Michelle Johnston had just returned from the grocery store when she parked her truck in the driveway. Michelle knelt down to hug her daughter, Sydney, as she assisted her in carrying the goods inside.
Suddenly, Michelle passed out. She sucked her final breath as her eyes began to roll back into her head.
Michelle's heart stopped. She experienced an abrupt cardiac arrest.
Fortunately, Andy, Michelle's husband, and Sydney had just returned from an evening out. Andy sent Sydney inside to silence their dog, Dakota, who was barking while he dialed 911 after noticing Michelle on the ground. He went back to the garage and started performing CPR.
Andy had just undergone retraining at his place of employment after learning the life-saving skill in school, the military, and again. He started doing chest compressions but eventually got fatigued.
He was aware of what he needed to do, though, until the ambulance arrived. He was also speaking with a 911 dispatcher seeking advice and assistance.
After seven minutes before the arrival of emergency personnel, they placed Michelle in the ambulance. They worked on her for a while.
She was in a coma when she got to the hospital, but the emergency room staff recognized what had happened because of the critical information her heart provided with the 12-lead EKG in the ambulance.
In order to prevent her brain from swelling and to preserve cognitive function, a team of medical professionals hastened to lower Michelle's body temperature and kept her in a hypothermic condition. They waited after that, unsure of her prognosis. Michelle awoke from her coma six days later.
Michelle has no recollection of the past events.
Michelle woke up, and she had no idea who she was. "I awoke with no recollection of being married or having a child. I thought I was 20 when I woke up," Michelle said.
She now laughs, although she didn't find it humorous at the time.
She remarked, "It was incredibly terrible for me to wake up and not know who I am, to realize who I am, and to discover I hadn't done all these things in life."
A near-death experience brought everything into sharp perspective. She came to the realization that she had squandered opportunities to achieve goals because her life "had become such a ball of bustle."
Michelle claimed that her doctor informed her that the reason she was alive was because she was in good health and had a nutritious diet, which gave her an advantage in the battle against recovery. There was no history of heart issues in her family.
However, the rehabilitation process was arduous and slow. She had an implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) placed in her chest to shock her heart if it beats abnormally, and she also had to relearn how to walk and talk.
She said, "You truly only have one heart." "Keeping your one life in tact is absolutely necessary because that's all you're going to have and, ultimately, it's crucial that you live it. Every day, I always say to everyone, "One heart. One life. Live it!""