St. Vincent's brochures credited with saving man's life

“My first ride back on my bike was awesome. Close to the best I’ve had in my life.”

You can hear the elation in Bubba Futch’s voice when he talks about saddling up his mountain bike for the first time in nearly a month. That’s because Bubba is always going at top speed. The same goes for his work; just because he’s owner of Futch Printing and Mailing doesn’t mean he’s content to sit behind a desk all day. He keeps a breathless pace as he handles production, works on the machinery, and even makes deliveries.

A few weeks prior to his latest bike ride, however, Bubba—the unstoppable force—met the immovable object.

Chest pain.

“One Friday morning I woke up feeling a pain in my chest like I’ve never experienced before. Not like indigestion or nausea, more like someone was standing on my chest,” Bubba recalls. “I didn’t think much of it, and after about 10 minutes it went away, so I went about my morning as usual.”

About 15 minutes later the pain returned, prompting his wife, Aga, to give him some Aspirin. It was around this time some work his shop had printed for St. Vincent’s started swirling around in his mind.

“We read all the materials we get to print. We do a lot of print jobs for St. Vincent’s, so I’ve read a lot of brochures and fliers about heart attacks and stuff like that,” Bubba says. “They said you’d feel things like numbness in your arms or a feeling of indigestion, but I didn’t feel that. Still, I’d read enough to know I couldn’t keep ignoring it.”

Less than half an hour after arriving at the shop, Bubba told Aga they should go to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Riverside. An EKG reading revealed Bubba was experiencing a heart attack caused by two clogged arteries. One artery was 70% clogged and another was 90% clogged. Within minutes, he was riding a wheelchair to the cath lab to have two stents placed.

Nurses were shocked at how quickly he responded to his own symptoms—most folks ignore the telltale signs of heart trouble until it’s too late. Thankfully, Bubba’s ability to recall old print materials meant he knew better. 

Only an hour and a half after pulling up to the ER, Bubba was resting in a hospital room. The man who barely stops to breathe at work recognized the same tireless effort in those who helped him that day.

“I was never really worried, even when I was being rolled to the cath lab. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing, and that made me so comfortable. I was just really impressed with how things were being handled.”

Bubba was home from the hospital by Sunday and ready to go back to work on Monday. The third-generation owner of Futch Printing and Mailing had already missed a conference that weekend thanks to his impromptu hospital trip; he didn’t want to miss more work.

But Aga wasn’t having it.

“I wasn’t actually cleared to go back to work until about a week later. Aga made sure I stayed in bed and rested for that first week despite my protests,” Bubba admits with a laugh. “Once I was cleared, it was still light duty for a while.                                                                                                     

Bubba has since returned to work and is back to his brisk pace. His heart feels better, but he knows he still needs to manage his health. At 55, the more raucous years of his youth have caught up to him.

Still, that hasn’t stopped him from living life the only way he knows: top speed.

“I rode 15 miles on my bike just last night. And I’ll be riding down a mountain in North Carolina soon,” Bubba says. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to go even faster now that I have clear arteries.”