Do you believe in miracles? After Aug. 19, I sure do!
By Don Quilici
Do you believe in miracles? That was the famous, never-to-be-forgotten question asked in 1980 by television sportscaster Al Michaels with seconds left in the Olympic hockey game in which a group of American amateur skaters beat the Russian team composed of seasoned professionals.
“Do you believe in miracles?”
Yes, I sure do!
However in my case, those miracles all occurred on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2004.
The first of an amazing series of miracles had taken place when Elaine has been asked in fill in, temporarily for the day, as an insurance agent at a State Farm Insurance office in Reno.
The second miracle occurred when she suggested that I check to see if Norm Budden (AKA Cheater No. 1) and Bob “Slick” McCulloch (Cheater No. 2), my longtime, close friends and fishing partners, might be interested in going trout fishing on that particular day.
The third miracle was when they agreed to go fishing.
We planned to fish at Lower Kinney Lake, which is a short one-half mile hike from Kinney reservoir near the top of California’s Ebbett’s Pass.
The fourth was our planned, early departure time of 6 a.m., which required getting up, much, much earlier than usual on that fateful day.
I woke up early that morning, got out of bed, and did not feel well. I had an ache, high on the right side of my chest.
I had helped some workers on the previous day move some cut sections of a large Siberian Elm tree that they had trimmed in my backyard.
I shrugged off the pain as either a sore or slightly pulled muscle.
The pain then went away, which made me think that it hurt because I had slept on my arm wrong during the night.
So, I began to get all of my fishing equipment ready for the day.
Then, the pain came back. Weird!
The fifth miracle was that I recognized something was definitely wrong.
I asked Elaine to get dressed in the event that we might have to make a trip to the emergency room at nearby Carson Tahoe Hospital.
The pain went away a second time.
This was really weird and I had never experienced anything like that in my entire life.
Elaine got dressed and as she did, the pain returned a third time.
However, by the time we were ready to go to the emergency room, the pain had disappeared again. Very weird!
Not really knowing what was happening but that something was way out of the ordinary, I got into our little red pickup truck and drove Elaine and I to the emergency room.
The sixth miracle occurred about 10 minutes after I had arrived at the emergency room, when I experienced the first of two heart attacks of that long and eventful day.
If you are ever going to have a heart attack, I was in the perfect place at the perfect time.
That heart attack required the use of electric paddles to return my heart to its normal beating rhythm.
Then, the decision was made by the doctor to transport me by Care Flight to the Cardiac Care Unit at Washoe Medical Center in Reno.
The next miracle occurred about 15 minutes after I had been admitted to that unit, when I had a second heart attack.
The Cardiac Care Unit personnel had to use CPR and electric paddles (not once but twice!) to get my heart back to a normal rhythm.
Again, by the Grace of God, I was in the perfect place at the perfect time.
My heart was still acting in an unstable manner, so the Cardiologist (Dr. Larry Noble) ordered an Angiogram.
This procedure resulted in the discovery that the right artery to my heart had three blockages (90 percent, 90 percent and 95 percent), which required Angioplasty (the installation of small metal Stents in that artery).
Most amazing, Dr. Nobel told me, later, that because of where I had been with both heart attacks and the immediate actions taken, there is no, or very, very, very little damage to my heart!
And, that I will be better and stronger, health-wise, than I ever was.
I was released from Washoe Medical Center on Aug. 23 to return home with these conditions:
Not allowed to go to work, or to drive a vehicle for the first two weeks at home.
Not allowed to have a Manhattan cocktail for six weeks (Darn!).
Not allowed to shovel any snow this winter (Yahoo!).
No restrictions of any kind on diet or exercise (Whew!).
I will be able to cross country ski or snowshoe, this coming winter (Yippee!).
Not required to go through Cardiac Rehab, but I will do so on a a voluntary basis (I might be ugly but I’m not dumb!).
So, in summary, because of a series of amazing, interconnected miracles, I am still here to enjoy life, at its fullest, with the knowledge that each and every day is truly a very precious gift from my Guardian Angel and God.
Since I’ve been back home, Elaine and I walk a one-mile loop, five times a day, each and every day.
Heck, my heart is fine now, but my feet hurt from all of the walking.
My tennis shoes are wearing ou, and I am beginning to have a sneaky suspicion that I’m about two inches shorter from all of that walking.
The Moral to this story is twofold:
1. If you don’t feel physically right, do not hesitate, be sure to seek out proper medical assistance as soon as possible.
That decision just might save your life like it did for me on Aug. 19.
2. If you have the chance to go fishing with Norm or Slick, don’t go! It could be your turn to have a heart attack.
Plus, I am beginning to also suspect that they want to divide up all of my fishing lures after I am long gone. Honest!
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you what actually was the primary reason for my two heart attacks.
If he grins and say, ” It was not caused by stress, high blood pressure, cholesterol or being overweight, but by strictly hereditary,” he wins the bet.
Note: My mother, father and brother all died from heart attacks, and both of my sisters have had heart problems .