Echo Michelle Harris’s Story

Altoona, IA

Echo Michelle' Story

Hello, my name is Echo Michelle Harris and I am 40-years old. My story begins on July 7th, 2010. I was at work as the electrophysiology hospital rounding nurse for a large midwest cardiology group. At about 2:30 pm, I returned to my office and told a co-worker I had jaw pain, chest pain radiating through to my back and my arms were numb. She took me down to the area where the cardiologists saw patients. There an EKG showed I was having a heart attack. My blood pressure was noted to be extremely high. EMS was called and I was transported, literally, around the block from my office to the hospital emergency room. I cannot recall the details as I have no memory of the events, but I am told in the ambulance bay I suffered cardiac arrest and CPR was performed. When I got into the ER, I went into ventricular fibrillation arrest and was defibrillated three times. I was declared “Level 1 protocol” and taken emergently to the cath lab where it was discovered my left anterior descending artery had torn creating the blockage. I had two stents placed. I was then put in a hypothermia protocol where my entire body was chilled to about 89 degrees for 24 hours or so. I am told the tear in my LAD is due to high blood pressure. I had no idea my blood pressure was so high–one report I heard was 220/130. I am now in cardiac rehab and trying very hard to avoid too much sodium–it’s in everything! I am extremely grateful to my co-workers and the hospital staff for saving my life. I am a mother to five fantastic children–three of my own and two stepchildren. I have a wonderful, caring, supportive husband who I am blessed to have taking care of me. I am currently working on my master’s degree in nursing to be a advanced registered nurse practitioner. Therefore, I have a lot to live for!!

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