The Moment Everything Changed

 

Almost two months ago now, I was having a wonderful day at the lake with my lifetime buddy when I suffered a major heart attack. It came out of nowhere and in many ways I know I am fortunate to still be here. I am writing about it partly for therapeutic purposes and partly to share the experience with others.

Have you ever wondered about something like this happening to you? If so, what would be your biggest concern? Many people have asked me if I knew what was happening to me. I presume they are curious if they would be able to recognize their own symptoms if such an event happened to them.

I believe heart attacks come in all forms and sizes and I am no expert but there was no mistaking my symptoms. I felt terrible. It came on quickly and I was sweating like never before. Minutes afterward I realized both of my hands were tingling as my arms had both gone numb. It also felt like a cow was sitting on my chest! These are all classic symptoms but some smaller heart attacks may not be as obvious.

I was able to reach a hospital within an hour of my first symptoms, thanks to my lifetime friend. That saved me from further damage to the heart. From the initial onset of symptoms until I had a stent placed in a blocked main artery, took about 18 hours. During those hours I was driven to meet an ambulance, taken to and treated in a hospital, transported by air ambulance to Winnipeg, and had a successful procedure performed in the operating room. Those 18 hours seemed like an eternity as I faced a challenge I had never dealt with before – my own mortality!

I have been fortunate, I guess, because I have spent very little time in a hospital throughout my life. I have looked back on an occasional life experience and thought I was lucky I wasn’t hurt or killed, but never before have I actually thought I was going to die. And there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Nothing was in my control.

What happens now?

I am still here – another chance has been offered me to do more…live more. And that is what I intend to do. There are physical challenges (a damaged heart and the significant reaction to the new medications) to overcome as well as psychological hurdles. (Why me? How has my life changed? Will I ever return to my old strength? What’s next?)

Stamina and the ability to do what I am use to have been severely compromised, at least in the short term. But I survived and I started a slow rehabilitation process today at the Reh-Fit Centre in Winnipeg. It will require patience and perseverance.

I’m not sure you can fully prepare for an event like this, but I can assure you that living through a near-death experience brings some clarity to what is important – the people in your life, your goals and dreams, and your ability to contribute and help others.

I am looking forward to the next chapters in my life and I plan on sharing the actual experience of the heart attack in the near future. My heart goes out (no pun intended) to everyone who may be struggling with their own challenges. I hope you can accept your new reality and the good that surrounds you.

The picture above shows some of the many cards and flowers sent to me. The good wishes from so many people in my life was heart-warming and buoyed my spirits, especially during the tough moments.

John Hindle, The Contact Hitter

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Comments

  1. Heather  September 17, 2014

    So happy that you are here to tell us your story.
    Thanks for sharing – hugs
    HMO

    reply
  2. jessica  September 17, 2014

    I love how you can put your thoughts to paper remember it takes a team to build us up. When people ask to help
    its because they want to be part of that team. Anything anytime just call 🙂

    reply
  3. Jaye  September 17, 2014

    Great blog John. It’s good that you can do this for the many reasons you mentioned. It’s part of your healing process and very important. I am glad you are doing well and so glad to be re-connected with you again after so many years. Keep in touch.

    reply
  4. henry turenne  September 19, 2014

    I WAS CERTAINLY IN SHOCK WHEN I HEARD FROM ROY THAT YOU HAD A HEART ATTACK .GLAD TO SEE THAT YOU ARE ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY. GET FIT AND GET READY TO SWING THAT CLUB. TAKE CARE AND HI TO ALL OF YOUR FAMILY. HANK AND DIANE

    reply
  5. Valerie  September 21, 2014

    So scary but so well written. May we all learn from this and may there be no attempted sequels on the same subject. 🙂

    reply

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