Dead Rabbits and Pixie Dust

This is one post that I sometimes wished I never had to make but to be fortunate enough to be making.

Last Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I suffered a mild heart attack. I woke up at 1:00 in the morning with a “bad case of heartburn”. Earlier, I had just finish wolfing down pizza and wings at the Checkers board meeting. Checkers AC President Tom Donnelly said it so eloquently…

    “The only thing missing was the fact that he may have curtailed his workout but he made up for it with all the pizza and wings he ate during the board meeting, but that’s par for Sam.”

It was at practice earlier that I couldn’t finish my workout. This was the second time it happened. I was just totally out of breath after one lap around the track…the very same track where I was able to complete 10 to 12 laps non-stop. Checkers Coach Vicki Mitchell came up to me and asked if I was alright. She made me stop my workout. Who knows…the next lap could have been the “one”. A few other fellow runners came up to me and asked if I was alright. Clearly, I wasn’t!

Fortunately, it happened at home and Steph, despite her frazzled screaming ways, had 911 on the phone right away. Emergency personnel arrived 3 minutes later, just as I was waking up from a stupor in the corner of the far side of the bathroom. My heart rate was fluctuating between 40 and 100 (60 is the norm). I was rushed to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, 5 minutes away. After two hours of tests and what-not, it was decided to ship me to the Cardiac Center at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, downtown. At that point I needed further testing; an angiogram was performed and I was found to have a completely blocked right rear artery. Two stents were inserted. Two days later, I was discharged with a long-term prognosis of a full recovery.

Mike, along with Steph, bought me home from the hospital. While Steph went inside to get her keys so she could head over to the pharmacy with a million scripts covered in medical terminology that I have to trust the docs on, I looked at Mike and said “Its not my turn yet…its just not my turn”. And we cried….

I mean, come on….I just had a physical in February and like all of the other’s, it was “good”, the lab results were “close to perfect”. I am a runner, an athletic! Who would ever think one would have a heart attack? And as I am saying this, a friend of mine and one of channel 4 (WIVB) newscasters, Mylous Hairston was going through the exact same thing as me.

In the midst of all this, an email went out to all Checkers members requesting their medical information to be kept in a binder in case of a God-forbid incident at track practice. I made it very clear that

    “I strongly encourage the membership to provide an emergency contact number and to volunteer any medical information. If anyone is uncertain about what information to provide, please contact a physician and ask what information would be most helpful for emergency personnel.”

Life is just too precious to be taken for granted. God has given us that right. We all have a purpose but we all live once. I feel a new sense of enlightenment. The love of Steph, Mike and Dan take on a whole new meaning. We have this new super powered sense of living because we’ve been there and back but at the end of the day, we are merely mortals…

    “Its not my turn yet…its just not my turn”.

Through all of the thoughts, wishes and prayers of all my friends and family, too numerous to count, I am forever grateful for the outpour of love. Thank you from the bottom of my now repaired heart.

2 comments for “Dead Rabbits and Pixie Dust

  1. Evelyn
    July 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Sam, you did an excellent job in writing what you have experienced. There have been far too many stories written about athletes who “out of the blue” have a heart attack. Some don’t always have a good ending like yours but your recent experience does prove “you have a lot left to live for and your needed for a purpose”. All of your family and friends are thankful for that because we can’t imagine not having Sam Spritzer around! So take care, eat right, behave, and let us know what the doctor says when you go back for your checkup on Monday. Stephanie, Mike, and Dan are the BEST!

  2. c
    July 7, 2009 at 5:41 am

    Sam, Sorry to hear about the Heart Attach, Glad you are feeling better. Please take care of yourself and follow the doctors orders. You are very fortunate that people were paying attention to you. We do need you around for many years. Be sure to keep your friends and family close and keep yourself healthy.

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