Mr. Wolfgang, born in the Boston area, joined the military at the age of 17 after World War II. He drove around visiting Japanese scientists with great courage, not even carrying a gun. After one year in the military, he returned to Boston College to finish his engineering degree for free, then joined the United States Air Force where he flew jets and commercial airplanes for over 15 years. Mr. Wolfgang is known for his calm demeanor and was able to remain composed when he had to jump out of an airplane in Rhode Island, successfully navigating the procedure to operate his parachute. He was known to drink two cups of coffee during the day and maintained a high salt and sugar diet, yet remained healthy until he was 80 years old.
After being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) and osteoarthritis at the age of 80, Mr. Wolfgang was prescribed routine medication by his cardiologist. After taking the medications for a few months, he noticed his right knee pain had worsened and his hands had become more swollen. It was then that he decided to seek out alternative treatments. A patient in the waiting room of his arthritis specialist recommended he visit an acupuncturist, despite living far away in downtown Boston. An open-minded person, Mr. Wolfgang visited the acupuncturist in Needham, Massachusetts for ten weekly sessions to relieve his knee pain.
After good results with his knee pain, Mr. Wolfgang’s acupuncturist began to help him with his AF with monthly sessions and advised him to cut down his coffee intake to only one cup or decaf. Initially hesitant, Mr. Wolfgang was given two choices by his acupuncturist: continue drinking coffee and install a pacemaker with blood thinner forever or change his habit and avoid the pacemaker. At the age of 87, Mr. Wolfgang decided to cut out regular coffee completely in favor of decaf and after a few months of acupuncture treatments, his heart rate became very regular. When Mr. Wolfgang returned to his cardiologist, he was told he could stop his blood thinner and decrease his beta-blocker dosage. This made him the only patient his cardiologist has treated to stop the blood thinner for over 30 years of practice. Cutting down on his beta-blocker dosage also significantly reduced the swelling in Mr. Wolfgang’s hands.
At the age of 86, Mr. Wolfgang was convinced by his orthopedic surgeon to undergo knee replacement surgery even though he only experienced stiffness when walking up and down stairs. Although his acupuncturist advised against surgery, Mr. Wolfgang still went forward with it at the age of 87. After the surgery, Mr. Wolfgang’s right knee became swollen and formed an angle that he could hardly bend. His acupuncturist continued to help him recover, but the experience made Mr. Wolfgang hypersensitive to pain.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Wolfgang’s acupuncturist recommended he see his cardiologist to adjust his medication when he developed dizziness from standing up too fast. Cutting down on his beta-blocker dosage further eliminated his dizziness. Mr. Wolfgang also made slight changes to his diet and began drinking more water and tea after undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor in his bladder. His acupuncturist recommended that he drink more water to help cleanse his bladder, potentially avoiding a third surgery.
Mr. Wolfgang’s disciplined habits of regular exercise and sleep helped to maintain his mental and physical health, leading to him still having good vision and not developing macular degeneration or glaucoma. Despite his high salt and sugar diet, he made the necessary changes at the advice of his acupuncturist to improve his health. By changing his coffee habit and seeking alternative treatments, Mr. Wolfgang was able to avoid a pacemaker and continue living a healthy life at almost 92 years old.
Written by Li Zheng