Libby Schaibly

It was my husband's 52nd birthday and I was away from home, but planned to return that day to celebrate. Instead, he had to drive 500 miles from our home in Louisiana in the middle of the night to find me revived on a ventilator in the CCU in a hospital outside Nashville, Tennessee. The poor man must have been so very afraid when he got that dreadful call at 2:00 pm.

I have always been a free spirited, hard-headed woman, so even knowing I was having serious problems with me heart, I flew to Nashville to see friends. I rented a car and drove to northern Alabama to meet with a realtor about some property I need to sell. I was wearing one of those "event monitors" that are used to record and send heart rate tracings to cardiac nurses via phone. I was feeling rather crummy and monitored. They sent me to a little ER in a small town where they called my cardiologist. He told them to tell me to get home now and I was getting an ICD.

I don't remember that day, but I drove about 80 miles back to Nashville. I was staying out in the rural area, so I made the choice to stay near the airport so there was no chance of missing my flight. I have a friend who was working in Nashville as an electrician. I asked him if he would stay with me and keep me awake. I was afraid to go to sleep for fear I would never awake. Shortly after midnight, in a hotel room, I had a ventricular fibrillation arrest. My friend, Jason did not panic. He pulled my lifeless blue corpse off the bed and onto the floor, picked up the phone and called the front desk to have them call 911. He propped open the door and started CPR which he continued for 12 minutes all alone. A police officer arrived and did compressions for a few minutes before the medics arrived. I had seven shocks before they could even transport me. They almost gave up. I think I heard Jason scream at me that I could not die!

I am about 19 months post SCA and am doing well! I have only had one shock. I have atrial fibrillation and long QT syndrome that are managed well on flecainide and metoprolol. I had another close call three months ago from pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. The cause is unknown and I may never know why I survived these events. I am 54 and plan to live for quite a few more years!

I owe my life to Jason, the paramedics, the doctors and my wonderful family... And God.

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