The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 25, 2021 1:00 am

Grateful to be alive

'Miracle man' thankful for all those who aided his revival and recovery

Kevin Ward

My gratitude this Thanksgiving Day begins with my wife, Pattie, and Patrol Officer Matthew Childs for saving my life.

The day was Sept. 4, about two and a half months ago.

Pattie had just come in from checking tomatoes when she heard a thud from the living room. She came in to find me unresponsive (the thud was my water bottle hitting the floor).

Pattie called 911 immediately and, as miracles do happen, Officer Childs was a half-block away. As Pattie ended the 911 call and opened the front door, there he was.

He came in and got me out of the recliner and onto the floor, giving me CPR for several minutes.

My gratitude then shifts to the firefighters from Engine House No. 7, who arrived minutes later and gave me a jump start with the defibrillator paddles, shocking my heart back to life. Then, a big thank you to the EMS crew for getting me to Lutheran Hospital, where I spent the next 31 days in the cardiac intensive care unit.

A heartfelt thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff who worked as a team with my care. Four stents later and 30 pounds lighter, I was up and walking and able to be transferred to Lutheran Rehabilitation Hospital, where the awesome therapists and staff had me walking and climbing stairs and back home in eight days, into the hands of Amedisys Home Health with a big thank you to their excellent therapists.

I am (and Fort Wayne is) very fortunate to have such amazing people to be there for us when we need them most.

And so, I circle back to Officer Childs, who stopped by our house a few weeks ago to check on how I was doing. When I saw the police car out front, I was hoping everything was OK in the neighborhood. When I saw his nametag and he saw me standing upright, we both got a big smile on our faces.

I told him I was doing great and walking a mile every day.

Because I didn't remember anything from that Sept. 4 day, he filled me in on a few details. We agreed it was a miracle from start to finish.

I recently had a follow-up visit at the cardiologist's office. When Robin came into the room, she called me “the miracle man,” explaining that only 1% of people survive what I went through.

I asked her, since apples and pumpkins are considered heart-healthy foods, if it's OK to have pie this Thanksgiving. She said, “Enjoy your holiday; you deserve it, but moderation on the pie.”

Now comes the difficult part, trying to decide which kind of pie to get. I'm leaning toward cinnamon apple, but peach sounds good, then a tart triple cherry pie is closing fast, with pecan pie swinging to the outside. Up the rail are key lime and banana crème, and it looks like a photo finish. I just hope they aren't sold out by the time I decide.

So, to all those who helped me, those I've mentioned and those who visited me and sent me cards with well wishes and prayers, please know that you all made a difference in my recovery.


Kevin Ward is a Fort Wayne resident.

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