John Berberick

Age: 68
Save Date 10/03/2007

have a long history of heart disease. Starting at 37 years old in 1977 old when I was diagnosed with heart disease. In 1978 I suffered an M.I. In age 44 I had my first 7 vessel CABAG surgery. In 1992 an "Electro Conversion" was preformed for "Arterial Fibrillation" which only got me back into normal rhythm for a few weeks and then the AF returned and I have lived with it ever since handling it with medication.

In 1995 I had my second 6 vessel CABAG redo surgery which failed within a month after the operation as I was still experiencing allot of Angina which is Stable and Grade 4 -- This also has been an ongoing situation in my life. In 1998 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. I also had a Catheter Ablation and Pacemaker Implant done the same year. In 2004 I had three drug eluting stents implanted. In 2005 I had one more drug eluting stent implanted. In 2006 my Medtronic Generator was replaced due to low battery condition.

Well folks this finally brings me to October 3rd, 2007 when I suffered an attack of Ventricular Fibrillation, (sudden death). My wife Susan and I had an appointment to make an offer on a new home that we had previously looked at and the appointment was for 4:15 PM MST - My wife came home early to pick me up around 4:05 PM and called downstairs for me to hurry a bit as I had just got out of the shower and was dressing in the downstairs bedroom. When I did not answer her back she came down stairs and found me laying sideways on our bed completely dressed and holding one sock in my right hand -- Eyes and mouth were wide open and I was blue in color in and out.

Susan called 911 and both an ambulance and fire truck were dispatched and reached our home within 3 minutes. The lady EMT saw exactly what was going on and had me moved to the floor (like a rag doll my wife says) preformed CPR and shock treatment. I was then transported to our Memorial Hospital ER and given medication by injection and got me stabilized. Around 8:00 PM Saint Vincent's Help Flight was contacted in Billings, Montana. They usually transport by helicopter but due to windy conditions they used their fixed wing aircraft a Beach Craft Turbo Jet.

My wife Susan was allowed to fly along with the five other medical personal which took 25 minutes 125 ground miles from Sheridan, Wyoming to Billings, Montana. From what Susan tells me these folks were wonderful and praised our local EMTs for their quick response when I went down. The flight was met at the Billings Airport by another ambulance who when transported myself and Susan to the ICU in Saint Vincent's Healthcare in Billings.

I was attended to by an Anesthesiologist and a Cardiologist and again from what I am told by my wife they injected me with two liters of chilled Saline solution and then a "blue suit" was put lower and upper legs and torso where chilled ice water was pumped through this device for at least 24 hours. My brain temperature was brought down to 91. The folks at Saint Vincent's Healthcare call this the "Artic Sun" procedure and it is relatively new I believe going back to year 2005.

Susan was kept updated and it was explained that I might not wake up and that if I did there was a good chance that I would have severe brain damage to the point where I would be a vegetable as records kept during the attack indicated that I was without oxygen for a total of 21 minutes. Praise God, I did wake up and I have indeed suffered short term memory. As an example I don't ever remember being in the home that we were going to make an offer on and most of the month of October and September I have lost. I am starting to regain memory but this is going to take a year or more from what my Cardiologist tells me.

On October 11th 2007 while still in the hospital in Billings I had a new Medtronic Pacemaker and ICD implanted. A couple of days later I was allowed to come back home to Sheridan. I was contacted by my Cardiologist in Billings and asked to come in for another Angiogram which lead to two more drug eluting stents being implanted on October 25, 2007.

Starting back when the VF attack happened I have no memory of any of the above. My wife Susan has had to bear all of this and it has been the hardest on her. I retired from the computer business at the end of 1999 as I just couldn't keep up any more with all the cardiac problems and the fatigue that went along with it and still does.

I spoke by phone with a representative at Medtronic in Minnesota about two weeks ago and explained what had happened and told her that I have been doing allot of research on VF and that around 300,000 Americans are afflicted yearly and about 20% of them survive. She offered me her congratulations and told me that in my case being that I did not have a ICD when the attack happened my chances were no more than 5% that I would survive this attack. She told me the good news is that if this happens to me again which is a good possibility that my chances are now 98% that I would survive the VF.

Yes I think about this allot and yes it does get me down many times but my trust is in the Lord who brought me through all of this. I am now 68 years old and don't know what is down the road for me but try to take all this on one day at a time.

Printer-Friendly Version