Nov. 18, 2011 a date that will stick in my mind for the rest of my life because I died on that date.
My wife and I had gone to a household sale in Fredonia after I came home from work. While we were at the sale I ended up helping carry out a large entertainment center and then one of those large leather couches. When I came back in the house I took my jacket off, told my wife I was having trouble breathing, sat down on a chair, called my wife's name out, "Jean" and collapsed on the floor. My heart had stopped due to a blocked artery and I was gone, just like that!
Melanie, who was manning the checkout table, called 911 to get help coming, and both her and my wife opened my shirt up and started doing CPR on me. They didn't stop until the Fredonia Fire Department got there and took over for them. The firemen went right to work on me restarting my heart by shocking it back to life.
It took three times before they finally had a heart rhythm. The trauma wasn't over yet, because on the way to the hospital my heart stopped beating again and they once again had to get my heart beating. This time it stayed beating and after getting me to Brooks Memorial I was flown by Starflight to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., where the doctors took over stabilizing me.
After doing a cardiac catheterization the cardiologist at Hamot learned one artery was 100 percent clogged up and the rest were in the high 90s. I had five arterial bypasses done on my heart to restore the blood flow to feed my heart.
I woke up Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day, with my wife telling me about all what happened. I told her, "Honey, I'd argue with you, but you see, there's this line down my chest now that wasn't there before!" I was trying to make light of the seriousness of what had happened.
Initially, the cardiologist thought my heart was extensively damaged, but after reviewing my results changed this diagnosis and believed my heart just appeared more damaged than it really was. Following the 12 weeks of Cardiac Rehab that I completed at the WCA Hospital, my Echo Cardiogram showed my E.F. to be up to 65 percent, normal heart function.
My thanks go out to all those who helped save my life and to the Lord for answering the prayers of so many. Everyone, and I mean everyone, ought to learn how to do CPR. You never know when this skill will come in handy and give you the opportunity to save someone's life.
Kenneth Barton is a Jamestown resident.