Ron is no longer in heart failure but still faces some issues, including dizzy spells and fatigue, on his path to recovery. His nephrologist is working with him to improve his kidney function.
The most drastic change Ron has made is to his diet. By changing his eating habits, he dropped 40 pounds. He is also free of headaches and the migraines that used to plague him.
“I now watch what I eat,” Ron says. “Prior to [this experience], I was just eating the worst things possible. I think I walked into the hospital at a weight of 210 pounds. I walked out at around 200 pounds, and now I’m down to around 170. No more sodas, no more juice. I think the weight loss is because of the complete 180 from where I used to be with my daily intake of food, juice drinks, and sodas.”
His family and friends have supported his “180” — while he was in the hospital, his co-workers cleaned out the unhealthy food at his desk (including a $100 order of beef jerky that arrived the day he visited the NYP OnDemand kiosk) and replaced it with chia seeds and other nutritional foods.
“The jerky was gone by the time I came back to work,” he says with a laugh.
Ron says he now chooses salads for lunch and eats grilled foods, seafood, vegetables, and “no more ‘extra cheese, extra bacon.’”
“It’s been a complete game changer for me,” he says.
While he doesn’t yet have the energy for strenuous exercise, he makes it a priority to get up from his desk at work to walk at least 30 minutes each day, and looks forward to regaining his strength and incorporating weight training and more cardiovascular exercise into his life. Ron admits he cheats once in a while, mainly when visiting his parents in Pennsylvania, where his mother makes spicy Indonesian food.
He laughs: “You’ve got to eat Mama’s cooking, right?”
Ron is also actively keeping an eye on his health with the help of portable devices that monitor blood pressure and heart rate, helping him know when he should take it easy or get up and move around.
“I’m into gadgets, so anything and everything I can use to monitor my health, I’ll go out and get it,” he says.
Ron’s journey to better health has had its ups and downs, he says. “But when you hear good news, you feel a lot more vibrant and alive. I’m getting back to that point of energy and motivation.”
He is grateful he found the NYP OnDemand kiosk that day — and for Dr. Sharma, whom he calls “Dr. Kiosk” — as well as for the care he received at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened,” he says. “That kiosk visit may have saved my life.”