Chancellor recovering at home after bypass surgery

By ASTRID VERDUGO

It’s been more than two weeks since Pima Community College Chancellor Roy Flores endured quadruple bypass surgery.

Flores originally planned to work from home but after talking to a cousin who experienced a double bypass surgery, he decided to abstain from work until he gets stronger.

“He said just follow the instructions to the letter and it’s gonna be fine,” Flores said about his cousin’s advice. “So that’s basically what I’m doing. I’m paying close attention to my body and making sure that I take the medicines every day and make sure that I walk every day.”

He has confidence his administrative team will lead the college efficiently during his absence.

“There’s no rush for me to get to work until I’m strong enough to do what I’ve naturally done all of my life, and that’s hard work,” he said. “I decided that at least for the first three weeks I’m not going to be thinking about work.”

Flores plans to return to PCC four weeks after his surgery.

Various factors turned planned triple bypass surgery into a quadruple bypass.

“Once they got in there, they made the judgment,” Flores said. “The physician told me beforehand that they might go for four, depending on how it looked. They did go for four, and I’m very happy they did.”

Flores jokingly said he got “the blue light special” while on the surgery table.

During his hospitalization, Flores found himself surrounded by health professionals trained at PCC.

“Everywhere I turned there was someone from Pima or had a Pima connection taking care of me and I felt really good about that,” he said. “They’re just remarkable– I’m talking about everyone from the surgeon down to the technical people on the floor.”

Flores expressed immense pride in Pima’s nursing program, emphasizing that the college has the highest passing rate in the state for the mandatory licensing exam.

“We had a pass rate of 86.7 percent and that exceeds the passing rate for the three universities and every other community college in the state,” he said. “We’re very proud of that.”

Flores, who is accustomed to running long distances, is now restricted to walking.

“The running is going to take a little time because what happens is they have to open the sternum to work on the heart and then they wire it back together,” Flores said. “The bones have to knit. It’s probably going to take a couple months before I feel like I can start running.”

He started walking right after his surgery and now completes five miles daily.

Flores expressed admiration for individuals within the health industry.

“The surgeons that deal with these very complicated matters of heart surgery are astonishingly skilled,” he said. “They can do things that seem impossible.

“So I’m very happy to share my experience with people and say that the medical profession in this country is as good as any profession that anyone can imagine.”

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