Posted by SCAFoundation on 07/17/2013
Sue Young, Tiverton, RI – 57 at time of event (2012)
Sue Young, Tiverton, RI – 57 at time of event (2012)

"I was at a birthday party one Friday night," Sue recalled. It was just after dinner at the local restaurant where Brenda's family had arranged the party in November.

"I just felt strange, I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't feel right, so I went to the ladies room." Sue then felt nauseous and a cold sweat broke out. She knew this was serious.Brenda came into the room and Sue asked her to call 9-1-1.

"It seemed like I was talking to her from inside a tunnel," Sue said. "I heard her make the call and that's the last I remember. Until I woke up at the hospital in Boston!"

Sue was still conscious when the EMTs arrived and was able to describe the pain in her arms and chest.

"Apparently, I had the first cardiac arrest outside in the ambulance," Sue described. This caused a change of plans, and the nearest hospital was ruled out. After a short stay in the local ER, where she had a second arrest, it was to be Brigham & Womens for Sue, but not by medivac. Instead therapeutic hypothermia was begun and she was driven up to Boston.

"When I was reading about [the therapy] I literally broke down and cried 'Oh my god, I lived through that?', " Sue exclaimed.

Sue had some blockages, and received a stent immediately. Later, after further tests she underwent a double bypass. Her two adult sons were there to help, although they were not prepared for the shock of seeing how close they were to losing their mother. That Christmas was a little tense, and Sue had to chastise them some, "I said, 'Really, I just get back from hospital and you're gonna argue?' "

Now, Sue is a Latin and ballroom dance instructor and her goal was to to return to the dance floor. Sue worked hard at cardiac rehab and four months later she made it back to her students.

"It felt like I had stepped into heaven," Sue explained.

She also commented on how she came to have those blockages, "Exercise was good, and I thought the diet was good. But now that [my diet] is extremely good, I know it wasn't great! And, unfortunately, I was a long time smoker. So, I do not smoke any more, and I just got my cholesterol numbers— they were phenomenal," Sue said with pride.

It's been less than a year and Sue is a little concerned about the residual affects of the heart attack and cardiac arrests. She is most worried about the issues with short term memory loss and those "foggy" feelings.

"It's not major things, just a little bout of forgetting. At first, I was making jokes about it," Sue said with a laugh.

-Jeremy Whitehead

Survivor Stories