I joined this group this morning. This groups is pretty much what life is all about. I am Mark from the central San-Joaquin valley in California.
I am in my 40th year of teaching World History and coaching varsity football and softball at the same high school. In January of 2003, I suffered a heart attack after softball practice and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. After a stent was put in my heart, I was put in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where a nurse weighed me at 390 lbs. Two mornings later, I suffered a major heart attack. The responding nurses saved my life. After another stent was put in my heart, it was suggested I have opene heart surgery. I refused.
Over the next 8 months I: had 2 more stents, failed four cardiolite stress tests, through diet and exercise lost 190 lbs, and finally in August, was told I needed open heart surgery. I told the doctor that the timing was inconvenient as we were a week into football. He said, actually, the timing is perfect, for wtihout surgery, I was out of time.
I had a triple by-pass on August 26th and was back on the football field coaching 8 days later. The hospital put me on billboards are part of their 'miracles happen' campaign. I feel better today at age 62 than I ever did at age 32. My shirt size has gone from a size XXXL to a L, my waist form a 46 to a 32. I run 3-4 miles daily, pus walk 10,000 plus steps. I spoke in Washington DC at the Congressional Lobby Days in 2006 and 2006. I met Michaela Gagne last year at Congressional Lobby Days. I visit heart patients every Saturday morning. I raised over $35,000 the last three years for the American Heart Association's Heartwalk.
In 2004, my softball team went 26-4 and I was selected as the State of California's High School Softball 'Coach of the Year', and in 2005, we went 29-0. I owe so much to so many.
When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a heart shaped pillow. On that pillow I have the signatures of every person in the hospital who took care of me. That includes the people from the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Room, Cardiac Cath Lab, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Nuclear Medicine, Medical Observation Unit, Surgical Observation Unit and the Cardiac Rehabiitation Center.
I have coached a lot of teams in m y 40 years, but have never experienced the teamwork that I saw displayed with my healthcare team. If just one of them had dropped the ball, I wouldn't be here today. One of the nurses, because of her efforts with me during 'crunch' time, was named the recepient of the 2006 Mended Hearts Inc Helen Shuman Award at their National Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.
To this day, I believe that during my heart attack in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, I was surrounded by angels disguised as nurses.
I wake up excited every day. Its a great life. Its short, at best. It's a wonderful prifilege and a terrific opportunity. I know all too well that someday the other shoe will fall, but until it does, bring it on.
God bless you folks and this website.
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