The title of this tells me that this is a group aimed at the female audience. While I am not a female, it was because of a great health care team that I am alive today living life to the max.
I am in my 40th year of teaching World History and coaching varsity football and softball at Linden High School in Linden, CA. In January of 2003, I suffered a heart attack after softball practice and was taken by ambulance to St Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton, Ca.
After a stent was put in my heart, I was put in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where a nurse weighed me at 380 lbs. Two mornings later, I suffered a major heart attack. The nurses who responded to me saved my life. Another stent was put in my heart and it was recommended I have open-heart surgery. I told the doctors 'no way'.
I was told to change my lifestyle or die. Over the next 8 months, I had two more stents, failed four cardiolite stress tests, and through diet and exercise, lost 180 lbs.
In August of that year, I was told I needed open-heart surgery. I told the doctor that we were a week into football and that the timing wasn't convenient. He said, "Coach the timing is perfect, as without surgery, you are out of time.
I had a triple by-pass on August 26th and was back on the football field coaching 8 days later. My world changed forever. Today, I run 3-4 miles daily, walk 10,000 steps.
The hospital put me on billboards in the Stockton, Lodi, Modesto, Manteca, Tracy and Escalon, Ca as part of their 'Miracles Happen' campaign. To this day, I believe I was surrounded by angels disguised as nurses during my 2nd heart attack. One of my nurses was awarded the 2006 Mended Hearts Inc. Helen Shuman Endowment Award at their National Convention in 2006 in Scottsdale Arizona.
I have raised over $35,000 for the American Heart Association's Heartwalk the past three years. Life is good.
In 2005, my softball team was the Division IV Section Champion, I was named the State of California's High School 'Coach of the Year', and in 2005, we went 29-0 and were the State of California Division State Champion.
Having heart disease was not the end of the world for me, but instead was the beginning of a whole new one. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a heart shaped pillow to get signatures of my health care team. I got 58 signatures from people who worked on me. If just one had dropped the ball, I wouldn't be here today....talk about team work.
God bless you folks.
World History Instructor
Varsity football and softball coach
Linden High School
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