Nothing Is Going To Break My Stride

Ed Readman knows what it means to be in the right place at the right time.

He tries not to think about what could have happened had he skipped his daily workout session on the afternoon of Feb. 16.

It was a cold and snowy day, but Ed, an FMC volunteer, decided to still make the drive to Fairfield Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehab gym. Since his diagnosis of congestive heart failure in 2010, he doesn’t like to miss a workout unless it’s absolutely necessary.

In the gym that day was cardiac rehab nurse Jennifer Turner, a good friend of Ed’s. Before the day was over, she and several others would be instrumental in saving Ed’s life.

“I was 25 minutes into a 30- minute walk on the treadmill when I started to feel dizzy, so I reached out to grab the railing,” Ed recalls. “The next thing I remember was Jennifer next to me, telling me to squeeze her hand.”

Turner said she was shocked when she saw Ed lying facedown behind the treadmill. At first she thought he had just tripped – until he started slurring his speech and his face began to turn a bluish-gray color.

“I could tell he had stopped breathing, and when I checked him, there was no pulse,” she said.

Ed had gone into cardiac arrest, a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. For several minutes, Turner, along with FMC staff Karmen Armstrong-Bolton, Brandon Phoenix, Robert Zee, M.D., and Kelly Marion, did CPR on Ed until he was resuscitated.

“The whole time I was thinking, ‘this can’t be happening to Ed’, ” Turner said. “We all know him; he comes in every day and is like a member of the family. It just didn’t seem real.”

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone and often results in death if it’s not treated within minutes, especially when it happens to someone like Ed with a history of heart problems.

But Ed’s healthy lifestyle and the quick action of many resulted in a full recovery. In fact, he was discharged after just two days in the hospital.

“When we went to visit Ed in the Emergency Department, we were shocked to see him completely coherent,” said Turner, who Ed has nicknamed his ‘guardian angel’. “If Ed wasn’t as committed as he has been to making his heart stronger, he probably wouldn’t have responded the way he did and recovered.”

Ed believes it’s a miracle he is here today and is glad to be able to share his story.

“There’s a reason I’m still around,” he said. “Maybe it’s to keep teaching people from my experience that if you do what you’re supposed to do, you’re going to be OK. Just because you have a heart problem, it doesn’t mean you give up, lie down and quit. You keep going and you keep fighting.”

Tags: CHF, Heart Failure, Cardiac, Cardio,