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Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Survivor's Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2021 5:00 am

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Survivor's Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 22, 2021 5:00 am

Author and speaker Pamela Christian shares the story of her near-death experience, encouraging listeners to consider the brevity of life and settle the question of their eternal destiny by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. (Original air date: Feb. 10, 2016)

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Today on Focus on the Family will take us somewhat humorous look at a pretty serious subject's sudden cardiac arrest and next thing that he heard someone yell her.

She's thinking you do that you saw a friend go into cardiac arrest might be thinking. So clearly you thanks for joining us to Focus on the Family your hostess focus.

President Jim Daly and I John 410 I can imagine the stress of that kind of situation. John, our guest today is Pamela Christian and she is going to share her story of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest and that's the type of heart attack that usually has no warning signs and let me say this is just one woman's perspective and were not trying to give you medical advice here, but we do want to raise your awareness of a condition that kills about 350,000 people a year here in the US and since February is National heart awareness month. This seemed like a good time to share Pam's story, which also has some deep spiritual application points and you can hear that in a few minutes let's go ahead in here now from Pam Christian as she spoke to a group of women at Mount Herman Christian conference center describing a warm September day in Southern California when she was 47 years old and like change girlfriend. These ladies before you arrived. Feeling little bit nervous well a lot okay I really want to do well.

I want to invite me back to me like establish new group of women to play tennis with my friend Terry introduced me to jail to daddy two ladies I never met before I joined them on the court to warm in the first offense. I was mortified. I realize how dreadful this is for me in terms might be patient. I never again asked me to play tennis with them at the same time and thinking all these thoughts I realized little lightheaded and too much exertion that I had already given so I really couldn't play tennis, which was probably obvious at that time down to myself just got myself terribly emotionally worked up wanting to do a good job.

So anyway down but I wasn't getting any better so I gathered my things and I was going to go home and Terry followed me out toward my car which I resisted because I thought already in the game. Please at least play a threesome. Don't let me interrupt any further before you get all the way into my car around my car at the curb were was part I threw up.

I threw up this time Terry offered to call 911 and I resisted instead saying you know… Do that so she then said let me at least drive you to the hospital. I thought well perhaps it makes sense at this point in time, and then a beautiful red sporty car that was so Killington side door and started to get in realizing I feel that they can find in it. I thought oh no I do not want to make a mess of her beautiful red car.

My nausea was getting worse and so is my shortness of breath, and my dizziness. So was my perspiration.

I was rather hot and sweaty so I walked back over to my car where it was parked because it was in the shade all I wanted to do was lay down on the sidewalk that was still damp.

It was early morning. I just wanted to lie down on the cold sidewalk in the shade and at this time. Terry called 9114 by now Jill and Debbie to come out from the courts and I could hear them saying that someone needed to call my husband and I could hear also that they were rummaging around in my purse looking for my cell phone so I lay there thinking swell. Now I don't only admit that I'm tennis and parent also technology impaired because I have no phone numbers programmed into my cell phone so between grass and I was very short of breath. One digit at time I gave them my husband phone number they called my husband course 9/11 had already been dispatched. We could hear sirens off in the distance. Terry stayed on the phone with the dispatcher following his instructions to care for me until they arrived in Jill and Debbie were praying for me. Gratefully I was with three Christian sisters who knew what to do first and foremost is to pray for the firefighters and paramedics arrived on the scene six minutes and 21 seconds after the call was made to 9/11 immediately.

There was a rush of men in dark blue uniforms scurrying all about. One man, Jeff Peterson, the paramedic approached me for my left side, taking my arm and strapping it to something I don't know what immediately began asking me all sorts of questions to get an understanding of my level of consciousness and things like that. He asked me what was the date was the day of week. What is your name was your age. What is your weight from the moment they arrived on the scene.

They began administering advanced life support. That's how serious of a condition they found me and Capt. Glenn Segan and Jeff Peterson were two Caucasian men who were there. The scene they were to my left and Greg Brinkley and Mark Moore have to be to African-American men. To my right, all of them working on me.

I think it was Greg who was calling out when he saw taking place on the EKG and I'm told that my condition was changing so fast so rapidly that Capt. Glenn sickens could barely write it down now for those who are medically oriented. What they witnessed was a sudden cardiac arrest that originated in the upper chamber of my heart.

Particular documentation progression showed a ventricular tachycardia that went into a ventricular fibrillation for the rest of us who don't know what the world that means it means that the upper and lower chambers of my heart working very erratically being out of sync. It wasn't normal and the paramedics witnessed my heart beating around 300 bpm for someone my size and maximum exertion vice playing tennis on a good day would be about 180 bpm and I've since learned that a study in New York City of 5% of the witnessed ventricular fibrillation victims that only 1 to 2% of cardiac arrest victims survive the fact that my new friend called 911 and immediately began prayer allowed the emergency professionals to arrive on the scene and to witness the cardiac arrest and be in place to save my life. That's why am able to stand here and testify to you about the goodness of God and the truth about life after death. You see, a sudden cardiac arrest is very different than a heart attack a heart attack is where the heart convulses because the vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked heart attack can go into cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is where the heart abruptly stops until very recently was actually called sudden cardiac death because this is no one survived those few who did survive suffered increase degrees of brain damage for every minute that they were gone. But with the advent of newer medications and accessibility to defibrillators of the zappers lives have been saved. And so the term is been changed.

Sudden cardiac arrest while I was still answering Jeff's questions when he asked me feeling kind of funny.

I kind of questions that ask at a time like I didn't know it but what he was observing on EKG was that my heart had stopped but I'm still answering his questions as immediately as I thought that what the question is that I was gone. That's when I died and I'm told this is the time my body went into convulsions and flopped on the sidewalk a lot like a fish out of water and turn tomato red, lack of oxygen now crowd of onlookers had gathered in. The guys were really scurrying about now, I'm told, because they had to get the zip scissors so they can cut my counter my clothing and get access to my chest woman after my own heart. I may have been the one to suffer the sudden cardiac arrest. My friends Terry Jill and Debbie were the ones truly traumatizes, they witnessed all of this. You see, I was no longer in my body. I went to a whole new dimension which was incredibly peaceful.

It was dark where I was, but not a frightening dark it was in a black dark is more of a charcoal gray or warm brown, dark, maybe something of what it would be like to be in the mother's womb. I did see a thin horizontal white light off in the distance, but it did not beckon me. As I was perfectly content right where I was. It was incredibly peaceful place. I love where I was and I sensed that I was in the very center of the sovereignty of God, nothing else mattered. Nothing. I just knew I was in the center of God's care and Debbie told me that she was so sensitive to the fact that they had to cut my top off and so became very personal and private tight matter for me that she turned her back to me but kept praying I thought that was really sweet.

Okay, just imagine her doing that so as her back was turned, and she's hearing them still work on me. She hears somebody clear because are getting ready to get the defibrillators out and then she heard the leaders activating which gave off 200 J of power.

The next thing Debbie heard someone yell back.

Her she's thinking you do that you give up on her now faith. She was thinking body bag to wanting to me the OCR type. My heart began beating again respond to the very first treatment of defibrillation and I could hear my name being called. I was so dictated that anyone would disturb me. I liked I was. I did not want to be bothered. I was experiencing the sovereignty of God.

I experience the fact that he's omnipresent. He's everywhere I knew I had a husband and children. They were also in God's care. They I knew they grieve five work with them but you know I didn't want to be bothered with even thinking about these things because I could experience a sovereignty in the care and love God, right where I was. Greg Brinkley kept calling my name. Pam you with us. Pam Pam come back.

Pam and I open my eyes and the first thing I saw was the face of a black man knelt over me and beyond that, I saw the sky in the clouds and Jesus is realized as to where I was. We are made in God's image, so Jesus has every color but we realize why was what happened in these are actually the man that God used to save my life. This time I also sensed that my chest was bare and realizing exactly where I am and that a lot of people had gathered. I asked my naked and Greg Downey's is Pam. That's the worst we had about it day confirmations will be to cover me up because the last thing they want is for cardiac patient to get upset and then the ride to the hospital in the ambulance is what followed in the doctors were and they are amazed.

To this day that I suffered what I did because my weight is not a concern. Thank you very much.

I don't smoke, there's no immediate history of heart disease and my family. They found no cholesterol or electrical problems with my heart.

I was in the hospital for eight days. They have no idea what specifically triggered this to happen. Will talk later.

Make sure they fit me with the AIC deed is an automatic cardiovascular implantable device and what it is is a combination defibrillator and pacemaker so that if my heart erratically again later will go off if it should be to slow the pacemaker will set in and a friend of mine who is a famous person.

I won't name him, but he cracked me up when they said you know if you ever see Pam raise her arms and do this because the believer has gone Lord when I was in the hospital in reflecting and everything was still fresh. I flashed a thought if I just kinda coursed through my mind said I have no regrets and as soon as that thought register you how could you think something like that.

It almost as soon as I had thought the Holy Spirit comforted me, allowing me to understand that I have no regrets not because of how I live my life because of how Christ lived his and my faith has been in Christ. What about you not one of us know the moment for the day, our life will be taken from us in this truth that our life could be taken from us that fast need not be something that we fear because faith in Christ is what gives us assurance that we will enter covenant communion with God in heaven forever. My faith in Christ that was developed through all the trials and the sufferings that was developed before my cardiac arrest allowed me to look forward to life hereafter, believing that it would be better for having experience what I did with the cardiac arrest, I now know and can testify that life definitely will be better after this far better than we can possibly hope or dream much more incredibly peaceful and loving.

Imagine I am now experientially convinced in the truth of the apostle Paul's statement that to live is Christ and to die is gain. When I got out of the hospital I had to find out who these men were save my life and when I visited them for the first time there was a bond that we shared and we kinda stood around kinda goofy just staring at each other and Jeff. The paramedic was very interested. Wanting to figure out what the doctor say what the diagnosis from his medical perspective and he said I thought you had maybe suffered any adolescent medical term and he said I realize you're too old for that one slip we continue to visit and Jeff. He said Pam I am really sorry but I'm the one who had cut her top off and you really didn't like that. I said no I didn't and then stepping and being very Thinly Capt. Glenn Sagan says Pam I just want to reassure you were professionals and under the circumstances, it really wasn't all that memorable to me.

There is a swell for the tell me when it came time to leave captaincy conflicted me you are coming to CS has just made our day and you don't have that many people that are able to come back and say thank you, but I looked at him. I said don't you understand you're coming to see me read the rest of my life God use these wonderful men in the prayers of my sisters to allow this wife and mother of two, to live longer on this earth unnaturally naturally, I take cookies or something else.

Anything I can think of once a month over the fire station. In September they came over along with Jill Debbie and Terry and their husbands for barbecue to celebrate my one year anniversary of the survival of my cardiac arrest. To celebrate life really you only makes sense that I be devoted to these people from God use them to save my life. God use them to save my physical life here on this earth and we think of just that and doesn't make even more sense that we would be devoted to the one who has saved our eternal life.

Christ died for us the very least we can do is live for him.

Many people, including the attending physician, Dr. Campbell has said, you know Pam I think I was trying to tell you to slow down but considering the fact that the doctors found no reason that I suffered what idea that I have no cholesterol problems. I have no electrical problem. There's no reason that they give me back to the did prescribe medications but it was strictly precautionary so I am not restricted. I take no medications whatsoever.

I don't believe that God was telling you slow down at all. No, I don't slow down because I know now better than most. Just how preciously precariously vulnerable. Our lives are no I've come to understand yet another statement that the apostle Paul made and that is woe to me.

If I don't preach the gospel, God not want me to slow down. God wanted me to become more intense for your sakes, please understand me on this. You can know you will spend eternity with God with conviction and it's as simple as you being willing to believe and receive Jesus Christ, the son of God, whose life was given up as a substitute sacrifice to satisfy the debt. Your sin and mine. You see, it was by an act of the will and entered all humanity. And so it requires an act of the will that the individual can be released in forgiven meeting Tatian Yellowstone focus on Pamela Christian for you to look to and to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior so you can have the kind of hope of heaven but she's expressed with. You died today or 50 years from now John isn't it amazing how brush with the can sharpen your focus about what's important in life. What wake-up call.

By the way Pam wanted her listeners to know that she continues to be busy doing the Lords work with no health issues and as we said at the top of the program.

John February's national heart awareness month, and this is a great opportunity for us to remind you and ourselves of a few facts about heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest. Most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain or discomfort, and often people mistake the symptoms for indigestion and just wait for the pain to go away and that can be a fatal mistake. In fact, the American Heart Association says that chest pain is the most common sign of a heart attack but with women. They are more likely to experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and maybe even back or jaw pain. So if you experience these kinds of symptoms. Don't try to write about. At home I could hear Jean doing that because she is you know just so good with paying the she just keep going but they say get to an emergency room right away and as you heard today.

Pam's brush with death was a cardiac arrest where the heart actually stopped bleeding as Pam pointed out that many people have abnormal sensations before their heart will actually stop. So if you have symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or unexplained nausea or vomiting, call 911 and get to an emergency room right away. By the way, it was the 911 call that literally save Pam's life.

If the paramedics had not been there to shock her back to life.

She probably wouldn't have survived and were so grateful.

She bids so that her experience can serve as a warning for the rest of us if you'd like to get a copy of this message from Pam Christian for yourself or maybe even for a friend. Please get in touch with us that we'd be happy to send it to you for donation of any amount as you support the work here at Focus on the Family give us a call today.

We really want to get this powerful presentation into your hands. We do. You can reach us by calling 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459 or follow the link in the episode notes to donate to the work of Focus on the Family and request that CD and you know as Pam ripped up her message today. She explained how you can know that you'll spend eternity with God through the salvation offered in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you'd like to learn more about that for free E booklet on her website called coming home next time you hear how God restored a marriage after lengthy separation and some pretty terrible circumstances and one morning they said mommy need to pray for daddy to Jesus. I thought that Achille said you know you're right.

We need to pray.

So we started pray and really that's where it happened through prayer on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family take a moment please give us a rating sure about this episode with a friend and a plan to be with us next time. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. The seasons of your life are always moving forward, marriage, parenting, aging well and throw it all. Focus on the Family is alongside you. With encouragement from a biblical perspective and now we have a tool that gathers our trust and guidance and support together in one place.

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