Grate­ful to be alive fol­low­ing heart at­tack

The Compass - - OPINION - — Pamela Nor­man writes from Bay Roberts

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.

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