The day began unremarkably.
As a doctor, I’d worked the previous night so I started the day a little later.
I began with a five-kilometre run, continuing my exercise plan I was so proud of.
Arriving at the office that morning I immediately began seeing patients. All went smoothly. Having finished the medical portion of my last patient of the morning, I was just having idle conversation.
From what I gather, during my conversation with the child’s mother I blacked out. My office staff called for assistance.
CPR was begun while the paramedics were called. When they arrived, they found me unresponsive and in ventricular fibrillation.
Realising the situation, the paramedics immediately shocked my heart back into its normal rhythm. Once medically stable, I was transported to a nearby hospital to sort out what happened.
There were many questions asked trying to determine the cause of the episode. After several days of tests, my family was told I had suffered a cardiac arrest, and it was determined an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) would be implanted.
With this, we could rest comfortably knowing if my heart did return to an unstable rhythm, I would receive an electrical shock to reestablish a normal heartbeat.
What did I learn from this experience? I had always appreciated health, family and friends. I had always appreciated every day of my life.
Now I understand something many people never understand. Life is very fragile.
We hang in this world by a thin string. The fact there is so much in life that can go wrong, so much that can easily snatch life away from us is easily forgotten.
Each day, I try to appreciate this fine balance. How suddenly life can change. How important it is to appreciate all that we have.
Living life to its fullest, never taking anything for granted is the essence of living, what it means to live life.
I know I had a second chance.
– Barry, 38