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Spotlight: Connie Strong, Ohio

by You're C. on Thursday, August 1, 2013

Connie Strong Ohio

On October 22, 2010, I suffered the same type of medical condition that took the life of comedian John Ritter and many others, but fast action on my part and a correct diagnosis saved my life.  It was only the power of God and His divine Holy Spirit that led me into action that dreadful morning.

I had worked at Hillcrest Hospital for 18 years, but this day would be the day that would change my life.  Coming into work very early was not the norm, but I had volunteered to meet and greet the third shift employees with goodies as part of the Employee Activities Committee, and made the emergency department my last stop.

When I arrived back to my office at 7:00 a.m., I began to orient a new employee, Brittany.  As I sat down with her I immediately experienced a discomfort in my chest.  I got up from my desk walked around thinking this would relieve the strange feeling.  I sat back down and experienced the same sensation.  It was now 7:08 a.m. and I realized something was definitely wrong and I had to act fast.
 
As a hospital employee, we are taught to use special codes which will dispatch a medical team to assist in cases of emergencies.  If I had used the special assist code, a wheelchair along with a medial team would have come to my rescue and then I would have been wheeled to the Emergency Department.  

However, for some reason I felt I needed to act quickly and instead of using that code and waiting for help I chose to walk to the Emergency Department and asked Brittany to accompany me.  The Emergency department was a good distance from my office and in addition to the walk I had to take an elevator to the next floor. 

 While we walked I gave Brittany my husband and daughter’s phone number and asked her to call them immediately and let them know I was headed to the Emergency Department. 

 As I was rushed back into the emergency department, this time for treatment for myself, I caught the emergency staff by surprise and they sprang into action.  Once I was ushered into one of the treatment room,s a fellow employee came over and began praying for me.  I could hear her praying for me when I lost consciousness. 
 
My daughter alerted my son and they all arrived to the hospital in record time.  After a series of test my family was informed I had a tear on my aorta and immediate surgery would have to be performed in order to save my life. 

 I was transported by emergency helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic Heart Institute to undergo immediate, high risk, heart surgery.  I never fully regained consciousness until the next day.
 
After surgery I found that the surgeons and doctors were amazed that I was able to walk to the emergency department with a torn aorta, yet they didn’t know that my daily  prayer is for God to walk before me.
 
When I was in the Intensive Care Unit one of the nurse was having a hard time reading my oxygen level through my polished manicured fingernail.  She asked if she could remove the polish from one of my fingers. I agreed.  Now when I get manicures I polish all but one fingernail, the right index finger.  It is my own personal testimony of God’s miraculous provision of healing for me.  Now all the ladies in my family paint all but one fingernail in remembrance of heart disease and my personal testimony.

Six weeks after surgery I began thCe cardio rehab program and returned back to my administrative position at Hillcrest three months after surgery.

The fourth month after surgery I attended the American Heart Association “Go Red Luncheon” which brings awareness of the leading cause of death in women and shared my testimony to all the women sitting at my table. 

Ten months after surgery I walked three miles in the American Heart Association Heart Walk with my family, sister, coworkers and my six grandchildren in support of heart disease. 

 Two years ago I wore red in support of the American Heart Association and their Go Red for Women Campaign raising awareness about this No. 1 killer of women.  Today I wear red as a Heart Survivor.