectomy, angioplasty, and insertion of stents to improve blood flow in Charles’ legs.
“There was really no pain during the procedures and recovery was very simple,” says Charles.
Within a few weeks of the final procedure, Charles had ditched the walker and he and Denise were gliding across the dance floor to their favorite song, “Satin Sheets.”
“When we got out there they cleared the dance floor to watch us go,” says Charles.
Now several months removed from his final procedure, Charles is spending time at his trailer in Houghton Lake again and enjoying his woodshop, as well as tinkering with his electronics.
“We met when he was 55,” says Denise. “He’s back to doing everything he did back then.”
At age 83, Charles understands that 64 years of smoking has taken a toll on his body. He only quit three years ago. However, he feels he has a new lease on life and many years of dancing with Denise ahead of him.
“I’m the one that destroyed myself with nicotine,” says Charles. “Dr. Haqqani was God sent. I praise him for what he did for me. I’m not using a walker. I’m dancing. Sure there may be things I can’t do, but I’m 83!”