“I can’t go down here. I can’t go down here.”
The thought raced through Verizon Wireless customer Marc Jamison’s mind as he pedaled his bike along the trail.
Just minutes earlier, Jamison had stopped at a friend’s house to say hello. While talking in the front lawn, he received a call from his brother.
“As I’m talking to him, the cell phone just kept feeling heavier and heavier,” said Jamison.
Pressure started across the tops of his shoulders and arms, and then up the back of his neck. Jamison, only a mile from home, set off on his bike.
“I thought at first the pressure might just be from leaning on my handlebars for an hour,” said Jamison. “Plus, it was hot out.”
But just as he got on the bike path, the pressure moved from his upper extremities directly into his chest.
“When it did that, I knew exactly what it was,” said Jamison. “There was no second guessing, it felt like someone was pushing down and squeezing my heart at the same time.”
Jamison, only a quarter mile from home, could not go any further.
“I kept telling myself to remain calm, stay upright and keep my eyes open.”
He stopped under the shade of a tree at a school playground and called 911.
“I kept thinking, I’m in the middle of a heart attack,” said Jamison with a smile.
When he arrived at the emergency room, and doctors began describing to Jamison what was going to happen, he realized no one had contacted his family.
“I called my wife right there from the gurney in the ER.”
A stent was placed in Jamison’s heart. In the recovery room, doctors told Marc and his family the type of heart attack he suffered is commonly referred to as the “widow maker.” His left anterior descending artery, or LAD, was blocked. For a majority of patients, this can be fatal if they do not receive medical attention within 60-90 minutes.
“There is typically a 90 percent mortality rate, and my LAD was 100 percent blocked. I feel really lucky.”
Jamison also felt lucky he had his cell phone with him that day, and for Verizon’s reliable network.
“That’s a huge factor. I just kept asking: why did I make it? What was that all about?”
Jamison quickly turned his search for meaning into a mission to help others. He affectionately calls it his personal public service announcement when he encourages family, friends and colleagues to always carry a cell phone and to make sure their provider has reliable coverage. He emphasizes that what happened to him could happen to anyone.
“I am living proof. Part of it is your confidence goes because you didn’t expect the heart attack the first time. I didn’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I had recently lost 10 pounds and felt like I was in the best shape of my adult life.”
“I [likely] wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t carrying my cell phone. I feel extremely lucky.”
Meagan Dorsch is a public relations manager for Verizon Wireless. Follow her on Twitter at: @VZWMeagan.