A few nights ago my wife and I attended an awards dinner presented by the emergency medical services agency of our sprawling rural county. Because there isn't a single hospital here in Greene County, having well-trained paramedics on patrol in well-equipped SUV's around the clock is vitally important to local residents. Equally important in every emergency are our police and volunteer firefighters. As it was in my own case, they often initiate life-saving procedures prior to the paramedics arrival on the scene.
Among the first-responders that were recognized for their life-saving efforts in the reversal of cardiac arrest at the annual dinner was the team of EMT's, police and firefighters that have helped enable me to continue living normally amidst our majestic mountains forests and waterways.
As the only recent survivor of cardiac arrest able to attend the event, I was treated like a special guest of honor. I asked for the opportunity to publicly thank these dedicated people with a short speech I had prepared. Presented below is the text of that speech which was so well-received that I received an undeserved standing ovation from the large crowd of dedicated people in the room . . .
When I woke up on the morning of February 24th I wasn’t prepared for the things that would happen to me that day.
I wasn’t prepared to be in a car accident. I was driving cautiously and patiently waiting for a red light to turn green at the moment of impact.
I wasn’t prepared for my sudden a-fib death having been examined and tested by a cardiologist just a couple of weeks earlier -- at which time I was given a clean bill of health.
I wasn’t prepared for the multiple shockings it took to restore a pulse.
I wasn’t prepared for the helicopter ride to Albany Med and I certainly was not prepared to wake up in one of their beds a few days later, fresh out of a hypothermic coma and suffering from total amnesia regarding the events of February 24th.
I wasn’t prepared for quadruple bypass surgery, including the removal of an inch of blood vessel from the back of each of my legs and I wasn’t prepared for a second surgery during which a pacemaker-defibrillator was implanted in my chest.
I was definitely not prepared for the shock of learning that my favorite pair of jeans and flannel shirt had been converted to rags by a scissors-happy EMT.
The only thing I was prepared for that day was for God’s will to be done in my life. I prayed that morning, as I do every day, that He would watch over me and I thanked Him for hearing and answering my prayers -- which He obviously does
Fortunately for me, you people were totally prepared for everything that happened to me on February 24th. I’m sure that many of you prayed that day, as you do each day, to be up to the task of dealing with emergencies like mine. Take heart that God hears and answers your prayers, as well.
Beside being grateful to the Lord above for His blessings I’m also grateful to your team for the care you provide to our community at the very moments when it is required.
I want to thank each of you from the bottom of my rebuilt heart for all that you were PREPARED to do for me.
Update: I feel fine, all of my incision scars have healed, I'm back to work and have resumed all of my regular activities. I send my heartfelt thanks to all of my friends, neighbors, co-workers and readers for your continued prayers and encouragement!