Mary Pakusch

Save Date: 07/15/06

On July 15, 2006, the morning of my daughter's bridal shower, I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. I don't remember anything, until about five days later when I became aware of being in the hospital.

It happened while standing in the kitchen with my husband. He says we were talking about the rain, when suddenly I slumped over the sink. After a few seconds, I collapsed backward, hitting my head and knocking off my glasses.

He recognized immediately that something was horribly wrong, and he called 911 within 15 seconds. The operator was able to keep him relatively calm, and talked him through CPR (something he had never been trained in before).

Within approximately 8 minutes the paramedics arrived and revived me after the second shock. My husband was told they would do what they could, but they didn't sound hopeful. The hospital took over, putting me into an induced coma and using cooling therapy to help limit brain damage. Even then, my family was told to be prepared for my death, or for me to be in a vegetative state.

Today, I am back to work full-time as a special education teacher. I have an ICD which makes me feel secure. I occasionally have minor memory lapses, but I would say I have made a full recovery.