It was Wednesday in May of 2012. The 23rd of May to be exact. The day started like any other day. I worked out, ate breakfast and headed to a clients office for the day. I had lunch with my closest friend and left the clients office around 5. That was the last thing I remember and then I opened my eyes on Saturday, May 26th around 4 in the afternoon. I didn't know what happened but realized I was in the hospital. My wife told me that I collapsed at the gym and had quintuple bypass surgery on Friday. I didn't believe her so I called my friend whom I had lunch with on that Wednesday. He was so happy to hear my voice and confirmed that it was Saturday.
I was in shock. How could this have happened to me? I worked out quite often, I ate pretty healthy, I never smoked and occasionally drank alcohol. I was in the beginning stages of training for my third marathon. My life insurance was increased 2 months earlier after a physical exam. No symptoms! The short version is that I had 5 blocked arteries as a result of bad genetics. The long version of the amazing details as told to me by family, friends and one incredible paramedic, as I do not remember one second of this story, as follows: On the drive home from my clients office I spoke to my daughter, Francesca, who told me that she and my other daughter, Rhianne, were going to babysit at a house on our block. And that my wife, Kim, was going to a wine tasting with her friends. I suppose I thought it was a good time to run to the gym.
I would think it was probably 5:30 when I left the house. I had a workout routine of running about 1.5 miles to the gym, riding the stationary bike for 30 minutes and then running back to my house. The course to the gym, located in a county park, was through the wooded area around our development. Somehow I made it to the gym and was riding the bike when I experienced a heart attack and fell off the bike. My heart had stopped. A person also working out saw what happened and immediately started CPR. To this day I never knew who this person was that started to save my life. A paramedic from Hollywood Florida, that also worked at the park two days a week, was about 30 seconds away from the gym. He grabbed the AED equipment and returned to the gym with a team of other employees. The park also had a pool and there were 2 lifeguards that helped. A 911 call had been made and Davie Fire/Rescue was on the way.
I can't imagine what was happening during this chaotic event but somehow all of the stars were aligned that night. The team eventually was able to bring me back to life and I was rushed to the emergency room at Westside Regional in Plantation. I did not have an ID on me and I was admitted as "John Doe". I had left the house with my gym ID but that was back at the gym. Meanwhile, my 2 daughters returned home and knew something was not right. My wallet and phone were on the counter. My car was in the driveway and the window was not completely closed. And no note of where I was or what I was doing. They started to call my wife, my friends, my neighbors. No one knew where I was. They decided to drive around the neighborhood frantically looking for me. Around 11 pm they received a call at the house from the paramedic. He returned to the gym and found my gym ID. He informed my daughters that I was in the emergency room. They still didn't know what happened.
On Thursday my wife and daughters were overwhelmed with calls and text messages while watching me lay unconscious in the ER. My surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. The day of my oldest daughters graduation from high school. I was having open heart surgery and my family was at the high school graduation waiting for the call from the surgeon. I am still in awe of how brave my wife and daughters were that morning. On Saturday afternoon I awoke with my wife and daughters by my side. It was surreal. When I finally realized what happened to me I was in shock. I had survived an event that most people would not. No damage to my brain and my body. I was in great shape from working out a lot which helped my recovery and I walked out of the hospital 3 days later with a 5 inch scar, my family and friends and a new beginning to my life.