The Heart Attack Chronicles: Victory Lap

Victory lapGrowing up in Indianapolis I had a fondness for two things: White Castles (there. I said it) and the Indy 500. When May rolled around the whole city would be swept up in 500 fever. It was trumpeted everywhere. Everywhere you looked it would be on billboards, in the paper or on the news. The qualifications thinned the heard of drivers who would be able to compete. Then the day would come when the checkered flag would drop and a winner would be proclaimed.

The crossing of the finish line incited cheers, hands clapping and flags waving. The exuberant expressions of glee indicated that a winner had been declared. The triumphant driver would steer his vehicle to the winner’s circles to drink a glass of milk (an Indy tradition) and receive that big honky trophy! But prior to that was another racing tradition: the victory lap. It kinda says “I won.”

After suffering a major heart attack I was taken by life flight to HRMC where a stent was placed into my left anterior descending. I was then admitted into the cardiac ICU where I lay on my back for the rest of the day hooked up to all kinds of equipment. My condition was stable. However, the medical staff did let me know that there was the possibility of sudden death. Great news doc! Thanks for sharing! I just lay there wondering if my next breath would be my last.

This was a defining moment for me. I felt that I could make a decision to be a victim or I could fight back and be a victor. It took every ounce of strength just to pull myself up in the bed. I was weak, my body traumatized and I was uncertain what would happen next. I had to fight back. So, I asked if I could get a wheel chair and go around the ICU ward. So, they brought in a wheel chair. But instead of sitting in it I grabbed on to the handles, stood up and began to push it. My day started with me wondering if I would live or die. That evening I decided that I was going to live.

Slowly I placed one foot in front of the other and began pushing that 5 ton wheel chain ( it felt like 5 tons…let me embellish) around the 10 mile (…ok it looked like it was 10 miles) cardiac ICU. I defiantly walked out of my room and made one lap around cardiac unit. One lap was enough. This let everyone know that I had won.


~ by Daniel Toops on November 20, 2013.

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