I was put on Flolan around 8pm the night I was admitted. When my parents found out that I was admitted to the hospital they decided to drive up.  The next day my sister went to pick them up from my house around lunchtime.  In the hour and a half that she was gone, I went into cardiac arrest. This was on Thu Sept, 4th.

I was getting an aortic iv put in my wrist when I coded.  The doctor who was putting the line in couldn’t find an aorta for the iv.  Me and my damn small veins.  I remember she had to move from one wrist to another and there was a lot of wiggling around with the needle. My body went into distress and all my vitals plummeted.  The blood in my heart decided to pump in the wrong direction, and then my heart stopped.

The next memory I have is of being wheeled down to the operating room and complaining that I couldn’t breath or swallow and that my mouth was so very dry.  I remember being moved onto the operating table and the doctor telling me that I would be put to sleep soon.  One doctor said something like ‘Think of a relaxing place. Imagine you’re at the beach’.  I remember thinking that was the most asinine thing I had ever heard.

My sister filled me in on the days between Thursday and Sunday. The cardiologist told her that 2 out of 10 people with PH survive a cardiac arrest, and not to worry because I came back pretty quickly and was lucid.  They wheeled me down to the operating room where I had open heart surgery and was put on the ECMO machine (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).  When they brought me back to the ICCU my chest was still open – apparently standard procedure.  They then wheeled me back to the OR to close my chest.  After my chest was closed I was bleeding out too much so they took me back down to the OR to find out what’s wrong.  I think I was the most critical at this point.  The doctors told my family that if my bleeding didn’t stop and they couldn’t find a source there was nothing more they could do.  During the surgery they placed a wound vac in my chest and the bleeding had subsided.  When all was stable they took me back down another time to close my chest.

The first day that I was fully lucid was Monday the 8th.  I woke up with a breathing tube down my throat and hooked up to ECMO. The ECMO was keeping me alive acting as my heart and lungs. I was put on the transplant list the next day for double lung and heart.