Grateful to be alive following heart attack
Boxing Day 2014, the day we received our Christmas miracle.
My son Philip and husband Eric had responded to a call with the Bay Roberts Fire Department and upon Eric’s return, I remarked I had been using his new iPad and my arms were achy; dismissing my only warning sign of what was to occur.
My son Paul had finished his shift in the Emergency Room at Carbonear General and came over for supper. I placed it on the table for him when I felt a rush of heat to my face and nausea overtook me. I headed to the bathroom, thinking I was having a bout of the stomach flu. I called out to Paul that I was going to faint and he helped me to my bed. He saw my pallid colour and took my pulse which was weak. He realized I was having a heart attack.
Philip, a paramedic for Nalcor, rushed over and said “100 per cent she’s having a heart attack.” He threw me over his shoulder and headed to the car. Philip put me in Paul’s arms in the back seat to try to keep me alive to Carbonear.
On the drive, I had drifted beyond this life and was filled with joy and peace. Knowledge poured in and I knew I was dying. I felt a presence of comfort, but my family was in great panic and I had to console them. I became lucid and told Paul, “Keep the family calm. I am dying. Jesus is coming for me. I will be at peace. Let the family know that.” I told Eric and Philip I was sorry, I had to go, but I was truly at peace.
My niece, an emergency nurse, was waiting at the hospital. She believed I could fight this, but I calmly told her I was dying and to call my sisters. She administered the thrombolytic (clot busting) drug and it began to work.
My family returned home, reassured I was in good hands. Paul and his wife Kelly would stay until Eric returned.
Not long after, I told Kelly I was going to be sick and slipped from consciousness; the blood clot had blocked the artery. Kelly called for the nurses.
They tried to stop the heart attack for the second time but were unsuccessful. I went into cardiac arrest. After the defibrillation, they had a pulse.
I told my niece “Nan (Elizabeth Norman, my mother-in-law, who passed away in 2010) is here for me, I have to go.” She said no, that Uncle Eric needed me and grabbed my outstretched hand.
I was to be put on life support and transported to St John’s. The family were devastated as there was little chance I would make it, but when Paul told me I was going on life support, I surprised him by responding. They would not ventilate me now, but transport me to the HSC immediately.
Upon arriving at the Coronary Care Unit, the blood clot once again blocked the artery. A stent procedure was done. It was a success and the family’s tears were now ones of joy.
Four days later, I walked out of the hospital holding the hand of my proud grandson Jack and looking forward to watching him and my other grandchildren, Beth, Lorelei and Ryan grow up.
I am sharing my story to thank my family and the staffs of both hospitals but especially, Carbonear General. Also, to bring comfort to those whose loved ones have passed. I hold dear in my heart that heaven is a joyous place where our loved ones await and where we will one day willingly journey to the presence of a loving God.