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Back from the Brink
Almost a year ago Aug 9th 2017. I had a heart attack that put me into cardiac arrest when I Arrived at the hospital. I was put on a lucas mechanical CPR device, shocked 7 times and different medicines.But it wasn't bringing my pulse back.After 10 mins and things weren't going well. The ED doctor Dr.Terry who was working on me started advocating to the heart dr to possibly use ECMO (Extracoperail Membrane Oxygenation) which is a bypass pump that is connected to the femoral artery and vein in the groin.He felt it could return blood flow to my brain and vital organs while the cause of my cardiac arrest could be fixed. He also knew Ecmo was being used for cardiac arrest at other hospitals. The heart dr helping didn't know alot about ECMO. So he called a couple other heart drs that worked with ECMO. By the time the other two heart dr got there it had been over 20 mins with no pulse. The heart drs talked survival odds and possibility of brain damage. DR Terry advocated once again, telling them I was 53 and went into cardiac arrest in front of him, and would be a perfect patient to be the first at their hospital.The heart dr agreed to take me to the cath lab and check my arteries and put me on Ecmo.BY the time I was put on ecmo I had no pulse for 50 mins. Once on Ecmo They were able to open up the 100% blockage I had in my left coronary artery and a stent put in. I briefly woke up while still in the cath lab. The drs asked me to stick out my tongue and give them a thumbs up, so I did. That was a good sign that I could understand and follow commands. I was put in to a deep sleep for a couple days so my heart could rest. I was on ECMO for 5 days. Giving my heart a rest helped tremendously. It went from barely able to pump to pumping like a average heart. I was brought back from the brink of death. I went home six days later. I feel very blessed that I got a second chance at still being alive. I every morning I Thank God and all the drs and nurses that took care of me. I still have a hard time believing that all happened to me. I am now 50 pounds lighter, eating health , exercising and taking my meds.I am trying to do everything I can to prevent another heart attack. I still get emotional when I think about it. I am not always sure how to process my feelings. Some are happy and some are sad. One thought that helps me do all I can to prevent another heart atttack is What would my family have done if I hadn't survived? I don't want them to live without me for a long time. I try to live one day at a time and not worry or stress to much, but its tough some days. Thanks for being able to tell my story and read others stories. Getting support and giving support can make a big difference in many lives.
AHAASAKatie, August 6, 2018 9:12am EST
Good morning Dave! Welcome to the Support Network and thank you for sharing your story with us! You are so close to your 1-year anniversary, let me be the first on the site to say, congratulations! Please know that you are not alone and many of our members have expressed much of the same concerns as you regarding anxiety and emotions post heart attack or incident. I want to share the information that we have regarding life post-heart attack with you. Please know that we are here for you, each day through recovery. I look forward to getting to know you better in the months to come. Best Katie
Shufelt64, August 9, 2018 2:11am EST
One thing I wish the support site had was auto save if you loose internet conection or accidentally exit out of site lol. Two times I started typing a post and lost it after several sentences. Oh well hopefully third time is yhe charm and finish it. Today is the one year anniversary of my heart attack and cardiac arrest. A couple months a go I had a idea about how great it would be to celebrate with people that helped make it possible for me to still be alive.So I reached out to Mercy hospitals public relation office. Left my name and number with the secretary and alittle about my idea. I tried this a couple time without results.So a few weeks ago I email a local AHA staff and mentioned to her what I was trying to plan. She told me if I wasn't able to set something up with the hospital. She would take me out to lunch to help celebrate.She told me that the PR at the hospital had been in the middle of a hospital expansion project .She also mentioned she had a up coming meeting with a PR staff member and would give the a little note about my idea. A few days later the director of the nursing staff for ecmo at the hospital called and left a message a that PR contacted her about my idea to celebrate with the staff. She loved the idea and let her know what date I'd like to set it up. So I call her back and told i would like to if possible set it up on the 9th. She said she would see about setting up a time and notify staff. She had the list of staff that were part of my care..I get a call back the next day with a message that it was set up for the 9th at 11 to 12:30 in the east tower of hospital in conference room 4. All I have to do is meet her in the lobby of the east tower at 10:55 and then we would head into the conference room. I am honored that the hospital set this up for me. I am excited ,nervous and emotional all at once.The medical staff has been great support for me since my heart attack. Besides being great on a professional level they have been very supportive and caring on a personal level.Thanks to all medical staff everywhere for all they do..Sorry this is so long. Final note the AHA staff member was invited to the celebration.
AHAASAKatie, August 9, 2018 9:02am EST
This is amazing! We would love for you to post a few pictures from the celebration on the Support Network if that is possible. Thank you for sharing your celebration and special day with us! Best Katie
Shufelt64, August 12, 2018 3:30pm EST
AHAASAKatie, August 13, 2018 9:08am EST
This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing! Best Katie