Cassondra Reynolds’ life was forever changed on what should have been a typical Saturday morning in February of 2011.
Instead, the alarmed wife awoke to John, her husband of 10 years, going into cardiac arrest in their bed.
Cassondra heard her 41-year-old husband gasping for air, and all she could think was, “Is this actually happening?” He was incredibly fit, worked out daily, and a thorough physical one month prior reflected he was healthy as could be.
Though she was in recovery from back surgery, she knew she had to manage to get her husband to the floor to attempt CPR, which she had no experience in doing.
“As I watched my husband turn blue to gray I cried to God to PLEASE not take my husband!” Cassondra wrote to Love What Matters. “I begged him not to leave me and the boys and told him how much we love him and need him.”
Shortly after, 911 took her through the steps of performing CPR, and she recalls her 3 sons sobbing and questioning “What’s wrong with Daddy?”
What felt like an eternity ended up being a 3-minute wait for help to arrive. As the paramedics started their attempt to revive John, Cassondra recalls at one point crying out loud, “Oh God, he just left!”
“In that moment I actually felt his spirit leave his body,” said Cassondra.
Paramedics then had her leave the room, and the brother of a friend rushed her to the hospital. “I remember thinking, ‘was I going to walk in and have them tell me he didn’t make it?’” she quivered.
As she came up to his hospital bed, Cassondra breathed a sigh of relief that her husband was still alive, though unconscious.
It was at that point that the ER doctor unloaded a laundry list of questions on her.
“Does he use drugs?”
“Any health issues?”
“What, if any, medications is he on?”
…to name a few.
Cassondra replied “no” to all of them and remarked that he’d just passed a physical with “flying colors.”
While a tox screen revealed no traces of drugs, it did show John’s sugar level was through the roof. Doctors figured it must have been a diabetic episode, but his wife assured them he did not have diabetes.
The hospital transferred John to the Cardiac ICU and put him in a medically induced coma in hopes of putting him into therapeutic hypothermia and gradually warming him up over 3 day’s time. The procedure known as Arctic Sun is “a non-invasive system for controlling and monitoring body temperature within the range of 32°C to 38.5°C,” according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. “It is intended for use in adults who are comatose after sudden cardiac arrest in or out of hospital, with the aim of inducing mild hypothermia to reduce brain injury and improve neurological outcomes.”
The doctor told Cassondra, “Your husband is a very fit man and his heart is actually strong like that of a 25-year-old. It’s not normal for a healthy 41-year-old who doesn’t drink or smoke, who has what appears to be a strong heart and just had a physical with no findings, to suffer a cardiac arrest. We need to find what caused this.”
Cassondra continued to answer the doctor’s questions, explaining that John had no prior symptoms, lived a healthy lifestyle, takes vitamins, doesn’t smoke, and drinks a beer once in a while.