my story

my story

 It was a friday morning November 6th, 2009 and I was getting ready to take kids to school and my husband was getting ready for work. He told me wasn't feeling well and was laying on the bed. He complained of severe chest pain radiating down his right arm. When I touched him he was cool and clammy. He seemed very short of breath. I told him we needed to go to the hospital. We live in the country and our address is hard to find so driving him seemed the fastest way to get him there quickly. I hollered at our middle son to sit with him while I got my shoes on. I helped get him into the truck and headed for town.

  I kept my cell phone in my hand and kept talking to him as he seemed to being drifting in and out of consciousness. I made it as far as a trailer court where he insisted I stop. I helped him into the a trailer where he had finished just finished a remodel job. He insisted he needed to go to the bathroom. I was helping him back to the truck when I turned and I knew instantly something was terribly wrong. I helped him down to the floor while calling 911.

  My husband vomited and went unconscious within seconds and started having trouble breathing. He went stiff, what as a nurse I call posturing. I had gone through this type of thing in the medical field, but not with someone I love. I lost my grip and thank god for the awesome dispatcher on the other end of the phone he brought me back to reality. My husband had quite moving and no longer was breathing on his own. I immediately start CPR. I had put my phone down and was telling the dispatcher what was going on. It seemed like an eternity before help arrived. A police officer was the next thing I saw on his knees ready to help. We started 2 man CPR. The ambulance arrived and they took over while I made phone calls to kids, parents etc. They were doing everything they could and working with the heart team at Good Samaritan via radio. I don't remeber much after I turned and they were shocking him. They did this twice before loading him for the drive to the hospital. I tried to drive and realized I was in no shape to drive and my husbands middle son pulled up next to me and I rode with him to the hospital not knowing what was going on.

 I had called all the kids and everyone of them was at the hospital waiting when we arrived. Sister Rose was with them. She was a marvelous women that did not leave our side and prayed with us each time the nurse came and gave us an update. When they came and said they had to resume CPR for the 3rd time we all joined hands and prayed our hardest. The next words we heard were we have a heart rate and a pulse. He was taken to the cath lab and no blockages were found. He then went to ICU where they put his body into a hypothermic state at 86 degrees. This helps the body to recover. WIthin 4 hours he had kidney function again. The next 4 days were very long. Waiting to see what kind of damage there would be when he woke up. His heart was functioning at 35%. They had inserted a balloon pump to help his heart work so that it was not doing all the work and could try and regain what was lost. He spiked a high fever and the doctor determined he had aspirated and had pneumonia.

 On Monday November 9th they started to wean him from the vent and wake him up. I cried when he looked at me and could answer questions with a nod of his head. It was the best day of my life to his baby blue eyes. After extubation his voice was raspy and weak. We helped him eat since he was so weak and shaky. The medicine he had been on causes short term memory loss which was noticalbe right away. The next day he moved to PCU and later that week had a pacemaker /defibilator placed. The cardiologist determined it was an electrical problem and the only way to be sure he wouldn't suffer the same incident was to have the device placed.

  I learned that he had actually died 3 times from the ER report. He was down without the required oxygen needed by the body for almost 2 hours from the time I started CPR until the heart rate and blood pressure were regained in the ER. It has been a little over 2 months since our lives changed. He suffers short and long term memory problems and also has shaking and jerking of his upper extremeties. He is able to work only 4 hours a day. His body wears out fast. Somedays are better than others.

  Life can change in the blink of an eye. We have learned this the hard way.  We have learned to appreciate the little things in life. Life takes on a whole new meaning for us. We have learned that making time for ourselves is very important because who knows what tomorrow will bring. The laundry and dishes can wait. Take the time to sit and enjoy those you love because only God knows when they may be taken from you. God decided it wasn't my husbands time and I thank him everyday for giving him a second chance at life. Most people who suffer sudden cardiac death aren't as blessed. I thank go for giving me the opportunity to be there for my husband and giving me the skills to save his life. He is my miracle man and he calls me is guardian angel.  Trust in God he will see you through the darkest times.  

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The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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