<EDIT: This post is now closed. Thank you for 2 hrs of interesting questions! Please spread awareness about sudden cardiac arrest, and feel free to bring your additional questions to my "Cognitively Intact" website at [laurencanaday.substack.com](https://laurencanaday.substack.com)\>

I went into sudden cardiac arrest at home this past February - my husband called 911 and started CPR. It took 24 minutes for EMTs to resuscitate me. After 9 days in the ICU, I was declared “cognitively intact” and have no visible brain damage on MRIs. I also have a normal EEG despite a history of seizures and status epilepticus for over 30 minutes right after resuscitation. I tested positive for COVID at the time of admission to the ICU.I’ll be here for an hour or two to answer your questions about sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure, seizures/epilepsy, S-ICDs (surgically implanted defibrillators), seizure support service dogs, CPR, PTSD, etc etc. Thanks!Proof:Photo with username posted to my Substack newsletter: https://laurencanaday.substack.com/p/ask-me-anythingYou can view the book I wrote (stamped author copy in picture) at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNWVPSSB

Comments: 1421 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

c_jae4242 karma

When (if) you're about to die of old age, what are you planning on telling your kids and grandkids? Don't worry, I've done this before?

Ok_Tomatillo98302294 karma


Snow882816 karma

Do you plan on telling people you died, but got better?

Edit: on a more serious note how long did your husband have to do CPR? Did he know how or did the 911 operator give him instructions?

Ok_Tomatillo98302460 karma

My husband did CPR for 4 minutes and the operator told him what to do, he'd never done it and hadn't been certified in a long time. Luckily we are close to a fire station and EMTs arrived in 4 minutes to take over and use the paddles! <Edit: my husband corrected me last night to say he was winging it based on past training (the mouth to mouth and hands kind, not hands only we learned this year when we took a new class) and the 911 person did say to do CPR/asked if he had already started but didn’t instruct him over the phone. The rest of what I wrote should be accurate, just wanted to clarify. That man totally winged it and got the job done until help arrived 4 minutes later!>

Orcwin1250 karma

Wow, 4 minutes is an incredible response time. That, plus having a shockable rythm, is incredible luck. Certainly goes a long way to explain how you came out so well.

I mean, catching covid and dying isn't great luck of course, but at least you got better!

Ok_Tomatillo98301324 karma

I KNOW. 4 hits with the paddles. I love my local EMS workers and volunteers, 4 min even being in town is incredible. Especially for a rural area. 8 first responders won awards for their successful save.

Ok_Tomatillo9830322 karma

Hmm. I still have heart failure and emotional/mental issues since the cardiac arrest so I'm generally worse off than before being clinically dead, not sure I plan on saying I "got better." Here's some info from AHA about the definition of clinical death vs biological death in case this is where your question is headed: "Clinical Death is when your heart stops pumping blood. Without CPR, Biological Death begins to set in about 4-6 minutes later. Biological Death is where the victim's brain is damaged and cells in the victim's heart, brain and other organs die from a lack of oxygen. The damage caused by Biological Death is irreversible." https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwighaa84IeDAxVFF1kFHVE9BLMQFnoECA8QAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aedcpr.com%2Fonline-cpr%2Fheart-attack.php%23%3A\~%3Atext%3DClinical%2520Death%2520is%2520when%2520your%2Cby%2520Biological%2520Death%2520is%2520irreversible.&usg=AOvVaw09IWtNLwOQGBWsxvULVUIM&opi=89978449

tomqvaxy276 karma

It’s a quote from the Monty Python movie The Holy Grail.

Ok_Tomatillo9830207 karma

I'm movie/tv reference challenged

lemmiwinks732226 karma

Do they think that Covid caused the sudden arrest?

Ok_Tomatillo98302296 karma

Not sure why this is downvoted. Yes they do, they explicitly told me that in the ICU.

Luke_starkiller341452 karma

While you were in a "dead" state do you remember anything? What did you experience? What do you remember once you "woke up"? Were you confused about what year it is?

Ok_Tomatillo98303829 karma

I was in a coma for 2 days and when I woke up I was very confused about being intubated and didn't have any short term memory for several more days. I never regained memory of the week prior or most of the time in ICU and am foggy on about a month prior. I remember only a feeling of extreme peace that I honestly seriously miss! That peace stayed with me for a few weeks upon waking. I don't know when I started to understand what year it was and answer neuro questions accurately but I think it was a few days. I kept forgetting why I was in the hospital, I'm told.

dr_puspus122 karma

I had a similar experience to yours 15 years ago, i remember everything from when i was gone and i dream about it every night. I wish i could go back there, it was peaceful. i have been riddled with depression and anxiety since then, i don't feel like i belong here any more.

I think about it night and day, I dont want to be here but i don't want to kill myself either so i feel trapped.

How did/ do you deal with this?

Ok_Tomatillo9830132 karma

My heart goes out to you. I too have lots of depression/anxiety/PTSD since. I deal with it through therapy, yoga, and support groups. I also write and spread awareness b/c most people don't even know what a SCA is and get confused and think it's a heart attack. I started a newsletter called Cognitively Intact where I post my real experience of recovery if you want to check that out. I try to share very openly the good and bad and you're welcome to comment and find support through that community I'm building: laurencanady.substack.com. Oh, and also - I volunteer a lot to deal with survivor's guilt. Such as Crisis Text Line.

Anphonsus-18 karma

Find peace and meaning in little things you do every day. It's time to move on from that experience my brother - 15 years is long enough.

Ok_Tomatillo983024 karma

I doubt many of us who had a sudden cardiac arrest will ever "move on." Also we are at much higher risk of it happening again so I'm not sure moving on is even preferable. I do hope we all can heal, though, even if the experience is always with us.

ilikethatpanda3663 karma

How has your perspective on death evolved based on your experiences?

Ok_Tomatillo98302556 karma

I feel like there's a very thin line between life and death and while I'm grateful to have more time with friends/family, I don't feel worried about death anymore. I'm much more worried about the pain often experience in life...

oglordone445 karma

What's your go-to soup recipe?

Ok_Tomatillo9830449 karma

So glad you asked. Sweet potato kale soup. https://thedizzycook.com/hearty-sweet-potato-soup/

SuperAwesome13388 karma

did you experience anything in the time when your heart stopped?
what did it feel like when your heart stopped, pain? tiredness? nothing?

Ok_Tomatillo9830714 karma

I had no warning and no pain. I lost consciousness and my husband found me seizing, but on the inside I woke up very stressed about where I was (in ICU, with a tube down my throat, heart catheter, defibrillator surgery, etc etc) but peaceful about the unconscious time.

kittensbabette64 karma

Did you wake up in great pain?

Ok_Tomatillo9830200 karma

Yes, apparently I struggled greatly and panicked in the bed after the 2-day coma. I don't remember that though, I just know what my husband tells me. Later I had great pain from surgery.

x69pr297 karma

How did it feel? What do you remember of what happened until you woke up?

Ok_Tomatillo98301176 karma

No memory of shapes/images/people/tunnels/light but I have a very distinctive emotional memory of peace and go revisit that place on the floor where it happened to calm myself down when stressed.

Dreadedtrash256 karma

How long was it until your husband started CPR? Was your heart racing prior to you passing out? I lost my mother this summer after a family vacation. My step father was out of the house. Her cause of death was officially cardiac related. My entire family (wife, 2 kids and myself) all tested positive for Covid the day that she passed. Was just curious if her passing might have been Covid that did something weird to her heart and no one was around to do CPR.

Ok_Tomatillo9830407 karma

My husband heard me fall and came in right away then called 911 and started CPR, so maybe 2-3 minutes? I don't remember anything beforehand now b/c my memory was erased by the experience but my husband tells me I said "oh shit" and then fell down unconscious and having a grand mal seizure. I'm very sorry of your mother. COVID very commonly affects the heart, unfortunately. It started getting more attention this year but I saw 2 doctors due to dizziness and seizures a month PRIOR to my cardiac arrest and nobody even thought to test my heart. I could have had myocarditis for a while and thought it was just standard post-COVID fatigue. It was a complete surprise that I still tested positive at the hospital as I'd had COVID 2 months prior to that and thought it resolved.

_Didds_248 karma

What is the thing that no one so far asked you about this experience that you feel like you would like to share?

Ok_Tomatillo9830651 karma

Hmm, had to think about that for a second. I think people assume that when something so drastic happens there's like a social safety net for you, like you get special assistance. WRONG. I was just sent home while still in searing pain from ICD surgery and on 10 meds that dropped my blood pressure so low I had to go back to the ER. My husbnand and I were left to fend for ourselves. No social worker appeared to tell me how to apply for disability (and in the US this is hard to get for cardiac arrest, so hard I didn't even try despite being unable to work right now) and doctors only have 10 minutes with you at a time so I answered most of my own questions/needs by finding support from other survivors. Which isn't easy to do b/c there aren't many of us. Also most research concerns heart attacks and other more common cardiac problems, not sudden cardiac arrest. It blows my mind that sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death and nobody really talks about it, prepares to do CPR or use AEDs as needed, or helps those who go through it. I'm doing what I can but I'm no expert. It just makes me sad. Sometimes it felt like the world preferred I hadn't come back b/c it definitely was not prepared to take care of me. I will do what I can in my small way to prevent others feeling like that, not sure what else to do.

_Didds_153 karma

Sometimes it felt like the world preferred I hadn't come back b/c it definitely was not prepared to take care of me

I think I understand how you feel. Three years ago I was diagnosed with a potencially life ending cancer that gave me pretty much no real chance to come out of it, and by now I should have been dead and gone by quite some time. Somehow it wasn't ment to be and I am cancer free.

All my plans were gone. All my family assumed I would be gone. All my friends mentally prepared for that, and somehow I am still here. Some days I wonder why. Others I feel like shit for apparently no reason. Most I just live a normal live and sometimes forget that I pretty much made peace with myself a few years ago that I wouldn't be here. Honestly I dunno if besides my parents anyone really deep down cares about me coming up on top. I am sure friends and colegues were happy in their own way, but don't know if they cared or if things were differently by now I wouldn't even be worth a toast by new years eve.

I am not depressed or anything. Just like I don't think you are by saying that. It's just that you get a second chance and then you wonder if things had went the other way around it woukd be that bad in the end.

Anyhow, I am happy you had your second chance. Sucks that over there at the other side of the Atlantic all that I hear is bad things about your medical system. In here I spent like 3K in doctors for more than a year of treatment and visits. Also nothing about those 10 minute bullshit, my doctor would chat with me to gage if I was OK and made sure I would leave her office only when I understood everything she had to tell me. Think we just value human life here differently.

Hope you the best, stay strong ☺️

Ok_Tomatillo983089 karma

My experience of our medical system is as you say, unfortunately. I'm sorry about what you went through! Wow! It's hard to know what to do with our second chances. Thank you for sharing and I'm glad you're still around :)

mossybeard200 karma

Is your new birthday the day that you regained consciousness? Prime opportunity here if you ever wanted to change your birthday

Ok_Tomatillo9830239 karma

I LOVE THAT! Yes, Feb 7 feels more accurate than my actual birthday.

timblunts199 karma

Glad you're still here with us. Good job on your husband for doing CPR, how long did he do compressions before help arrived? Did you have to do any physical or speech rehab? I have a bunch of other questions but I'll leave it at that unless there is a lull. Good luck with everything!

Ok_Tomatillo9830224 karma

Thank you so much. My husband is my hero, yes. He did chest compressions for 4 minutes before help arrived. I did cardiac rehabilitation for a few months so I could build up walking distance again and almost had to do speech/swallowing rehab but could eventually swallow liquids after about 6 weeks.

brandoncdubs163 karma

Have you noticed any of your personal preferences (tastes, smells, relationships or feelings toward friends/family) change from before and after this event, or has everything stayed the same?

Ok_Tomatillo9830403 karma

Everything is different. Some food favorites changed, and I have different priorities which affects friendships/relationships. My love for my husband has truly grown but might be some hero worship in play there.

shaaktiman149 karma

How different is it from waking up after a deep sleep?

Ok_Tomatillo9830345 karma

Very different. I woke up 2 days later in a coma with no short term memory, a tube down my throat, unable to drink water and unable to talk, and in intense full-system pain. The re-oxygenation of your cells wreaks the most havoc. My memory of my unconscious time is peaceful, maybe like a deep sleep a little bit. But waking up was horrid.

ClassicManeuver51 karma

Can you talk more about the re-ox of cells?

Ok_Tomatillo9830132 karma

So here's one journal article. I'm no doctor but what I understand is that they have to slow down the re-ox process so it doesn't damage your cells too much. That's why they do "therapeutic hypothermia." I'm not sure if I'd have naturally stayed in a coma for 2 days or not, but they kept my body very cold and kept me in a coma to slow down the reintroduction of oxygen. This is just what I've been told and I saw descriptions of my body temp and therapeutic hypothermia in the medical notes. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.018773#:\~:text=Cardiac%20arrest%20(CA)%20can%20induce,causes%20cellular%20and%20organ%20damage.

VaporishJarl113 karma

I had an extremely near-death experience and spent a long time after processing these feelings that I'd somehow broken the rules — that I was supposed to have died and was a ghost moving around in a living body.

What was your emotional state like after this? Did you have to grapple with any guilt or confusion about surviving?

Ok_Tomatillo9830153 karma

Yep. 100%. So much guilt/confusion. And grief to deal with all the consequences. Ugh. My emotional state was exceptionally poor for a while. I would not have gotten through it without my husband's support. I mean honestly, I would have become homeless for sure and lost everything, I was a big pile of emotional human goo. Now I'm a lot more functional but still doing weekly therapy and monthly support groups plus had to take a break from work. So, it's going to be a long road I think. It helps to meet people through the newsletter I started (link in original post). That helps me process things. I email a lot with my subscribers.

kailashkmr87 karma

Marcus once said " Death smiles on us all… All a man can do is smile back" did you smile back ?

Ok_Tomatillo9830112 karma

I think so, yes. It's harder for me to smile at life now but I'm trying.

EmbraceThrasher70 karma

Do you agree with this guys assessment?

Ok_Tomatillo983090 karma

this guys assessment?

YESSS!!! Other than life flashing before my eyes. I didn't have that when I was unconscious. But the peace and him loving it I totally agree with. Thanks for sharing.

420Prelude63 karma

What have your doctors said about you having no visible signs of lasting brain damage? I have always heard the longer the brain goes without oxygen, the more likely there will be brain damage and 24 minutes seems like a very long time. Though I'm not medically trained so perhaps this isn't unheard of?

Ok_Tomatillo9830145 karma

At NIH, a neurologist just said "WOW." It was not what they expected...they looked and looked for 7 days at EEGs and I had about 7 people look at my MRI scans and they were shocked. Before the scans they said they were sure I had basal ganglia dysfunction. Honestly at this point we're chalking up a lot of it to PTSD. So I'm left wondering if there are parts of the brain we can't see yet - Parkinsons, for instance, isn't visible in MRI scans from what I'm told. I think whatever is wrong with my brain now causing seizures and other stuff is more like Parkinsons (I kind of walk with that gait and have tremors when I'm tired, too.) Specialists just keep saying I "went through a lot" - and I'm like haha thanks, I know... I even went back and read all the medical transcripts at one point b/c I couldn't believe I didn't have more brain damage, to confirm the 24 minutes and status epilepticus and all that...so I guess I'm just crazy lucky or my husband is a CPR natural, b/c I did have oxygen flowing thanks to him within a couple minutes of falling unconscious.

catrosie114 karma

Well OP wasn’t necessarily without oxygen to the brain for the full 24 minutes since they were doing CPR during that time. So although their heart wasn’t beating properly on its own, medical personnel was taking over that task so the brain remained somewhat perfused

Ok_Tomatillo983049 karma

Thank you for this, much clearer response :)

BpKnight051063 karma

Did you have any symptoms leading up to the cardiac arrest?

Ok_Tomatillo9830131 karma

Well, I tested positive for COVID 2 months prior and had a lot of dizziness. The week leading up to my cardiac arrest I had some seizures despite being on seizure meds (I had pre-existing epilepsy but had been controlled for 4 years). So, I wasn't feeling my best but didn't know I still had COVID or that I had myocarditis. I just thought I had the normal tiredness and brain fog everyone describes after the virus.

throway_nonjw62 karma

So, the light and the tunnel, did that happen for you? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, just curious as to your take.

Ok_Tomatillo9830301 karma

I didn't see a light or tunnel, but I had a profound sense of peace. I actually return to the spot on my office floor where it happened when I'm stressed...weird but true. I definitely don't fear death anymore, despite not seeing anything distinct to remember/report.

GenevieveLeah68 karma

Do you lay down on the floor in the same spot? Your husband must get so mad when he finds you like that!

Ok_Tomatillo9830110 karma

Haha. He doesn't love it but he understands. He did start forbidding me to lie down on the floor...

DinosaurAlive44 karma

I see your book listing on Amazon and I’m intrigued by the title “Independence Ave: How Individualism Killed Me and Community Brought Me Back”

Can you tell us a tiny bit about American individualism and chronic stress and how you found community?

I’m currently dealing with much isolation and chronic stress and just always seem to be getting sick anymore.

Ok_Tomatillo983084 karma

Yeah here's a good source on the loneliness epidemic: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf

My book tells it in detail, but I was very individualistic and focused on career building through my 20s and early 30s. Gradually, I started having more and more health problems culminating in the cardiac arrest. Life expectancy in the U.S. is on the decline despite our spending more than anywhere on healthcare, which is why I blame "American" individualism. Chronic stress is the natural result of trying to fit in and make it in our country, in my opinion. It literally took a lifesaving chain of people to fight for my life during/after cardiac arrest and I now am much more focused on building up community (through things like support groups, town stuff, Crisis Text Line, etc). It helps chip away at the burnout.

QuienSoyYo26 karma

Did you have any heart conditions you were aware of that may have caused the sudden cardiac arrest? Or was it a completely random event?

Ok_Tomatillo983072 karma

I had a slight murmur but nobody is attributing it to that. When I got to the ICU they found I tested positive for COVID and heart scans showed myocarditis (swelling of heart muscle), which is presumed to be viral given the COVID. I also had a seizure at the same time but that's common when blood leaves your brain during cardiac arrest so it's a chicken or egg problem. My heart is bouncing back somewhat and while it will never be the same, that lends credence to the idea that COVID got me b/c viral causes are more likely to reverse further.

mulletarian26 karma

Do you feel better?

Ok_Tomatillo983086 karma

Thanks for asking, I feel like my first life ended in February and I woke up to my second life. People think I'm better b/c I can walk and even hike again (slowly) and they might not know I have the defibrillator in my body or whatnot. But when people tell me I look well/better, it's eerie for me b/c I don't feel like the same person and I'm always aware of the experience.

propertyq22 karma

I’m glad you came back! I too have an ICD. Have you been shocked since your episode? Do you have any PTSD from it? I’ve been shocked a few times and after every time I have a hard time getting to sleep because it feels too much like heart failure.

Ok_Tomatillo983017 karma

oh nooo. I haven't been shocked yet. I have PTSD sometimes just from feeling the thing or tweaking my leads wrong so I can only imagine after getting shocked!! Glad we have these devices, though.

GatorRich11 karma

I’m amazed the EMT’s worked on you for 24 minutes to resuscitate you. I assume that was in transit or was that at the scene? Also I’m so happy they worked on you so long. Did they have some kind of reason they kept trying? I have no idea and sorry for the questions it just seems like a really long time to resuscitate, maybe your vitals were getting better. I wish you continued healing! Heart ♥️

Ok_Tomatillo983032 karma

I've been lucky to email some with one of them and meet a few. I think they had exceptional hope and willed me back to life. I think being 30's with no heart history made them try extra hard. I think they didn't move me until they got a heartbeat but I'm not clear on that from the medical notes, maybe I'll ask someday.

Constant_Shop326511 karma

Do you have any ptsd or reoccurring dreams of the incident? Were there any warning signs of the cardiac arrest, did you have blood clots?

Ok_Tomatillo983017 karma

I have recurring panic about the S-ICD and some random ICU memories from a few days after the coma, and also of the pain afterwards in heart and ICD area. There wasn't warning that anything was wrong with my heart but I had had COVID 2 months prior and didn't know I had myocarditis and that was the cause of my fatigue. No blood clots or other cause besides the viral myocarditis was found.

nofmxc10 karma

Were you up to date on your covid vaccines when it happened?

Ok_Tomatillo983021 karma

Yes, in fact...I hesitate to share this but I got a bivalent booster (it was my 3rd booster) 3 days before cardiac arrest, not knowing that I was still testing positive for the virus. I obviously asked if the vaccine could have caused my heart issues but the said COVID was far more likely and it was attributed to that b/c I'd already had J&J and the other boosters with no problems.

_thinkaboutit10 karma

You mention PTSD, and you also mention a profound sense of peace and no longer having a fear of death. Can you expand on those different emotions?

Ok_Tomatillo983037 karma

Sure. I think the PTSD is related to my body's memory of the event, which I imagine was pretty horrific for my physical system as it started shutting down and then got drugged up the wazoo afterwards, etc. The PTSD manifests as panic when I brush over the lump of the S-ICD implanted in my chest or random anxiety/panic/depression that strikes at odd times and not necessarily even if I'm thinking about the cardiac arrest. It also may be the cause of some convulsions and trouble walking since the cardiac arrest. I think the sense of peace, on the other hand, that I associate with the short death is emotional. Maybe even a coping mechanism. But I think it's spiritual in nature. It's not about my physical brain or heart, it's about wherever "I" went or dissolved into when I died. <edited spelling>

RedshedTSD7 karma

What was the most prevailing feeling/or thought you had or remember during the experience? Pain, sadness, nothingness, peace…etc. What’s the first thing you tell people about?

Ok_Tomatillo983019 karma

What was the most prevailing feeling/or thought you had or remember during the experience? Pain, sadness, nothingness, peace…etc. --> I remember peace during the part where I was unconscious for the 24 min then 2 days in coma. I am told I tried to rip the tube out when I woke up and begged (by barely being able to scrawl on my dad's tablet b/c I couldn't speak) for water and didn't have any short term memory so I can't really speak to my personal experience those first few days. Then I remember this delicious cheeseburger 7 days later (first solid food I was allowed) and then I remember severe pain and shaking after S-ICD surgery before going home.

What’s the first thing you tell people about? --> I guess I tell them that I may have seizures and not to worry, where my rescue drugs are, etc...but if we're talking emotionally, I say I have really bad PTSD. Then if we're really going deep, I talk about the peace I experienced while I was out and how life is much harder than that!

Mikemtb093 karma

How many lives do you have left now?

But seriously: do you have an updated “bucket list” or are you drastically changing anything about how you live your life given this new “bonus” time?

Ok_Tomatillo983027 karma

I hope I have a few left at least :) I do have an updated bucket list! I stopped working, partly due to PTSD and seizures as direct impacts from the cardiac arrest. Mainly I volunteer more and feel very connected to other people (after all, I wouldn't be here if a whole CHAIN of individuals fought for me when I couldn't do shit for myself) and I published a memoir I'd been working on for 5 years. I am learning to teach yoga, something that I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue before but am now passionate about. And mainly I'm "leaning out" - that is, I care only enough about money/status to survive in the world, career no longer defines me AT ALL. I just want to focus on those I love and finding what joy I can in the little things. Like chocolate cake and my vizsla dog. And hiking.

Anchiros-The-Maw3 karma

As a person who died at birth but later revived I feel you when you say the waking up part was the worst bit.

But it’s a bit different for me, I had little memory of the world, and you had an entire life.

What did you think of seconds before death? Were there fragments of your memories occurring whilst in the darkness or was it just pitch black? Did you miss anything in these moments of peace?

Ok_Tomatillo98307 karma

That's so interesting! Thank you for sharing. I don't remember anything about the week before the cardiac arrest unfortuntely. It wasn't dark, I feel it was light and peaceful and like maybe my ego just melted away until I was just one with everyone else? That's the best I can describe the feeling I get when I think about it.

FracturRe553 karma

Why did EMTs spend so long trying to resuscitate you? Don't get me wrong - I'm glad they did. But, I was under the assumption that they attempt resuscitation for a short time and then essentially "give up".

Please pardon my ignorance.

Ok_Tomatillo98305 karma

You'd have to ask an EMT. They did 4 hits with the paddle. I am late 30s so I was young to die and one of them has told me she was very determined b/c I'm close to her age and she just kept thinking no, not today. Perhaps that is why they kept going. That and my lack of pre-existing known heart conditions - they had hope that if they could get a rhythm, I could keep living a decent life. Also, keep in mind my husband started CPR very quickly so they could hope that my brain might be in better shape than most.

goodmoto3 karma

In another comment you mentioned you “still have heart failure.” Is this a result of the event, and do you think it’s reversible?

Ok_Tomatillo98308 karma

They tell me it's chronic and not reversible, but I've worked my way back to low-medium ejection fraction so I guess it's HFrEF (heart failure with recovered ejection fraction) which means I'm in a better boat than someone who still has 15% or whatever like I did in ICU. I have to take heart meds for life and have the device in my chest in case I need defibrillation.

Ok_Tomatillo98305 karma

Oh and yes, this is as a result of the event. No heart problems prior other than an asymptomatic murmur.

morallyirresponsible2 karma

Were you a religious person before and has your perspective on whether there is truly a God and the heavens changed?

Ok_Tomatillo98305 karma

I wasn't religious and I'm not sure I'm religious now but I'm definitely more spiritual. Sorry if that sounds vague. I go to an Episcopal church sometimes now and also pray with some local Quakers in silence and also meditate, none of which I did before. My brother prayed (he is also not religious) while my body was being flown on the helicopter to the trauma unit that I would know God while there was still time, which is a weird think for him to have prayed, if you knew him. And I feel like in my recovery I have seen "God" if you want to call it that in other people. I just think everything is God now. Not sure many religious folks will like that answer, but it's as true for me as I can put into words.

LanceFree2 karma

Can I assume you’re happy to be back and did not have a DNR? Are you considering having one drawn up?

Ok_Tomatillo98309 karma

Good question. I actually do have a DNR. I drew it up after the event. I figure I have a defibrillator which was surgically implanted before I knew what was happening, so my husband is happy. I don't want to die yet (I'm in my 30's) but I am not sure I'm ready to face the entire resuscitation and recovery process again yet. Maybe in a few years I'll change my mind. Time will tell.

Dudeist-Priest1 karma

Are you planning on cashing in and writing a book about all the amazing things you were shown in the afterlife?

Ok_Tomatillo98307 karma

Haha fat chance. I did write a memoir which I was working on anyway, and it cost me an arm and a leg to get it edited and I doubt I'll even make that back. Mainly, I involve myself with support groups and volunteer organizations. I also had to quit working due to seizures and PTSD. Don't recommend cardiac arrest as a financial move. :) Especially b/c many, like me, don't see much in the afterlife besides a sense of peace or whatever.

Nofreecatnip81 karma

Other than a sense of peace, do you remember seeing or experiencing anything else? Are there any visuals you can remember? Did you question what could be going on while you were out of it?

Ok_Tomatillo98302 karma

It just wasn't like that. There was no questioning or steering the experience on my end of any kind. It's almost like I just evaporated and became one with the air.

dartanum-2 karma

Are you unvaccinated against Covid?

Ok_Tomatillo98302 karma

Nope, see previous comments.