Persistence pays off for Darren Dykstra

Darren Dykstra of Oskaloosa has always been well aware of his family’s history of heart disease and major cardiac issues. Because of this, he has been proactive in keeping his heart healthy.

“I don’t smoke, I’m fairly active and I try to eat right,” Darren explained. “My father passed away from a massive heart attack and my mother had triple bypass surgery. And it goes back further with grandparents. It seems like each generation of the family has had heart issues.”

After finishing graduate school in Alaska, the Oskaloosa native moved back home. Since his father’s family is from Pella, Darren choose to doctor there.

Darren, who works in Human Resources at Musco Lighting, has been very active coaching football in the region. He was an assistant coach at Pella Christian, then in Albia, and he recently completed his first year in Oskaloosa.

About a year ago, although unconfirmed, he believes he suffered his first heart attack. “I came back from walking and my wife and I were sitting on the couch,” Darren explained. “My jaw was hurting, I was feeling burning in my chest, and my left arm was very sore. I really felt sick. I told my wife we should go to the hospital, so we drove to Pella.”

Darren’s EKG came back normal and his blood pressure and heart rate were good. The blood draw was normal. He was sent home with more questions than answers.

In late September of this year, almost a year after his visit to the Pella emergency department, Darren drove home from football practice. He was sitting in his garage and felt pain in his left arm, burning in his chest and jaw soreness. In addition to these same symptoms he had experienced a year earlier, heavy sweating was added to the mix.

“I told my wife that I wanted to go to the Oskaloosa hospital,” Darren said. “Once again, my EKG and blood work up was normal, as was my blood pressure and heart rate. It felt like I had acid reflux, so they gave me something for that, but the burning in my chest didn’t go away. It was only after I had a two nitroglycerin pills that I started to feel better.”

Darren’s emergency room physician, Dr. Amanda Moreno, told him something wasn’t checking out. She recommended he be admitted overnight so he could be monitored and the initial tests could be repeated later in the evening. Darren said he was feeling good after the nitroglycerin pill, but agreed with Dr. Moreno’s recommendation. “She felt strongly that I shouldn’t go home right then, so I listened to her, and boy, am I glad I did.”

Amanda Moreno, DO

Dr. Amanda Moreno has been serving our community in the Mahaska Health Partnership Emergency Department since April 2013.

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Case Everett, MD

Family Practice Physician Case Everett, MD, practices full-time at the MHP Medical Group, providing primary care to all ages and also delivering babies. Dr. Everett is originally from New Sharon and is passionate about serving his home community. Dr. Everett chose Family Practice with obstetrics because he knew there was a need for obstetrical providers in rural Iowa and wanted to provide an all-encompassing medical practice to his patients.

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