The Day I 'Died' On A Softball Field

voices

On August 9, 2009 I took the biggest detour of my life! It was the day I died, but God was not ready to take me. While scoring the winning run in a championship playoff softball game, I collapsed after hitting home plate and my heart stopped beating. You may not think a ball field would be a great spot for this to happen, but for me it was the perfect place. I had the good fortune of having two doctors present to rush to my aid ... one was a cardiologist. With my face a horrifying color of blue, and foam spewing from my mouth, the two began CPR. Within 45 seconds, I returned to this earth. The color rushed back to my face and my heart began to beat again.

You may not know this, but the odds were stacked very much against me. Only 10 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. I was one of the lucky ones. The doctors told me to stay down as they brushed the dirt from my face and body and waited for the paramedics to arrive. My first question to them was: "Did I score?" I had no idea what had happened. About 100 people from all of the fields surrounded me as the EMS loaded me into the ambulance. Unfortunately, my 16-year-old son had to witness this firsthand. He drove behind me to the hospital as my family was informed.

After preliminary tests, the doctors transferred me to University of Maryland Medical Center for more evaluation. Dr. Katzen (who helped save me) performed a cardiac catheterization and it was determined that I had four main arteries that were blocked by more than 80 percent because of radiation I had received during the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma when I was 20-years-old -- almost 30 years ago. The solution ... quadruple bypass surgery. I could not believe it! The cure for my cancer in 1982 was the cause of my collapse. How ironic! But, I'm here and I'm getting ready to face another relentless battle for my life a second time. If not for the fabulous staff at UMMC and my wife Jody, daughter Alix, and son Brooks, and all of my extended family, I could have never made it.

I'm a 54-year-old radio guy. I've been delivering traffic to the faithful listeners in the Baltimore/Washington area for 30 years. They call me Detour Dave. I've always had a great attitude and outlook on life. My demeanor is ultra-calm, and I know this has helped me succeed in everything I do. So, the traffic guy had to take another detour. In this case, four of them. So as I was wheeled down to the operating room I began chanting "Fix that heart, Fix that heart!" And after a grueling seven-hour operation, the surgeons did just that. Recovery was painful. Each step seemed like climbing a mountain. But, after about 10 days, I was going home.

I wrote a book called "Taking A Detour" about my story that will be published in about a month so others can be inspired to recover from any life obstacle. We are all survivors!