WAXHAW – Forty-eight-year-old Christine Jordan has a lot to be thankful for.
She’s thankful for quality time with caring friends and evenings with her boyfriend. But most of all, she’s thankful for every breath and the opportunity for a second chance at life, all thanks to the staff in the emergency room at Carolina Medical Center-Waxhaw.
What started out as a normal afternoon with friends turned into a near-death experience for Jordan. Spending time with a close friend in Indian Land, S.C., on Dec. 15, 2012, Jordan said she wasn’t feeling herself. For several days she felt tired, sluggish and somewhat out of sorts, she said.
“I went upstairs to take a nap,” Jordan said, adding that’s the last thing she remembered before waking up in a hospital bed at CMC-Pineville.
While she napped, Jordan’s friends started to worry, checking on her after she had been asleep for a while, eventually convincing her to go to the emergency room. Only five miles from CMC-Waxhaw, Jordan said her friends chose to drive her on their own, opting out of calling a South Carolina ambulance that wouldn’t arrive for at least another 15 minutes.
But on the way something went terribly wrong. Though she doesn’t remember, friends said Jordan’s eyes rolled back and she fell over in the seat, unconscious and without a pulse. She was having a heart attack.
“We got to the hospital and my friend’s husband and a security guard pulled me out of the car and onto a gurney. Right when they got me in the door, they lost my pulse and staff started giving me CPR for about 30 minutes,” Jordan said. “They just worked to get me as stable as they could.”
Overseen by emergency medicine physician Kathryn Shaw, CMC-Waxhaw staff performed CPR in an effort to restore breathing and circulation. After nearly 30 minutes, they were able to get a pulse back.
Still unconscious, Jordan was airlifted to CMC-Pineville where Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute interventional cardiologist Richard Shugoll placed a stent to alleviate two blockages to her heart.
Jordan then spent around two and a half days in an induced coma, giving her mind and body time to heal from the trauma.
“It’s hard for me to grasp because basically, I laid down to take a nap and I woke up in the hospital several days later,” Jordan said. “I didn’t have any pain beforehand and only had some soreness afterward from the CPR.”
Awake by Tuesday, Jordan said it was Thursday before she really understood everything that happened and by Friday, less than a week after the heart attack, doctors released her from CMC-Pineville’s care. Jordan went to stay with friends the first several nights to ensure a good recovery and on Saturday, just one week after her heart attack, she decided to go back to the place where her journey started to thank the people responsible for saving her life.
“We decided to go back and visit CMC-Waxhaw’s ER,” Jordan said. “We walked through the door and everyone’s jaws just dropped and tears started flowing. They couldn’t believe that I had actually survived and that I came back.”
Jordan wanted to thank the staff and doctors at the hospital for not giving up on her and also asked to hear the story of how she survived from a medical professional’s point of view.
“They told me the story, relaying it in a clinical manner. It didn’t make me emotional until I heard it from them, especially when they were telling me ‘We didn’t think you were going to make it.’ They were scared,” Jordan said.
Jordan said she is thankful for the hospital’s willingness to give her a second chance at life, explaining without CMC-Waxhaw she might not be here today – cutting a life short way too soon, she said.
“I am very grateful to them. The stars really aligned that day and everything they did was right,” Jordan said, adding that since the incident, she’s learning to live a healthier life as she continues rehab at CMC-Pineville. “I literally started a new life and I’m going to make this one last for another 48 years.”