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Not My Day to Die

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Not My Day to Die – Part III

After reading my two previous posts Part I and Part II I realized that I left some little things out that should be said.

First of all, Frank is my HERO!! I have had people ask me, “So, who would your hero be?” Well, I have a hero and his name is Frank. The day I dropped dead Frank was right behind me. Things happen for a reason, I believe this. If we had left the farm show we would have been on the road going to my birthday party and I wouldn’t be here today. If Frank had not have been there I believe I wouldn’t be here. The other guy that helped with CPR had to run to his car to get his little CPR mouthpiece. I know he ran, but I could have been a vegetable by the time he got back. Frank had taken the CPR training. Frank had used CPR on two other people before me. Both of them died. One of them was his Uncle. They said he left the booth at the farm show and went to the hospital. He was pretty shaken up. We now have “Our Anniversary.” I will never forget April 17, 1999 and the man that saved my life. Every year I at least send him a card. The first 5 years I made sure he received a gift of some sort. Sometimes I send a plant but it will probably be cards for the most part. It got to be kind of hard to come up with creative gifts for him. (If you have a good idea, please comment.)

The day I left the hospital was my 29th birthday. Oh no – I guess you all know how old I am now! Please don’t hold it against me Pamela. Apparently, while we were cruisin’ the farm show I found a bracelet that I really liked. McD told one of the people I worked with to get the bracelet so he could get it without me knowing it. While I was in the hospital he, my whole family, and friends had a blast giving me that gift. I call it cruelty but I guess I played right along. But I wasn’t playing. Here is how it went (or as I was told):

McD: Happy Early Birthday!!! Here’s your gift. (I don’t know if it was in a box or gift bag or anything.)

ME: Oh I love it!!! Thank you!

(Less than 5 minutes later…or when another person arrived that had not witnessed the cruelty.)

McD: Happy Early Birthday!!!! Here’s your gift.

ME: Oh I love it!!! Thank you!!

I couldn’t remember crap! If someone walked out of the room and then back in I greeted them like I hadn’t seen them yet. 🙂 Needless to say, they had too much fun with that and today they still laugh about it. Of course how could you not laugh at that. I do. I shouldn’t say this, but since McD already knows this (although he will act like he didn’t) I can’t figure out what I liked about the bracelet. When I recovered I asked him if I REALLY wanted it, or if I was just being nice when I said I liked it. I hardly ever wear the bracelet, but will keep it forever!

My life now with my heart condition. Since I do have the implanted defibrillator I have to go in every 6 months for them to check the battery, wires, and to see if I had any more episodes aka shocks. After years of wondering I was finally told that “more than likely” it was a virus in my heart. They actually said, more than likely. Oh my! I was told that my battery would last around 8 to 10 years. It depends on how many times it shocks me. I will probably have it for 9 or 10 years. Hopefully they are smaller next time. I have an exact replica (minus all the wires and computer chips) that I will take a photo of so you can see one. I am not on any medication, thank goodness! The only thing that is a pain is the airport thing I mentioned in an earlier post. And magnets! I cannot wear magnet name tags or get a magnet close to my chest or my chest starts beeping. It is just one constant beeeeeeeeeeeep, but it is embarrassing. I am not supposed to ride roller coasters (which I love) or anything too adventurous. That is okay. I will take the life or roller coaster trade off.

And since I received emails and comments on how I shouldn’t start posts about something like this and then stop midstream. I am finishing this one. I apologize in advance for it being too long. WT – I understand if you don’t read it all in one sitting.

The Shock of my life! Cheeky commented that she knew someone in school that had a defibrillator and that they could tell when he got his little shocks. I know nothing of a little shock. Apparently they had my settings different than his. A few months after everything happened McD and I went to the lake with his family. I LOVE going to the lake!!! I was raised going to the lake. McD and I took our SeaDoo and away we went. We cruised the lake several times before I finally told him that I wished he would at least drive the thing. He was putting around like an old person. Inner tube floaters were passing us!! Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was slow. I like going fast! Doing 360ºs. All of it! He decided that I should drive because I would know better what I could handle. My wound was still healing, and I think he was just afraid he would hurt me. (I was pretty thin and fragile looking, but felt okay.)

I jumped at the chance to drive the SeaDoo. I hadn’t been able to for months, this was our first trip back to the lake. I kicked it up to about 45 mph and hit a 360º. As the nose of the SeaDoo was coming out of the water (coming out of the donut) my defibrillator shocked me. The shock knocked me to the back of the SeaDoo (a three-seater) and McD was having to hang on. It nearly knocked him off of it, he was on the edge. He felt the shock through both of our life jackets. This was the first time I realized that there really was something wrong with my heart. I couldn’t remember any thing that happened to cause me to get the defib. So this was my eye opener. The shock took a lot out of me. Probably because I was so weak still. McD left me in front of him and I was just kind of limp. I was bent over with my head resting kind of on the handlebars. Then I remembered that McD’s oldest brother was there. He had just lost his son in a car wreck. I didn’t want him to see me all limp laying over the handlebars so I leaned back against McD. I tried my hardest not to lose it (cry) but when I saw his face I couldn’t hold it in. He was white as a sheet. I felt so bad for scaring him. But I was okay. We went to the doctor the next day and they just had my settings too low. They increased the settings so now my heart rate has to get up to 214 beats before I get a shock, or it has to get really, really low. I haven’t had a shock since. Thank goodness. It felt like I was kicked by a horse, I hope I never get shocked again.

Again, sorry this is so long!

My Journey, Not My Day to Die

Not My Day to Die – Part II

If you are just joining us, you will want to read Part I to catch up.

I finally woke up in the emergency room at the hospital, but had no clue where I was or what had happened. McD said he had never seen me so scared. I tried and tried to re-make the face but it never worked. Apparently when I am really, really scared I thrash about. As I was thrashing about I kicked my Granny in the head, flashed my whole family (all of my clothes were gone at this point), and tried to remove the tubes that were down my throat. Needless to say, they had to restrain me. It took 3 or 4 people to hold me down. I don’t know for sure, because I don’t remember any of this, and I have heard it both ways – 3 and 4. When the restraints did not work completely, I still tried to pull the tubes out of my mouth, they gave me an injection to induce a coma state.

I was taken to the Critical Care Unit and stayed there in a coma state for a few days. During all this time the doctors are running tests and trying to figure out what happened. My chart says I had a Sudden Cardiac Death. Basically, I just dropped dead. That happened on Saturday. Thank goodness I don’t remember anything. My medical chart says I had several blood gasses, where they test how much oxygen is in your blood. They are really, really painful! But I don’t remember them. On Wednesday they moved me to a regular room. Then on Thursday they took me to surgery and implanted an internal defibrillator. If you are not familiar with the defibrillator they are what you see on television on like ER on the crash cart. It has the paddles that they put on you and yell, “Clear” and then shock you with volts of electricity. Mine is smaller and is implanted in my chest on the left side. It has two leads that are connected to my heart and if my heart rate gets too high or too low then it will shock it back into a normal rhythm. It also has a pacemaker, but mine is turned off.

They determined that my heart began beating so fast that it stopped pumping and was basically quivering. Thanks to this little device, I call it my battery back-up, I don’t worry much about it happening again. I cannot go through metal detectors or have the wand used on me at airports. So I am frisked each time. People wonder why I would rather drive, now they know.

The day after my surgery I was able to go home. It was my birthday, and the best birthday present I could ever receive. Although McD gave me a nice gift while I was in the hospital. I will touch on that another time. This is getting rather long again, so I will tell ya about getting shocked another time.

My Journey, Not My Day to Die

Not My Day to Die – Part I

April 17, 1999 was not my day to die.

Here is a little background information to set the scene. At the time I worked for an ag related company and this company had a booth at the big farm show in the big City. Being a loyal employee, I wanted to go by the farm show and see some of the people we did business with. I was a buyer’s assistant and our suppliers were going to be there. Some of them I had only talked to on the phone and I was anxious to put a face to their names. This was also the day that my family had decided to have our big “celebrate all the April birthdays” party. Mine just happens to be in April.

McD and I get ready and head to the City. I don’t remember much about this day. I remember having an argument with McD on the way to the city but I don’t remember what about. I remember what I was wearing that day, but only because it hung shredded in my closet for years. The rest of this story are details I have obtained from McD and the rest of my family and friends.

We stopped at the farm show and then we were headed to my Grandparents house (another hour and a half drive) for the big party. We (McD and I) had looked at my office’s booth and we decided to look around. We were in the Kitchen’s of America building and were headed to look at some of the other buildings. As we were walking away from the booth I squeezed McD’s arm really tight (he later said he didn’t know I was that strong) and told him that I was dizzy and started falling forward. He thought I was playing around but realized I wasn’t when he had to catch me before I hit the cement floor. A co-worker of mine, Frank, was approximately 10 steps behind us and he rushed to my side as well!

Frank immediately began giving me CPR and McD was feeling for a pulse. Frank had already felt for a pulse and did not find one. So when McD told him he found it and that it was really fast. Frank didn’t have tell him that he was feeling his own pulse. Someone called 911 and the ambulance came, but they didn’t have a defibrillator so they continued CPR until another ambulance came.

With this being a farm show there were lots and lots of farmers there. Just my luck. The paramedics cut my shirt and bra off and got to work. Yep, me in all my glory, or almost all my glory. Then they stuck the paddles to me and shocked me. Not just once, but three times. They were able to get a rhythm. Put me on a gurney and off to the hospital we went. Another of my co-workers thought he should drive McD because he was pretty shaken up. But he wasn’t having that. He told Ken he could just ride with him. So he did. And they beat the ambulance to the hospital. Later Ken told me that they were flying low and running stop lights. He was praying for them to get there safely as well as for me to be okay.

This all happened before everyone in my family purchased cell phones. There was no way to get in contact with my parents because they were also on the road to my Grandparents house. I am not sure who called my Grandparents but they had to stay there at their house until my parents arrived. Then they all headed to the hospital.

For fear of this being too long of a post, I will continue it a bit later! That and McD just came in and asked me to go horseback riding with him. How could I say no?