Cardiologist is “Superman” for “Bionic Man”

A cardiac patient is forever grateful that his long-time cardiologist is readily available and willing to help him maintain his heart health.

He had his first heart attack more than 30 years ago and Michael Holmberg says that’s when he became a fan of Dr. Wayne Gray. The cardiologist, who obtained his medical degree from Indiana University in 1966, specializes in cardiovascular disease.

That means a lot to Holmberg and his wife of 51 years, Linda.

“Dr. Gray’s expertise and dedication is why IU Health Ball Hospital cardiology department is one of the best. Heart patients also have the life maintenance care because of Dr. Gray’s leadership and caring,” said Holmberg of Gaston.

He affectionately refers to Dr. Gray as “Superman,” and Dr. Gray has been known to call Holmberg “Bionic Man,” because of the multiple devices he has to keep his heart regulated.

“My grandfather, John Holmberg was the first open heart patient at IU Health Ball Hospital,” said Holmberg, who was about 12 at the time of the surgery. His father and brother later became cardiac patients. “It’s basically something I inherited,” said Holmberg.

His first heart attack was at the age of 34. Nine years later, he had a second heart attack. He’s had three heart catheterizations in a matter of years, a coronary stent procedure and a cardioverter defibrillator implantation.

After weeks of rehabilitation, Holmberg has changed up his diet to include more fish, chicken, and, water, and vegetables and less sugar and sodium.

He also began walking five days a week – about three miles per a visit – in the rehab center where Dr. Gray comes and checks on his progress several times a week. For his consistent efforts to improved health, Holmberg has been named one of the “Dazzling Diamonds” – those clients who attend rehab 13 times in a given month.

On a recent visit, Katrina Riggin, manager of cardiac services, cardiopulmonary rehab, checked Holmberg’s blood pressure. The check was all part of the monitoring process of patients, said Riggin.

Dr. Gray was the cardiologist credited with researching and introducing the Cardiac Rehabilitation Service to IU Health Ball in 1976. The rehabilitation unit has more than 32,000 visits a year, said Riggin. Clients participate in scheduled telemetry monitored sessions and the progress to the supervised maintenance program (Phase III) and can come at their convenience.  Six participants have been honored for 20 years of participation the program.

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email