Fifty-two year old David Erickson is a hard working father of three grown children and considers himself to be in decent shape.
"I wasn’t overweight, could work physically pretty good, although I would get winded quickly," Erickson said.
But last August, while he was out doing some landscaping work, he started feeling tired.
"I got a little bit nauseous and decided I needed to sit down for a minute and that it would pass," Erickson said.
Instead, the pain got worse. So he asked his son to drive him to the emergency room. He ended up at in an exam room at WestHealth in Plymouth.
"He looked like he had just showered with his clothes on," said Dr. Nick Johnson, who treated Erickson. "I just sat down next to his bedside and I said, 'I just want you to know, you’re having a heart attack,'"
"And I remember kind of laughing a little bit because it was pretty obvious," Erickson said.
However, the fact that Erickson didn't take an ambulance to get treatment was no laughing matter.
"Specifically, if you start driving yourself in, a heart attack can cause you to pass out," Dr. Johnson said. "You might not make it in."
Dr. Johnson says the difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes.
"If you’re feeling chest pain, the best advice is to always call 911 so a medical professional can see you right away," he said.
As for Erickson, after having lived through the ordeal, he has some words of advice regarding heart health.
"Well the first thing is to get your heart checked by your doctor," Erickson said. "Check your cholesterol level. That’s a very simple procedure."
Today, Erickson says he’s living a healthier lifestyle, but he credits Dr. Johnson and the staff at WestHealth with saving his life. And on April 16, he’ll get to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
"And that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do without the intervention and what the doctors have done," Erickson said. "So a lot of good reasons to stay healthy and eat well and take care of myself."
March 28, 2017