At the time of my cardiac event I was 44 years old, and on July 3, 2002, I came home from work and felt sicker than I ever had before.
I tried to lie down to see if the pain would cease, but deep down I knew something was terribly wrong. The pain was in my whole body, but mainly, was severe in my stomach and neck.
I got dressed, called my sister around 7:30 pm and told her I thought I was having a heart attack, then I called 9-1-1, and sat alone in my home and waited for the paramedics (my life savers) to arrive.
Luckily, they arrived quickly, and they conducted all the preliminary exams, asked a million questions, and gave oral nitroglycerin spray. At that time they thought it was indigestion, though wanted to transport me to the hospital to rule out any cardiac concerns. I walked out to their ambulance on a very hot and humid evening, was told to lie on the stretcher and then I had a cardiac arrest.
Mark Tomassi and Rita Schneider (my life savers) told me later that when they turned around after I complained that I was dizzy, I was already blue and with out a pulse, but they immediately used the defibrillator in the ambulance and shocked me back to life.
I was put on an external pacemaker while the physician on call was summoned to assist in my rescue. I am forever grateful for the training they received and their ability to act under intense pressure. The hospital that treated me and the city paramedics have a program that re-unites both parties.
Later at a luncheon, I learned more about my life savers, their families and their experience. I am also forever grateful for their training--both seasoned veterans never had a patient go into cardiac arrest in front of them, but they knew what to do, and remembered the training that they received and saved my life.
Since the heart attack, I have truly experienced a lifestyle change. A chance, a second chance, to appreciate the things we often take and took for granted. Life is so precious, so fragile and so exciting, that we must appreciate and celebrate the time we have to share with one another.