Unorthodox gift makes Valentine’s Day special

Larry and Susan Mizell
Larry and Susan Mizell are celebrating a special Valentine’s Day together this year. (Photo by Bryan Bloodworth/WJBC)

By Bryan Bloodworth

BLOOMINGTON – Little did Susan Mizell know she was giving her husband, Larry, the gift of life when she purchased a cardiac calcium scoring test for him last year.

That’s why this Valentine’s Day is so special for the Lake Bloomington couple.

“I think the scores are zero to 400 – 400 being definitely some blockages – and his came back 800,” said Susan, who purchased the test as a present.

After canceling the test once at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and despite not having any symptoms of heart issues, the physically active 64-year-old catastrophe worker for County Financial agreed to have the test performed in June.

Four days later, he was having open heart surgery to clean out three arteries that had 90 percent blockage.

“It definitely saved my life,” added Larry. “I had no symptoms whatsoever. I was a jogger and thought everything was fine. I definitely view life differently now.”

Because February is heart month, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center is offering the test at the reduced rate of $26 and people can register by calling 309-661-5170. The test measures the amount of calcified plaque in the arteries of the heart.

Susan said people should consider the test.

“We’ve been telling everyone we know that it’s the best little bit of money you’ll spend,” she said. “Insurance doesn’t cover it (and a doctor’s order is not required), but it’s at a $26 special right now. Ours cost $99, but it’s the best money we’ve ever spent.”

Larry said he’s appreciates every day even more now.

“I’ve always been real close to my (four) kids,” he added. “I think I’m ever closer now. I want to make contact with them every day.”

Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at


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