James Island couple shares survival story to promote heart health awareness

Local News
When we marry, we promise to love, protect, and nurture each other’s heart.  A James Island couple, Mike and Becky Green are doing just that, in more ways than one.  They’re sharing their survival story to raise awareness ahead of the American Heart Association’s upcoming 25th anniversary Lowcountry Heart Walk.
 
Mike and Becky Green found love late in life. “It took us a lifetime to find each other.  I never thought that I would meet the love of my life, and I did,” says Becky.  Married in 2013, the couple 65-year-old Mike and 61-year-old Becky live active healthy lifestyles.  They love exercising together, but June 14th 2016, their lives changed in an instant.  Mike says “We came here to Gold’s and we’re running on treadmill, and my training exercise on the treadmill was to keep escalating the elevation of the treadmill and upping the speed. I was trying to get to where I would be better on running the Ravenel Bridge than I had been before, so I was pushing everything to the max and apparently I passed my maximum. She will have to take over from there because I fell out and don’t remember anything.” Becky says, ” I was a few treadmills away from him, and I heard a loud noise, and I turned my head, and I saw his shirt, the color of his shirt, and I saw someone falling off the treadmill.  I couldn’t believe it was him.  I immediately jumped off the treadmill, and I reached him by the time he was hitting the floor. I tried to grab his head to keep it from hitting the floor, and I knew he was in serious trouble because he was blue in the face. I’m an old cardiac nurse, so I started breathing two breaths and started CPR.
 
The gym’s manager jumped in and used the gym’s defibrillator.  Someone else started chest compressions. “I screamed at that point for someone to call 911, and a woman appeared and told me she had just taken CPR training and she moved me quietly away and told me she would take over. When I saw what was going on I went from being calm and being able to participate in doing what he needed, to being the wife and got very hysterical knowing this was so serious,” says Becky.
Becky is a cardiac nurse. Mike, a picture of health, had no problems with his heart before, and no history of heart disease in his immediate family. Becky says,”The woman who took over CPR took me in her car to the hospital.  I have this in my hand because she handed me this green blanket, and said hold on to this as tight as you can, and later when I looked at it it said Heart Walk on it.”  She thinks back to when they arrived at the hospital. “When we first went into the chest pain center.  He was on life support on the ventilator having a heart attack, and he was too unstable for them to take to the lab. They made the decision to put him in the ICU and put him in hypothermia to help preserve his brain. At that time they did not have any responses from him neurologically.  We really didn’t know if he was still with us or not.  I knew he was still alive as far as a heart beat, but I did not know if he was ever going to be mike again.  I felt like we were just starting our love story, and now to lose him at that point was unbelievable.”
 
On the tenth day, Becky had to make a heartbreaking decision regarding ending Mike’s life, but on that very day, a major change.  “I walked in, and he was awake with his eyes opened nodding and following me around the room.  Shortly there after, they took him off the ventilator, and I said do you know who I am.  It was an amazing miracle,” says Becky.
Now, Mike still exercises and swims regularly, but in moderation.  He says, “Several of my doctors have said that my survival pretty much hinged on the fact that I was in great condition to begin with.  Had I not been in great condition, I would not have made it.”
 
A few months after his heart attack, while still in recovery, the Greens and their families participated in the Heart Walk, and they are walking this year as well.  Becky says, “We feel like telling our story might interest someone in taking CPR training, might interest someone in donating to research for cardiovascular disease, and it might increase awareness that even though you don’t look the picture of someone who might have a heart attack, we all need to be very aware of what’s going on with our bodies and pay attention to them and take care of them.”
  
Despite the odds they faced, Mike and Becky’s love story continues.  Mike says, “I wouldn’t be here without her.  She’s the one who started CPR and kept pushing all the way through. She has kept things rolling for me.”  Becky says, “I never thought that I would meet the love of my life, and I did.”
The AHA Lowcountry Heart Walk will be held Saturday September 29th at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. For more information on how you can participate, learn more information about CPR, or to make a donation, click here:  http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=3529&pg=entry

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