For the 5 percent of people who survive sudden cardiac arrest a defibrillator usually revives them. Without a timely burst of power to the chest the other 95 percent die. I was one of those rare survival statistics.
As she prepared for a trip home for the July 4 holiday, Denise Castille got a text message that likely saved her life. Her flight was delayed by more than an hour. Shortly after that, she started feeling like something massive was sitting on her chest, stifling her breath.
For months I had been experiencing occasional discomfort in my chest when eating. I attributed it to eating too quickly when I was hungry. My husband thought I might have a hernia. It didn’t occur to me to mention it to my doctor, even though I saw one regularly.
New life experiences described as ‘unremarkable’ merit high approval. A doctor’s appointment that concludes with ‘unremarkable’ in your medical chart is one. A seamless, multi-stop transatlantic flight is another.
My heart story is similar to a lot of women who find out they have cardiovascular issues while pregnant. Luckily for me, I found out before it was too late.
“Your baby’s only hope for survival is a heart transplant.” No parent is ever prepared to hear those words. And you never forget them, nor who said them, nor the day they were spoken.
Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to shift your perspective on what’s important in life, and no event is more life-changing than death. Since my own death in November 2014, I have learned more about living.
My heart trouble started in 1997, when I was 50. Driving to work with my wife, Gerri, one morning, I stopped at a convenience store for coffee. Suddenly I started to get chest pains and could not breathe very well.
As I was running, I suddenly felt a pain. No, not like the pain that is commonly associated with a muscle pull or a bone pain, but a burning pain. The pain was right around the sternum. There was no way I was REALLY sick. Right?
They were watching TV when his friend Blake Wilson heard a thump in the kitchen and found Daniel face down on the floor. Wilson yelled for the two other boys, Jon Evert and Blake Perez. Perez called 911, and with direction from the 911 operator, Evert began CPR.
Keith Short is blessed to be alive - a doctor told him so as he let him know his heart had sustained serious damage that could not heal or be repaired. Keith wants others to not do what he did.
Heart disease was never something I worried about much. However, when my father died at 72 during open-heart surgery, I became less cavalier and much more concerned about my own potential for a heart attack.