On June 29, 2012, my 60-year-old common-law husband of 23 years, Gord McCaw, had a sudden cardiac arrest out of the blue while we driving in Dunbar area--me at the wheel, fortunately. After a 911 operator's instruction to get help moving him out of the car, general members of the public/volunteers Dan Good, Ryan McCracken, and Susan Schincariol administered CPR to keep him going till firemen first responders arrived and restarted his heart with a defibrillator at curbside. I accompanied Gord in the ambulance to VGH where he got the most extraordinary efficient and wonderful diagnosis and care that is available anywhere, I believe. A social worker in Emerg gently led me away from the ambulance back door I didn't want to leave while they brought him out the ambulance. She seated me in a private area near the Emerg treatment room he was brought to.
In no time at all, Gord's major artery that was 100% blocked was identified for catheterization and stent, and the procedure was quickly done in the catheterization lab a few doors away. He was moved to Cardiac ICU, put in a deliberate coma for a day, to let his body recover. He moved to the regular cardiac floor after that--his only memories of that time date from his post-ICU phase.
Gord is doing very well, continuing to be monitored by cardiologists at VGH, is caring for himself and living a normal and active--slightly MORE physically active life than before. He went through VGH's Healthy Heart Program. He had help along the way from GF Strong Rehab Centre for some initial memory issues, but only needed 3 months off work from his job as a driving instructor. Gord is a great driving teacher, loves young people and he's the sweet centre of my life. There would be fewer well trained young drivers and one very lonely woman--me--if VGH, all its departments, the health care system in general and the kind strangers in the street had not been there for us.