May 21st, 2003 began like any other beautiful spring day in Sandusky, Ohio. Up early to get ready for work, business as normal at the office, a visit from an old Army buddy in the late afternoon, and sudden cardiac arrest while cutting the grass at my home that evening. I had no warning signs; my heart just quit beating. My wife, Elfi, was upstairs with our Yorkshire Terrier, Lilly, who started barking as if she needed to go outside in a hurry. Elfi let her out and Lilly immediately ran to the back of the house where I was laying, blue as the sky. Elfi started CPR, and then ran back to the house to call 9-1-1. She returned to continue CPR until the Perkins Township Emergency Squad arrived. Within minutes, the squad arrived, assessed my condition, and zapped me with their defibrillator. After the third shock, my heart started beating. The EMTs stabilized me and transported me to Fireland's Regional Medical Center, less than three miles away. After a week of cardiac testing, I had left carotid artery and open-heart, five-bypass, surgery on May 29th. I was released from the hospital on June 6th and began home health care. On July 29th, I underwent an EP scan to determine if I was a candidate for an implantable defibrillator. After the anxiety of the wait, it was determined that I did not need one. Since then I have been going to cardiac rehabilitation three times a week. I have not experienced any further problems and the rehab is going fantastic.
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