Save Date: 9/26/1998
Activity: On stage
In July, 1998 I was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, with an ejection fraction of 15! With medications, restricted fluid intake, seriously restricted sodium intake, and cardiac rehab, I started feeling better by the end of the summer, although I was put on the heart transplant list. On September 26, 1998, I spoke to parents of gifted children at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University as part of a panel discussion. My topic was "Activating Your Young Child's Potential in Mathematics." During the next presentation, I went to the restroom, returned to the stage, then collapsed. Someone called 9-1-1. Several audience members, including at least three physicians, rushed to my rescue, administering CPR in teams until the Evanston Fire Department ambulance arrived. The EMTs shocked me a total of seven times in the auditorium, in the ambulance, and in the emergency department. Apparently I was in extremely bad shape during the next four days. My short-term memory was gone, and I asked the same questions so many times that my family wrote the answers on the white board in my room in the CCU. On September 30, a pacemaker/defibrillator was implanted in my chest. My first memory about the events surrounding the sudden cardiac death is signing the consent form for the surgery. Over the next month I had two additional fibrillation episodes that caused jolts from my device and resulted in additional hospital stays. The placement of the leads was adjusted during my last hospital stay in October 1998. I am now doing so well that I have been removed from the transplant list. Our daughter had both parents walk her down the aisle at her wedding in March of 2000! I am a very lucky woman!