The Heart Attack Chronicles: The Helicopter Ride

daggerThe IGA supermarket in Danville, Indiana was having a contest. I was in the second grade and I still remember the event. The winner of the contest would receive a helicopter ride. I, and every other kid in town, registered to win. I remember standing outside the IGA on a dreary cold Saturday waiting for them to call my name. But….they didn’t. Yes. The loss haunted me for years.

Fast forward to Sunday June 2, 2013. After arriving at the Palm Bay Hospital emergency room, I soon found myself covered with leads, wires and IV’s. The next thing I know the small exam room filled with medical staff. Judging by their demeanor I didn’t think it was anything serious. They each performed a specific task calmly and professionally. I assumed it was all just precautionary.

When the ER doctor spoke to me is when I had some sort of clue as to what was going on. He informed me that “it looked like” there was some blockage in one of my arteries. He told me that the hospital there wasn’t equipped to handle what he felt needed to be done. So, I would need to go to Holmes Regional Medical Center. And, he thought a helicopter rather than an ambulance would get me there faster. I thought he was out of his ever loving mind. The distance between Palm Bay Hospital and Holmes Regional Medical Center is approximately 10 miles. 10 miles! The thought of a helicopter ride did sound cool, all I was thinking was “what’s this gonna cost. But hey; I’d get to see the sun rise while in the air.

The flight crew arrived and hooked me up to all of their gizmos. They strapped me on to their stretcher and gave me the preflight speech. On the way out of the exam room the flight EMT stopped looked at my wife and said “Ok, kiss him and tell him you love him.” Suddenly I realized this was serious. I looked at my wife, not wanting her to know what I was thinking; I said “See you there.” Meaning I will either see you at the hospital or I will see you on the other side.
The corridor seemed to go on forever or it just seemed like it. I remember looking at the ceiling tiles as I rolled down the hall and thinking that there was a very strong possibility I’d be dead before we landed. I still had no idea what exactly was happening, but I knew it was important that I stay calm.

It wasn’t fear of death that I was filled with. Rather, I was swept my emotions of regret. Suffice it to say, I realized my actions led to that moment. I had failed to see how my actions not only affect me, but affect those I love. I knew I may never see my family again because I didn’t take care of myself. I had no idea what would happen next. I resolved that if I did survive my health would be a priority. Not just for my benefit but for the benefit of my family as well. I prayed. Asked for forgiveness and made a positive confession: “Everyday and in every way I am getting healthier. Every day and in every way I am getting stronger.”

It was a beautiful Sunday morning as we lifted off. The sun rise over the Atlantic coast was spectacular. The sun was reflecting on the waters of the Indian River Lagoon. The palm trees were swaying in the gentle morning breeze. It was truly beautiful. Before I knew the short flight was over and I was on the roof top of HRMC being rolled inside. The Heart Cath lab was ready and waiting for me. I saw the best sun rise of my life and I got a helicopter ride to boot! My life would never be the same.


~ by Daniel Toops on November 11, 2013.

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