Vincent’s Story

Apr 9, 2024 | Patients and Families

Life and Other Fatal Conditions: My Story

Time is a funny thing. It’s everything but yet we treat it like it’s of little value. With it we are alive, we exist, we love, we chase our dreams and we find our success if everything works as we intended. Now take time away and nothing matters. Your money, your obligations…deadlines…work. None of it matters. Just like that this one little word can shut you down to your core and for some it’s not something we get any more of.

My name is Vincent. I feel fortunate to have read most of the other stories on the SADS website and I sincerely hope my own can show a number of things, least of all the importance of CPR and just how resilient the human body can be.

“I want to say this. To say I am lucky would be a rather large understatement. Without my wife waking up because she noticed my breathing had changed, without having immediate access to a medic in the house, without the care I received from many of the paramedics, firefighters, hospital staff and everyone involved at both Kelowna General Hospital and Victoria General Hospital, I would not be here.”

I also need to express my gratitude to the Paramedic that was alone with me on a rather unfortunate Air Ambulance trip. He handled what ended up being yet another critical event with calm and class. I will be forever grateful to each and every person involved in my care.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Kelowna, BC. After more than 50 healthy years things changed somewhat in 2020. Days before my July birthday I drifted off to sleep. There were no signs of what was to come. No previous issues. No anything. I woke to what I thought was a rather annoying alarm clock going off and figured it was time to go to work but as I opened my eyes all I saw was a group of people in white coats looking at me intently. I could understand if I was in some kind of accident. Maybe I had been sick but this made very little sense.

My Cardiologist came in and kindly informed me that not only had I done my best to die at home but then tried even harder in the hospital…a few times.

“It’s a much larger story then I can go into here but my heart stopped for close to 30 minutes at home and once the team of Paramedics revived me and transported me to the hospital my heart stopped again. After 30 minutes of CPR my Cardiologist requested I receive a few more minutes as he did not want to give up on me. At 38 minutes he finally had to issue the words ‘it’s time (there’s that word again) we call it’. As the words came out of his mouth I guess I came back much to everyone’s surprise.”

In the time since 2020 I have come to realize I will live with a long list of side effects for the rest of my life not the least of which is the feeling that each night I go to sleep I may wake up again in the big white building downtown. That sticks with you. I can only imagine how it sticks with my wife. As has been mentioned the effect of this type of condition is on the family not just the patient.

Now it’s a much more detailed story with a few ups and certainly some downs. Eventually I was diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome. There is still much to learn about this disease.

I am incredibly grateful for the everyone at Canadian SADS for leading the charge in educating people about cardiac issues like this and others. It is a large undertaking that needs all the help people can give.