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I won’t squander my second chance
Last Tuesday, Feb. 2, I celebrated my second birthday.
Huh? You’re only two years old and can write already?
No, silly. I mean I now have two birthdays.
Let me explain.
Tuesday of last week was Day Four of coughing, hacking and being unable to breathe.
I sat on the deck at 5:30 a.m. and had a smoke and a cup of coffee. I’m sure the cig was good for me.
I noticed I could walk about five feet and then become totally out of breath. It was scary.
I called my doctor and scheduled to see him that afternoon. I jumped in the shower around noon and suffered an asthma-like attack.
My doctor diagnosed a virus and, noticing the wheezing in my lungs, remarked, “Man you are really tight in there.”
I was prescribed an inhaler, which I had used before, as well as some cough syrup.
I was told they would phone in a prescription for antibiotics, too.
At 8:30 p.m., I used my inhaler again but still couldn’t catch my breath.
I finally decided to go to bed.
At approximately 12:30 a.m., I died.
My wife works evenings and returned home at around 11 p.m. She looked in on me and I was doing fine snoring away.
An hour later she was watching TV and enjoying a snack when a voice in her ear said, “Check Frank.”
That had never happened to her before, so she came into the room and I was lying half in and out of bed, not breathing, no pulse.
She yelled for my adult son to call 911 and get in there.
They performed CPR on me with direction from the 911 operator.
I awoke around 2 a.m. in Harrison Medical Center’s ICU.
I was told I had been resuscitated by the medics, had COPD as well as pneumonia.
I spent the next two days in ICU.
On the first day in ICU, Bonnie Shamion, the head paramedic who had brought me back to life, called me.
I was a little out of it still but she very carefully told me that, “Guys like you don’t make it.”
They revived me on the last possible spark that was left.
Bonnie felt that after 20 years with the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue all that training had finally paid off.
Had my wife and son not performed CPR on me, the medics would have had nothing to work with.
I’m sitting here realizing how fortunate I am. I served in Vietnam with the Navy, retired as a truck driver with more miles than I’ll ever admit and thought I had seen and felt everything.
There is no feeling like being given a second life.
I do now have two birthdays. My wife insists that my guardian angel told her to check on me that night, and I believe her.
I also believe my wife, son, paramedics and all involved were my angels.
I’m healing nicely at home, and I will never smoke again and am taking this one day at a time.
I truly am the luckiest guy in Port Orchard and will choose life over chocolate any day.