By Angel Stampley
My husband, Donald, and I have been big fans of the Houston Texans since the team first formed, so we were thrilled to be able to finally attend a game for the first time. Thanks to a friend, we were given tickets to attend the Texans pre-season game on Aug. 18.
The day started off as normal as ever.
We arrived at the stadium, found our seats and went to grab some food at the concession stands before kick-off. While we were in line, Donald mentioned he felt a little nauseous. I asked if he wanted to go to the restroom or back to our seats, but he declined. We got our food, some water and made our way back to the stands. He didn’t complain about feeling sick again and said he felt fine.
During the second quarter, I looked over and noticed Donald was slumped over in his seat. I called out his name and shook him a few times, but he didn’t wake up. Our friend, James, who happened to also be at the game and sitting nearby, saw how frantic I was and knew something was wrong. James came running down the stands and started CPR on Donald.
The next few minutes were a blur.
I watched as dozens of Texans fans, who were also nurses and doctors, jumped to Donald’s aid to attempt CPR. Donald had a heart attack two years ago, but that time we were fortunately in the doctor’s office when it occurred. Knowing Donald already had two stents in his heart, I was panicking and praying he would pull through. Dr. Toby Thomas, who is affiliated with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, was one of the doctors at the game and helped guide resuscitation.
Paramedics from the Harris County Emergency Corps came to our seats, continued CPR and shocked Donald with an AED device. Shortly after, we were both transported from the stadium to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. In total, Donald received 30 minutes of CPR and more than nine shocks with the AED.
According to the doctors, Donald receiving CPR for so long was a concern when he arrived at the hospital. However, they said that due to the quality of the CPR he received throughout the entire ordeal, Donald was still moving his arms and legs, which was a good sign for the doctors. It also played a role in Donald going into emergency surgery in the cath lab. While there, doctors removed the blockage and placed two stents in the right side of his coronary artery in order to restore blood flow.
Donald spent almost two weeks in the hospital, but is feeling better and currently doing cardiac rehab at home.
Celebrating a very special birthday.
Last week, my Donald was able to celebrate his 56th birthday with us. This was without a doubt because of the CPR administered by knowledgeable bystanders, the quick actions of the EMS and the attention Donald received from that point forward. We are so grateful for the care provided by Dr. Ginger Wilhelm and Dr. Abhijeet Dhoble affiliated with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center.
This scare speaks to the importance of learning CPR. You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye. I encourage every person reading this to consider CPR training, because you could one day help save a life like Donald’s.