My name is Ann Husen. I survived my sudden cardiac arrest on July 1, 2011.
I am very lucky to be alive, and as the one year anniversary is approaching, here is my story… told with a very grateful heart.
July 1st started as a normal Friday. I got up, had my normal breakfast and coffee and drove to the YMCA to swim laps. On most days, you would find me running, swimming, biking, or other physical activity. As it turns out, the YMCA was the absolute best place I could have been that morning.
I don’t remember much about my workout. I do remember talking to a friend as I got in the pool, but not much else. I don’t know if I was done with my workout or felt dizzy, but I was hanging on the side of the pool when someone saw I was blue in color. The lifeguard realized something was wrong and immediately sounded an alarm which alerted everyone to get out of the pool and to get an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). CPR and rescue breathing were started and an AED was used to shock me…4 times! Weeks later we found out I was in cardiac arrest for over 12 minutes! I was transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital and assessed. That afternoon I was transferred by ambulance to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay because they had Electro Physiologists on their cardiac team. On day 2, I had a St. Jude ICD (Internal Cardio Defibrillator) implanted and was released from the hospital on day 3. The whole thing happened so fast, the reality of the situation really didn’t start to sink in until day 4.
The next couple of weeks were emotional as we heard more recounts of my incident and I really understood how truly blessed I was to be alive. I was definitely in the right place if this were to happen. The lifeguard, Mike, only works on Fridays and is a registered nurse. The YMCA first responder, Terry who happens to be a friend of mine, really took control of the situation and remained calm. Without the AED, I definitely would not have survived. We were able to download the results of the AED after a couple weeks (thanks to my husband’s persistence.) This confirmed that I was indeed in ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia for over 12 minutes! CPR and rescue breathing are so important. I had no brain damage or significant memory loss.
This has definitely been a year of change and adjustment. I had to give up my favorite activity, running. I tried running a few times after I was cleared, but was shocked by my ICD. My arrhythmia seems to be triggered with exercise and my heart rate can go crazy and erratic in a very short time frame. I have embraced power yoga and enjoy this along with walking and some light biking. I won’t lie; it is still a work in process figuring out my “new normal” but every day I make progress.
I have always had a strong faith and this definitely made it even stronger. I am alive because God was with me and with all the people that helped save my life. If this had to happen, I was definitely in the right place at the right time. It is clear that I have a purpose here on earth. Every single day I am thankful for the little things and the big things….the things that we often take for granted.
My SCA also reminded me how amazing my family and friends are. They all were supportive and helpful when I needed them. You have no idea how much that meant and will mean to me forever. My husband Mark is my rock, and has been through so much with me…. and thankfully the ride is not over!