Save Date: January 11, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009 started like any ordinary day. I ended my tour of duty as a firefighter in Washington, DC at 7:00 a.m. and headed home, excited that my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were in the NFL divisional finals with home-field advantage. The day progressed quickly and quietly, and took the shape of a typical day at home with my family.
About 3:00 p.m. I started preparing some of my daughters' favorite game-time snacks and went to help my wife prepare for the game downstairs. Due to an ankle injury my wife suffered in September of 2008, this was to be her first time watching a football game downstairs with the rest of our crowd. As the wings were cooking, I went into our home office to troubleshoot some computer problems, and after the problem was fixed, I headed back for the kitchen but never made it.
The last thing I remember was telling my wife I felt dizzy and reaching out for the front door for support. I awoke in the intensive care unit (ICU) surrounded by my family and brothers from the fire department, having missed five days of my life!
Over the next few days my wife, family and brothers began filling in the gaps of those missing days. My wife was at my side seconds after I went into cardiac arrest and immediately started CPR and called 911. She continued CPR all the while trying to calm down our three daughters that had witnessed my collapse. The rescue squad arrived at my home within six minutes and the paramedics took over. I had a total of three shocks on the way to the hospital and had a heartbeat upon arriving at the emergency room. I was intubated upon arrival and placed on a ventilator. Apparently, I wasn't too keen on a tube in my throat and had to be restrained and ultimately placed into a medically-induced coma.
Over the next few days I went through a battery of tests and procedures to try and determine what had caused my SCA. To date, no one can tell me what caused my SCA, but after a battery of tests they can tell me what didn't happen. I didn't have a heart attack, stroke, blood clot or clogged arteries. Yet there I was: missing five days of my life.
On January 19, I had an ICD inserted. Since then I have returned to work and to my daily routine of 40 minutes on the elliptical machine followed by a four mile walk.