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Fly Tying
Mark Knapp

My 61 Birthday

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I'm finally home. I'm not complaining, I'm still alive. I will however fill you in on a little bit of the last month.

At 11:00 in the evening of May 1st, I had a stroke while taking my pills. I was rushed to the hospital in Fairbanks where I had another stroke, had coronary arrest and died. My wife was the only one in the room at the time. She ran to the door and yelled "He's coding" I'm sure they already knew that, they were all on the way. 13 people ran into the room and everyone knew what to do. They each performed a task well. This was May 2, my birthday.

I was there but I don't remember much about it, only what Angel told me, I was dead.

They tried the paddles but they didn't do anything but burn the skin on my back and chest. It was then decided that I needed CPR. Everyone in the room looked at the biggest guy in there and either said or thought, "You do it" The first thing he did was break my ribs, (remember, I said, I'm not complaining). Then he brought me back to life. I always knew that ribs sometimes got broken when when you give people CPR but I never knew that ribs (at least on large men are broken on purpose) An EMT in Anchorage told me "Yeah, it's a lot easier to give CPR if you break the ribs first."

The next thing I could remember was we were being Medevaced to Providence hospital in Anchorage, and I had a breathing tube.

I spent just short of a month getting every test or procedure you see on TV. About 35 in all, and getting better.

I have to go back in about four months to fix two ailments that I was born with and it's suspected caused the stroke. I have a bad valve (it sloughs off pieces and plugs the veines in the brain stem.) and the wall thickness on part of the heart is too thick. I have open heart surgery in September.

I still have two or three things to get better before my surgery. I have to learn to walk again, my balance is way off. My hand-eye coordination needs work. And my broken ribs need to heal.

I'm sure lots of you have stories too, that one is mine. I am glad to be back, at least for a little while.

 

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Mark that is a very scary thing to have to go through. Not many people are brought back once they flatline. Sounds like you have a good attitude which is a big part of recovery. Hope all heals up and you get back to your ol' self as soon as possible.

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What a great story to tell. Glad to hear it.  The healing will happen so rest and go easy for the time being. 

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Good to hear, Mark, thanks for the update. 

Best thing to get back to normal, other than being back home of course, is keep up on the PT.  

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Glad to hear that you survived your birthday. Listen to the Dr's and follow instructions. Best of luck and please keep us posted.

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 Mark I'm so thankful that you made it through what was probably the toughest month of your life.  Please know that as a man of faith I've been praying daily that you will make a full recovery.  It sounds like your facing all of this the best way possible and that's with a good and positive attitude.  You now know you have a heart condition and knowing is really a blessing.  When I was 48 years old I was absolutely stunned to be told at the ER that I was experiencing was a heart attack.  I now have a cardiologist keeping a close eye on things to avoid any "unpleasant surprises" in the future.  When it comes to heart conditions, not knowing you have one can get you killed, I was told that about 30% of people don't survive the type of heart attack I had.  I don't like those odds. We are all truly fortunate to live at a time when medical science can save us from a lot of medical events that not too long ago would have been fatal.   

A friend of mine had open heart surgery the week of New Years and he was out ice fishing by the end of January so please continue to keep your usual good outlook on life as you fight your way through this.  Do your best to follow the doctors orders and I have no doubt you'll be back making knives and roaming the wilderness before you know it.  

 

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That is quite a story. Glad you are back and doing better. I had a chiropractor who did the first aid part of my hunter education classes. He said if you aren't cracking ribs, you aren't doing it right. You can survive cracked ribs. Keep us posted on your progress.

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@Mark Knapp  I just saw this. Glad you're back on the green side of the grass. Stop creating scares for your wife.  All kidding aside, you take care cause you're too valuable to lose.

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Ummmm, as with those above, I feel a deep sense of happiness that you're still with us.  I am also grateful that the strokes didn't leave you mentally incapacitated.  You can still communicate, and that is a true blessing.

Physical therapy will get tougher, not easier, as you progress.  Don't give up on it.  Use this time to not only get BACK to normal, but to improve upon it and get healthier.  You'll recover from the surgery much faster if you're as healthy as possible when it happens.

Most of all, welcome back to the living and the site.  It's truly good to see your posts.

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Agree with Mike great to see you back, one hell of a birthday. Better to be on this side of the lawn.

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Mark

That is quite the story. As you can tell from all the comments , you have a lot of support from this crew. We hope you have an outstanding recovery!

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I want to thank you all. I have an amazing amount of support from this site. Thanks all.

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