I got a second chance
The weekend of May 7th 2016 was supposed to be an amazing weekend of rodeo, friends and fun.
I had gone to Riggins, ID for the Riggins Rodeo with my good friend Timmy. I woke up Saturday morning super sick. I didn’t really complain of a headache, just super nauseous. I remember going to breakfast and trying to eat but I just couldn’t. I remember nothing for the next two weeks. After breakfast we went back to camp and just hung out and I napped until the rodeo started. Timmy said that I was really lethargic, and just didn’t look good. We went to the rodeo, met up with some friends and had a good time. After the rodeo we drove back across the street to the camp ground. Upon getting out of the truck I collapsed. My heart stopped. The two women who were with us went into CPR mode. They really had no idea what they were doing but they did compressions the best they could until the ambulance got there. They successfully broke almost all of my ribs, and for that I am grateful. Luckily the ambulance was right across the street still at the rodeo. I coded twice in the ambulance and had to be shocked back with the defibrillator. I was taken to New Meadows and put on Life Flight. I coded again in the helicopter. A huge storm had just blown into Boise so the helicopter couldn’t land at St. Al’s in Boise. I was taken to the airport in Nampa, where I was then taken by ambulance to St. Al’s in Nampa. They did a PET scan to make sure I still had brain function, they stabilized me, then I was taken by ambulance to Boise Al’s where I spent one week in CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) and one week in Telemetry. It was discovered that I was born with a very rare heart defect. So rare that 90% of people born with it don’t make it past their first year of infancy. The name of the defect is called ALCAPA, not to be confused with the Alpaca! Basically the left side of my heart had never been receiving oxygenated blood, so at the ripe ol age of 34, my heart decided to quit. The left side of my heart had all but died. I was given an external defibrillator that I wore like a back brace and sent to the University of Utah Hospital for open heart surgery and my very own internal defibrillator. 7 months have passed since all of this happened and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. I am healing right on track, I have energy to exercise and just live my every day life. I had NO idea that THIS is what a normal heart is supposed to feel like. Will I ever be 100%, no. But I am totally OK with that. The scar of mind and body is fresh. Even though I don’t remember anything I am haunted with the “what if’s” and I am blessed with amazing family, friends and co-workers.
My goal in 2017 is to make sure that every single person I know, learns hands only CPR because if it wasn’t for CPR, I wouldn’t be here. I am a CPR SURVIVOR!