Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thankful for a Different Kind of Anniversary

There's a lot to be thankful for today. My wife's birthday was yesterday. Now for the next ten months I don't have to listen to her say that I am "older" than she is.

And I'm thankful for lots of the usual stuff we always think of, even some of the stuff we tend to take for granted.

Today I'm thankful for the bicycle ride I just finished. It wasn't monumental, not really that far or fast. But the sun was out, it wasn't really cold and I was able to spend some time with my own thoughts and get in a little exercise, too.

For here's the deal!

Two years ago today I had my first sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). It's not a heart attack which is generally caused by a blocked coronary artery. No, a SCA is an electrical problem in the heart as opposed to a plumbing problem.

Heart attacks can be severe, but a SCA is particularly unforgiving and death can occur in just a very few minutes. What happens is that the electrical system in the heart senses a problem and tries to compensate by making the heart beat faster and faster. Eventually the heart muscles cannot keep up and the heart begins to quiver. The result is that no oxygenated blood gets circulated in your body.

There is one part of your body that cannot survive very long without the oxygenated blood. It's your brain! The brain can tolerate this lack of oxygen for just a very few minutes.

Statistics indicate that only about 5% of people survive a SCA if they are not in a hospital when it occurs, which I wasn't. CPR is critical. Even though your heart stops working properly, a person can literally force oxygen through a person just by doing CPR. It's the only way the brain will survive.

Luckily I had a person there with me when my SCA occurred. She performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. She did it well enough that my brain was kept "alive" enough for me to survive. That person that performed the CPR was the same person who so cruelly teases me about being a year older than her for two months each year.

Yeah, I'm thankful for her! I'm thankful that those little paddles worked two years ago and they were able to restart my heart back to a more normal rhythm. I'm thankful for just being able to take that little bicycle ride this morning. I'm thankful that the "Niners" are in the Super Bowl! I'm thankful to have an interesting job with fun people to work with. I'm thankful for the many friends I have. I am thankful that I now better understand how easy it is to take each and every day for granted. I am thankful that I know how precious certain aspects of life are, even if you experience those same little aspects every day and don't necessarily pay any attention to them.

Yeah, there's a lot to be thankful for today.

Then again, there's a lot to be thankful for every day!

Every single friggin' day!

Ride on and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Every single friggin' Diem!


  1. Yay. Just yay. Thanks for this.

  2. Yeah, lots to be thankful for! Thanks for the reminder, I tend to take a lot of things for granted.

  3. Jimbo/cpa2485:

    we are very thankful that the CPR was applied with such passion and vigor. Many of us have things to be thankful for, we are sometimes too busy to notice, or to appreciate what we have.

    Cherish every moment . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. Happy Anniversary! You have a lot to be thankful for and your grattitude clearly comes through! I am wishing you many many more rides and thanks to your wife for knowing what to do! Everyone should take a CPR course, it does save lives and you never know when you will need it.

  5. I'm glad it turned the way it did. After all, one can't have too many friends in Kansas. I would have hated to lose one :^)

    I'm glad you've answered the wake up call. I seen others who haven't. Good on you!

  6. I am asto is he'd how few people know how to do CPR, and the sequence is easier than ever these as. You'd be surprised how reluctant people are to try it over the phone even when I can give specific instructions.

  7. Happy Anniversary! Glad all is well now...

  8. Jim - each of us has something to be thankful for each day - not the least of which is simply waking up to a new day. Congrats on your anniversary. And I'm with you ... why would anyone want to ride in freezing fog, especially when one has a fine (Canadian) heated seat as an alternative, really!