Personal Stories: David Emmitt

They tell me I am not supposed to be here.

On Oct 8, 2008 I woke up to what I thought was going to be a normal day. I got ready for work, fixed my daughter breakfast and got her lunch ready. I told my wife that I felt like "my body was shutting down" - I had been working long, long hours on a new business pitch the last several weeks. But nothing seemed weird, because I expected to be tired.

My wife left for an out of town meeting, my daughter went to school - she was going to stay with friends since I had to get on a plane that afternoon. I was still feeling tired so I emailed work and told them I would be in late. Then I tried to lay down and that's when the "pain" started. At 9 am it felt like I had tried to swallow a softball and it got stuck in my throat.

I spent the next 3 hours trying to figure out what was going on. The pain was not intense. It certainly hurt, but more just weird and uncomfortable. But it started to move, up my neck and I could feel it in my jaw. It also hurt a lot more. I called my wife who had just landed in and told her I was driving myself to the ER.

I got to the ER around 12:30 pm. After some CT's and XRAYs this amazing Dr. grabbed my hand and told me that I was in a life-threatening situation. The surgeon I needed was at a larger hospital 20 miles away and that I did not have time to go by road. So the bonus part of this story is that I got to take a Life Flight helicopter ride.

Well I called my wife - tough, and one of my two daughters - tougher. And then they put me on the helicopter and by 3:30 or so I was in surgery. The folks at the ER all lined up to see me off. I later found out that they were saying good bye as much as good luck. Turns out nobody thought I was going to make it out of there alive.

If I remember they put in a 28mm Dacron graft and some supports in my valve. There was no high blood pressure or heart disease - no one could really figure out why this happened. Unlucky they said. I was in the hospital 5 days and then they sent me home. Unfortunately I was back within 24 hours for another 5 days - seems I had a pulmonary embolism.

Anyway, only a couple of week out from all of that. Not back to work yet. Feel OK. Lots of creepy, hyper awareness of every single heartbeat and ache or pain. Figure that is normal.

My surviving is all due to Dr. Mooere and the staff at the ER at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and Dr. Doty and the folks at Intermoutain Medical Center's Heart and Lung Center.

I owe you guys.

Glad be here.


ps: It's nice that this came at the tail end of fly fishing season.

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