Bill and Patty McGough have been happily married 38 years. Bill says, "I have 3 kids and 2 grandkids. So, certainly, there's a lot to live for," including a little more than a year ago when Bill had quintuple bypass surgery. He says he couldn't have done it without patty by his side, ""I would have to say the biggest thing is just helping me do things, insisting that she do some things, so that I wouldn't do them." Patty added, ""You just realize how much you turn to your spouse for. Small things, little emotion nudges during the day and it was very strange not to have him."
Helping one's spouse after surgery is a key factor in a study that looks at survival rates among bypass patients. Doctor Kathleen King with the University of Rochester school of nursing led that study. She tracked 225 coronary bypass patients over the course of 15 years, "Overall, if you were married you were more likely to survive 15 years later but if you were happily married, the numbers were even higher." Specifically, 83 percent of both happily wedded wives and husbands survived. That's compared to a 28 percent survival rate among women in unhappy marriages and 27 percent of unmarried women. Doctor King offers this analysis, "They had more help from their spouses and were more willing to engage in the behavior changes they needed to do to survive." Bill McGough added, ""I probably would've done something I shouldn've have done. It would have slowed the recovery. I could've hurt myself. I could've stretched something."
One year later, Bill continues to be in good health, something he owes to his doctors and his better half.