Posted by drakegirl2 on 05/15/2013
Julie Stone, Des Moines, IA – 54 at time of event (2012)
Julie Stone, Des Moines, IA – 54 at time of event (2012)

Life can be stressful, and we all have ways to relieve it. For Julie the choice was not obviously dangerous, how could it be? iPod and sneakers, pounding the pavement in the local neighborhood and she went down. Face down that is, just a block from her home. The neighbors were shocked to see it happen and especially when they realized Julie had no pulse, and no breaths. But, they immediately called 9-1-1.

"Within a very short timeframe a police officer arrived and he started a shock. After that one shock, the EMTs arrived," Julie explained. "They put me on the machine [AED/Monitor] and I was shocked six or seven more times. At the hospital they put me on a Lucas CPR machine and started the hypothermic [treatment] immediately."

Gary, her husband the pilot, was flying back from Seattle and didn't know that his wife was in a critical condition in the emergency department. When he got home later that evening to an empty house, he thought she might be out shopping. Her phone was on the table so he couldn't call her. Then a neighbor called and asked how Julie was doing...

He took off to the hospital and asked if his wife was there. They had no Mrs. Stone, but said earlier that afternoon a "Jane Doe" had been admitted.

"My name, Julie, was on my iPod so that's how they knew there was a Julie. That was the only thing they went by. So he had a pretty rough night."

Two weeks later Julie was back home and thinking it never happened.

"I came home on a Monday and felt great. Most of the time I think it didn't make any sense that I was even in the hospital! Which, I guess, is kinda irrational," Julie said with a laugh. She was in the best shape ever, having started rowing and could even do a whole hour on the elliptical machine. However, it is hard for her to deny the event since she now has an ICD implanted in her chest. The bump and scar don't bother her, but the nuisance shock did.

"That's when everything came to a head, I was feeling so good and then it hit me." It was during a walk, she felt something odd in her throat and then bam! "I didn't go down or anything. There was a woman standing there and she asked 'Are you OK?' I said I was fine but I've just had this shock, which is kinda scary so I'm gonna call my husband." The woman's husband is a physician and took her inside to sit her down and take her blood pressure and listen to her heart. "I felt fine, it just shocked me!" Julie exclaimed. "It was a big thump in the chest, with a little spark feel."

Julie wasn't the only one to have to deal with these unexpected shocking events. "I had my daughter call me one time out of the blue to see if I was OK," she said a little ruefully. And there was that time she neglected to text Gary right back, causing him to worry.

The good news is that their 36-year marriage is now stronger than ever. It's given Gary the opportunity to show how much he cares and support her throughout the ordeal. What's that saying about every cloud has a silver lining?

-Jeremy Whitehead

Survivor Stories