I experienced a massive cardiac arrest a little over two days ago. If there were signs, they were hiding in plain sight. During the lunch hour, I had just made a trip from the storage unit back home for a quick offload of boxes of stuff. I felt exerted but never short of breath. I took a towel and cold seltzer and dashed out to pick up my son from school. As I approached the car-line, I felt relieved that I was toward the front. Then several things happened as I parked. I took a few sips of the seltzer and felt a burning sensation in my chest.
It was odd. My first thought was heartburn — although I don’t have a history, there’s a first time for everything. I figured it would subside after a few deep breaths and a burp. I was getting light-headed, and my jaw started hurting. The chest pain radiated sideways along the diaphragm, not toward my arms. My son was texting as he got out of class and stepped in. I had every intention that we could go home and deal with it. Except the car-line moved slower than anticipated. A minute later, I parked, switched the hazard lights on, and asked my son not to panic. I waved the cars behind me to go around. Then I took my towel and lay down on the shady green lawn. At this point, my chest was simultaneously on fire and felt like bearing a ton of bricks. Shortness of breath and heavy perspiration followed.
A short while later, I could make out distinct voices. One of them asked several parents to make a circle around me and to call 911. And I could see the gentleman talking to me — “I have been in your situation. You will get through this”. The passage of time gets blurry here. The EMT guys kept saying — it’s that kind of a day — while asking me questions. I was composed, lucid, and responding to the EMT’s requests.
Forty-eight hours later, I got discharged with a new lease on life. As the nurse wheeled me out of the hospital premises on a chair, I felt the warmth of the afternoon sun like I never did before. I couldn’t be more grateful to all the first responders, good Samaritans, cardiologists, nurses, staff, coworkers, dear friends, and my family for their tremendous support and well wishes. I am grateful and happy to be given a second chance — a lifeline. A long road to recovery and lifestyle change awaits.
Thank you for your readership and support.
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