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DustyRhodes

My Heart Journey

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by , March 8th, 2017 at 09:50 PM (143 Views)
My heart journey. Jan.9,1988. On a Saturday morning, I went skiing
with my friend, Bob and his son Mark. Half way through the morning
I fell while making some maneuvers as all skiers do at some time or
another. I felt a little pain in my chest but nothing serious, thinking I
bruised a rib or something like that.


About an hour later, as I was going up the mountain on the chairlift,
I began feeling a pain in my stomach. I thought it was just indigestion
or something similar. Little by little, the pain began getting stronger
and stronger. It was so strong, I felt like jumping off the lift and down
into the snow. I rethought that and rode the lift to the top.


When I reached the top, I slid down the ramp but not on my skis but
sort of rolled down; it was only about 10 ft. Bob and Mark were 3 or
4 chairs ahead of me. So when I stopped rolling, I looked around for
them and couldn't see them. Then I yelled to them to help me but
they were a distance away and didn't hear me.


So I took a couple of deep breaths and yelled as loud as I could and
finally Mark heard me. They came over and I told them that I needed
some help. So Bob went to the hut where the attendant was, which
was just a few feet away. The attendant phoned the first aid shack
below. Soon a guy came up with a toboggan made for transport.


So he skied down the hill with me in tow and brought me to the first
aid shack. I went in and told them I thought I had a broken rib and
that I had an extreme pain. They called the ambulance and by a
stroke of coincidence, there was an ambulance at the top of the
mountain and they came about 2 minutes later, although it seemed
like forever.


They gave me some sort of gas and that eased the pain somewhat
but not too much. So they put me into their ambulance, turned on
their lights and sirens and rushed me to the nearest hospital, about
10 minutes away. So I was taken to emergency and the docs and
nurses started asking questions and doing tests.


In the meantime I told them I was in a lot of pain. They gave me
some morphine and that took quite a bit of the pain away but not
all, but at least it was bearable. After about a half hour, they came
in and said I didn't have a broken rib but a heart attack. Technically
a myocardial infarction.


I had a 100% blockage in my lower left descending artery and they
took me to coronary care. They started working on me and calmed
things down and finally I was feeling reasonably well. They said I
was fortunate I made it to the hospital. With such a large blockage
to such a large artery, the chances of survival were only 40%.


So I stayed in that hospital for a few days until I was stabilized and
took me by ambulance to the hospital near to my home. So I spent
2 weeks there and was able to come home. Thanks to my friends
and family and lots of visits, it made me comfortable and less
concerned. They assigned me a cardiologist who would look after me.


He was very strict in his instructions and told me I need to do what
he told me cuz if I didn't care, neither would he. I soon came to
appreciate what he said. He gave me a diet to follow and an
exercise program. I did it diligently and every couple of weeks I
would get blood tests and a treadmill test.


After about 2 months, he was satisfied that everything was getting
pretty much to normal. And a month later, I was back to work.
then I'd come to be checked up by him for the next 5 years. So
with my diet and exercise, I was recovering really well and pretty
much normal.


Then while my heart was really improving, all of a sudden something
went wrong unconnected to that problem. It was a Sunday in Feb.
1993, so almost exactly 5 years after the heart attack, I went to
church and to brunch with my friends as was typical for us. After
brunch, we went to the park and play Bocce, an Italian lawn bowling
type of game.


What I am about to tell you now was all related to me after the fact
by docs, practitioners, family members and friends cuz I remember
none of it. So I was driving home from the park, just a couple of
miles, my car began to swerve all over the road. There was a guy
and his girlfriend behind me and my car finally rolled to a stop.


The girlfriend told him to stop but he told her I was just drunk and
he wasn't going to stop. She told him that there was something
more wrong than that and coaxed him to stop. He did and they
were coming over to my car and just then a cop was coming down
the hill and they flagged him down.


He called for an ambulance and the cop and 2 people were about
to start cpr. Fortunately the ambulance was at the gas station less
than a block away. So they were there in moments and with their
defibrillators, they got it started again. I had a cardiac arrest. Later
I was told that technically I was dead as anyone would be with that.


The fact that the help came so quickly, my brain had little chance to
start failing, although it may have to a small extent. From there, I
was just a couple of minutes from home. There was no one home
though, everyone was out. If I would have made it home, I would
not be sitting here writing this today.


A week later in the hospital I woke up and there was a cardiologist
standing there in the ccr and he says to me, you're alive. I had no
idea what he was talking about and what happened. So he
explained what he knew to me. He then said that an ambulance
was coming to take me to our university hospital. And so I went.


Upon getting there, it was explained more clearly to me what had
happened and what the remedy would be. They were going to
implant a defibrillator inside of me. That way if my heart was going
to stop again, the defibrillators would jolt me and get the heart
pumping again. So that happened and it was an 8 hour surgery.


So I had a defibrillator inside me for 15 years and in that amount
of time, it had saved me about 12 times or more by shocking me
and getting my heart going again. And then all of a sudden, my
heart started to fail. I had congestive heart failure and my heart
was 3 times the size of a normal heart.


I became so weak I could barely breathe. I'd walk from the
bedroom to the kitchen and I'd have to sit for 10 minutes before
I could go back. The only remedy was a heart transplant. So I was
given that option and they asked me if I would be willing to do
that. Without any other options, I naturally accepted that.


I went on the transplant list and there was good news and bad news.
My blood type is B+ which is only 2.5 of the population. The good
news was that there was no one else on that list. About 2 months
later as I had just gone to bed, the phone rang on the landline
and my cell phone and my pager went off. I knew why.


They had a heart and they asked me if I wanted to have it done
right then or wait until morning when the full staff was there. I didn't
hesitate in saying I'd wait until morning. That way with all the
personal there, the chances of success were much higher. So
I went in right away and they did all the tests and so on.


So morning came and I was prepped and so on and not long after
moved down to surgery. Two days later I woke up in recovery.
The first thing that came to my mind was "I'm alive", smiles.
The nurse there asked if I knew what day it was. I said yes and
I gave him the date and it was the right date.


Then he asked me the day of the week and I gave him the wrong
day. Go figure. Ten days later, I went home. On my first visit
to my transplant cardiologist 3 days later, he told me that while
I was alive, it wasn't easy. He said that the machines would
start my heart and when it was beating strongly they would disconnect it.


Six times that happened. My heart would beat on it's own but for
only 10 seconds or so after. The surgeon told the cardiologist that
there is nothing else they could do. But my cardiologist said they
have to try something. So they went off to the side to discuss it and
there I was laying with my heart not beating and no machine attached.


Almost a minute later, the nurse yelled, there's a pulse. So all on its
own it had started beating. That was over nine years ago and it has
been beating strongly ever since.


There were many more details I could have added but then I would
like have been writing a book. I thank God I am alive and
that I am still here, against all odds.










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Comments

  1. SweetmorningDew78's Avatar
    God is great! Just wanna say thank you for sharing with us your God-given gift May you have many many many more years of sharing it with us! God bless you! I love your poems!
  2. DustyRhodes's Avatar
    thanks so much for your appreciation...God is beautiful and i hope i can continue sharing Him with you ...God bless you
    SweetmorningDew78 and Sherril like this.
  3. SweetmorningDew78's Avatar
    You are welcome :-) and thank you yayyy! bless your heart!
  4. Magenta's Avatar
    What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing your heart
  5. DustyRhodes's Avatar
    thank you so much for your comment...i could never have managed those years without the Lord my God...at this point, nothing could ever separate me from His love...God bless you.
    Sherril and Rosemaryx like this.