CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Imagine one second you’re outside in your front yard and the next, you’re on the ground – fighting for life.
50-year-old Jon Joesten and his wife, Lynda, were doing yard work when Jon suddenly collapsed from a heart attack.
“I know he was gone. I could tell he was. There was no response at all,” said Lynda.
“I was, you know, fatigued, but nothing to indicate that the switch was going to turn off,” remembered Jon.
As Lynda frantically shouted for help, Chelsea Kelly, a cardiac nurse, was driving by.
“I pulled over to the side. I ran out. I said, you know, ‘I’m a nurse. What happened?’ I felt for a pulse. I didn’t feel a pulse, so I immediately started compressions,” Kelly said.
“When she got there it was totally different, because she said all of a sudden she could see him breathing again,” said Lynda.
Paramedics took Jon to the emergency department. Soon after, he was life-flighted to Cleveland Clinic.
“His heart didn’t so much stop, but it went into an irregular chaotic electrical rhythm that caused it not to be able to pump,” explained Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon Daniel Burns, MD.
Jon underwent an eight hour triple bypass that might have never happened if it weren’t for Kelly. “Having someone there to administer CPR, I think it is the real pivotal moment that kept all the dominoes from falling in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Burns.
After 13 days in the hospital, Kelly visited Jon.
“I feel like it was like a miracle that I was there. And it was meant to be. Not only did I make a huge impact on their life, but they made an impact on my life too,” Kelly said.
“There’s just no way of thanking her. I mean he wouldn’t be here,” Lynda said.
“You know there’s no words to express the feeling or the, you know, the gratitude. I mean she literally gave me my life,” expressed Jon.
Jon is recovering well at home and has physical therapy three days a week. He was even able to see his wife’s son get married earlier in July.