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Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Year Of Living Well And Thankfully

Courtesy of Steven Munatones, Huntington Beach, California.

The last article that I remember writing before I went into the hospital was dated May 9th 2016 (Family, Friends And Finance In The Open Water).

I have no recollection of the next 48 hours even though I posted a brief article on May 11th (Can Early Morning Swimming Make You Rich?).

On May 12th, I skipped my normal morning swim because I told my wife that 'I was tired', something that I had never done before during our 22 years of marriage and 3 previous years of courting her. She recalled that I walked downstairs, went into my bathroom, and then started to gurgle, was fighting desperately to breathe, and ultimately collapsed before my 17-year-old son started to give me hands-free CPR to keep me alive. The paramedics came, put me in an ambulance, and rushed me to a local hospital where a single stent was put in my heart.

Dr. Lee Carter and his team at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach revived me from ventricular fibrillation arrest, atypical thrombus and myocardial infarction. Then they immediately put me under the Arctic Sun protocol in the Critical Care Unit.

The Arctic Sun protocol dropped my core body temperature to 32-34°C (89-93°F) in a state of hypothermia while I was kept sedated to help my brain recover from the cardiac arrest. While my wife was relieved that I survived the heart attack, there still remained a probability of significant and permanent brain damage.

But I awoke days later - surprised and confused - to smiling family members around my bed. I had no idea why I had all kinds of tubes and things sticking in and out of my body. But when I was told what had happened, I was fully intent on quickly returning to normal. I was alive and very grateful, I needed to feel fully engaged with life.

Then next article that I posted was on May 21st (Open Water Photos By Tomer Avni). But that simple posting took nearly everything out of me. It was clear to me that my return had to be more gradual.

My next article was on May 24th (Unforgettable, Unbelievable, Unpredictable ...What's Next?. I felt more energetic and a profoundly deep need to quickly get back to normal. Writing about swimmers on a daily basis was not only interesting, but it was also inspirational. I learned what made people tick and how they motivated themselves - despite all kinds of obstacles in their way. And that was motivational to me. But I also knew how very lucky I was. I had the rest of my life to live - I knew that I had received a very rare second chance to enjoy life and support those around me.

I remain motivated to make the most of this second chance and fully realize that each day is a bonus to cherish.

In the open water swimming world, it was quite easy to cherish all that I see and experience. I am extremely fortunate to continue observing and learning about all kinds of heroic swims and incredible swimmers since my cardiac episode 12 months ago.

A year has now passed and each day remains a blessing. I was able to write about thousands of swimmers and hundreds of swims over the past 12 months - and these are some a few of them interesting swimmers along my road to recovery:

* Kate Rew Receives 2016 Paragon Award
* Bill Welzien Goes For His Diamond Swim
* Ingemar Macarine Swimming A Strait Shot Across The Verde Island Passage
* Brian Suddeth Coaches Mark Rew, Deena Lambert
* Sally Anne Minty-Gravett, M.B.E., Member of the British Empire
* 2016 Women's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Finalists
* 2016 Men's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Finalists
* Guy Cohen Completes 24-hour Swim From The Heart
* Howard James' Lucky Number 13
* Lori King Is Queen In Bermuda
* Jose Luis Larrosa Sets Record At Tabarca Marathon Swim [see above]
* Why Spyridon Gianniotis Will Win Rio Olympics 10K
* Jessi Harewicz Crosses The Strait Of Georgia
* Paige Christie Overcomes Conditions At 8 Bridges
* Sabrina Wiedmer Completes Crossing Of Dál Riata Channel
* John Batchelder Flies Through The Open Water
* Adrian Sarchet Is Punished Across The Molokai Channel
* Charlotte Brynn On An Open Water Swimming Adventure
* Way Way Out, All The Way Around, And Back In 30 Hours
* Andrew McLaughlin Completes Crossing Of North Channel
* Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, Whose Better?
* How Fast Do Olympic 10K Swimmers Train?
* Mark Sheridan Successfully Crosses Lake Geneva
* Christof Wandratsch, King Of The Bodensee
* Javier Mérida Prieto Completes A Disabled Triple Crown
* The Greatest Upset In Olympic Swimming History
* Doug McConnell On A Long Swim
* Alex Meyer Culminates Career In Cool Crossing
* John Mathews Passes While His Legacy Lives On
* Men Can Be Jerks In The Open Water
* Why Ferry Weertman Will Win 10K In Rio Olympic Games
* Reece Southall Three-peats At The Samoa Swim Series
* Wayne Snellgrove Being Passionate And Giving Back
* Aurélie Muller Disqualified On Last Stroke Of Olympic 10K
* Sharon Van Rouwendaal Swims Brilliantly, Wins Olympic 10K
* Ferry Weertman Had A Perfect Finish At The Olympic
* Patrick McKnight Sets Triple Crown Record
* Stephen Junk Triumphantly Returns To Tsugaru
* Sally Minty-Gravett Completes Legendary, Epic Two-Way
* Alex Kostich On An Unparalleled Track Record In Waikiki
* After 101 km, Stefanovski And Stochino Tie
* Cherelle Oestringer Brings Local Title Back To Hawaii
* Final Sprint And Run To The Finish At RCP Tiburon Mile
* Swim For Alligator Lighthouse From Above And Below
* Devon Clifford Swims The Year Of Her Life
* Celebrating Tomi Stefanovski In The Hall Of Fame
* The Dead Sea Swim Comes Alive With Madswimmers
* The Brilliance And Creativity Of Sarah Thomas
* Nejib Belhedi Pulls 100 Tons 550 Meters In World Iron Swim
* Grrrrr, Gritty Gutsy Ger Kennedy
* Chloë McCardel 20 Down In The Channel. 24 To Go?
* Cristian Vergara's Easter Island Circumnavigation
* Jaimie Monahan, Marathoning Around The World
* Oceans Seven, Rohan Has One More
* 2016 WOWSA Awards Nominees
* Ashley Jenkins Frees Himself Up In The Water
* Stephen Redmond Inducted In International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* Ricardo Ratto Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* David O'Brien Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* Pittmans Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* Tamara Bruce Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* Richard Broer Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* David Barra Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* Colin Hill Inducted In Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame
* 1000 km From Mumbai To Mangalore
* Henri Kaarma's Start And Emergence As The Ice Machine
* Take Off Your Clothes…In The Greatest Races
* Jacques Tuset Makes An Escape In The Ice
* Petar Stoychev Wins World Ice Swimming Championships
* Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim Is 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year
* Eilís Burns Inspires An Entire Generation Of Swimmers
* Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall Of Fame Class Of 2017
* Cracking The Ice In Katowice
* Triple Corona Illas Atlánticas, Spain's Stage 3
* Julie Newton, Ned Denison Set Course Records At Cold Half
* Empowering Women To Swim In Afghanistan
* Ashley Twichell Swims With BiPro
* Six Down, Antonio Argüelles Heading North
* Tiffany McQueen Swims In Beautiful Places With Fun People
* Fernando Betanzos, El Cruce Champion
* Anthony McCarley Pursuing A Dream, Giving Inspiration
* Jim Barber Cooked In New Zealand, 1 Week Down Under
* The Legacy Of Niko Nestor
* Pan-American Colibrí Swim Completed
* Busy Bruckner Chases His Mission
* S.C.A.R. Can Be Like Night And Day
* Jay Eckert Suits Up To Lead Fast Field Across Tampa Bay
* Lewis Pugh Is In The Alternative Rich List
* Alejandro Larriera Swims Well Into His 60s
* Patti Bauernfeind On Meditation In The Open Water
* Ranie Pearce's Description Of Her Shark Encounter

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