By Susan Bennett Fisher, Feb. 18, 2023
My Dad had a double by-pass when I was 18, a heart attack when I was in my mid-thirties, and ultimately died of congestive heart failure at 86. I have had congenitally high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol. At 21 my dad started training us on heart-healthy eating, of course all the wisdom on the 1970’s is no longer thought to be accurate, but the point is I have been practicing and aware of my eating my whole life. I resisted statins in my 30’s, 40s and 50s by dieting every time my cholesterol got high again – a yoyo of existence, an irony of awareness coupled with a bit of hopeful denial.
Turning 60 was like a switch flipping, all the sudden everything that I needed to counterbalance could no longer be addressed with just diet and exercise. I turned into a ticking time bomb. Pre-diabetic, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, all dancing into the danger zone. And I was carrying-on as if oblivious to everything. I ignored the shortness of breath after going up the stairs. I ignored the almost narcoleptic “knit-napping” – my ease and propensity for falling asleep mid-stitch became a family joke. I did start working out with a personal trainer 3 times a week, this is probably one of the reasons I am alive and recovering. In hindsight, my willingness to ignore my symptoms gives me great pause.
January 3, 2023 Martin has two screws embedded into his jaw. I go to the Pharmacy at Albertsons and get delayed there for 90 minutes waiting for the medications. I didn’t want to leave without Martin’s pain meds. I get exposed to Covid and two days later I am quite sick. I sleep for 4 days. My daughter gets sick, I keep sleeping, Martin gets sick, still sleeping. On Monday Jan. 9th my mother gets sick.
January 12th Mom comes down and has breakfast. She is chipper and happy. A little while later her body starts to void. First her bowels. I help her clean up and get back to bed. 15 minutes later I am at my computer and get a call from her. “I called 911. I think I might be having a heart attack. Actually, my Apple watch asked if I wanted to call 911 and would only let me do that, so I called. Can you bring me baby aspirin to chew.” From there things accelerate.
I go up to her with the aspirin to get more info. She begins to puke violently. The EMTs arrive and get to work. First, help mom with her violent puking. Second, ask questions, age, symptoms, could we open the window. (This is the first I have heard about chest pain. I am flabbergasted, how could this be happening?) Third, attach ECG nodes and read the result. “There is irregularity in the ST portion of the ECG we are going to take her to the hospital immediately.” The pace picks up and they are out the door in seconds as I call “I love you” to my mother’s backside.
Witnessing this is another reason that I am still alive.
My sister arrives from Florida to help me take care of things. She is a nurse. I am so happy to have someone take over the medical care of Mom. I am still feeling so deeply tired, I ask her if she could also do the cooking, it has become too much for me. Such a burden to place on her. And she is probably the only person in the world that I would lean on in that way. I am trying to stay engaged, get my work done, support the family and deal with the fact that my mother is not immortal. (just I am.)
Mom’s heart-attack is caused by Covid. She doesn’t have heart disease, but her thickened blood grabbed a big piece of plaque and took it to her artery. Then her system clotted and clogged creating a dam, blocking her artery to 90%. The apple watch and the quick response of the EMTs saved her life. She is getting stronger everyday.
On January 27th our Body of 9 team, six other people from Bozeman, Martin, and I went down to Ogden Utah for an Energy Healing Conference. We were just ahead of the biggest storm of the season. Six feet of snow, high-winds and bone chilling temperature in the minus 30’s follow us, nipping at our heels. This Conference was an important training opportunity for our team to get good experience with in-person hand-to-hand Natural Number Identification. (If you don’t know what this is visit the home page.)
I knew it was going to be taxing. Martin and I were still recovering from Covid. Martin was having recurring nose bleeds and high-blood pressure. I had not yet felt well again, now three weeks after the onset of Covid.
Saturday morning I wake up and I am not sure how I am going to get through the day. Our crew are all a group of amazing healers. One of them comes in to help me get started. I can tough it through. And I did. We identify 60+ people. I support the team, even ending the day with a presentation to 40 people with Martin.
We decide to walk home after packing up. As we are walking, I begin to have pains and pressure in my chest. We decide to stop at a Thai restaurant on the way. I am not feeling good, in a way that is very unfamiliar. There is the normal exhaustion from a day of identification. But I can feel there is something else wrong. I am so tired. The aches and pains in my back and neck are so deep and relentless. On the 1-block walk after dinner my chest starts to hurt again. My concern grows. I mention it in the elevator and the hotel room. I decide to take an antacid and go to bed.
Sunday we are going home and get an early start. I do not want to delay that. We make it halfway home to Ashton, ignoring the road-closed signs along the way (we ignored a lot of signs along the way as it turned out.) But we decide to circle back to Rexburg and get a hotel.
We are disappointed about not making it home, but happy being together. I throw myself on the bed, barely able to move. The gang wants to go swimming, so I rally and downstairs to the pool we go. I “swim” a lap and again the pain starts so I stand uncomfortably in front of the pool heater trying to regulate my temperature until it is time to go.
There is a restaurant next to the hotel and we brave the -34 temp to walk over. The conversation is fun and jovial. The most handsome man I have ever seen walks over to be our waiter. Apparently, I was flirting shamelessly. I thought I was just asking questions about the food and making a connection. Who knew. This was the high before the crash. He brings my salad. I take one look and think “I am never eating that salad”. I feel a wave of nausea coming on, at that moment still in denial, part of me recognizes that I am having all the same experiences as my mother and that I am having a heart-attack.
Ever the considerate person, I announce I am not feeling well and I need to go to the bathroom. Sarah, next to me says “May I go with you?” “No, I will be alright” (I knew I wasn’t going to be alright, how close to death do you have to be to receive help, despite all the lessons over our life to the contrary?) Fortunately, Sarah and Lynn, also knowing female polite speak fluently, ignore my refusal, and follow me to the bathroom. I have to sit down on the way, I am confused, feeling worse by the second. Then I start sprinting for the toilet as my lunch starts to resurface. Puking violently into the toilet, slowly turning a shade of eggplant purple, I realize that I am going to die.
It is a peaceful option, not unattractive. But Sarah and I had had a conversation earlier that afternoon about the fact that I still had too much learning to transfer to everyone on the team – foreshadowing of the heart-attack. I also knew that Martin really needed me, the way I need him, and that to leave would break our agreement. My daughters, as independent and launched as they are, would probably be happier if I stuck around too. “Call 911” I say. Then I collapse on the bathroom floor, knowing I have made the decision to live and that the rest is up to the universe, the EMTs and the medical system. Lynn calls 911 and goes to get Martin, beckoning him to the bathroom.
You know you are bad when you are lying face down on the bathroom floor in a restaurant. The pain in my chest was so awful. I just wanted it to stop. As an aside – I called the pain an 8 for the EMTs, it couldn’t be that bad. The pain really was a 10. I didn’t want to alarm anyone. Damn am I a considerate person.
Lynn has put her apple watch on my wrist to monitor my pulse. “44, 110, 64” She reads out. “Susan is this bothering or scaring you for me to read these out loud?”
Practically unable to respond or care, I mumble “No it doesn’t bother me.” I just want the pain to stop.
The EMTs arrive and hook me up quickly to the ECG. As they read out the ECG numbers I know I am in big trouble. I had learned just enough about their meanings to know this wasn’t good. They were way more concerned for me than my mother’s EMTs were for her. They lift me gently on to the stretcher and we head out into the frigid temperatures (no coats or cover for me) across the uncleared snow to the ambulance. We tear at 100 miles an hour down the freeway and onto icy city streets for 36 miles. Martin is scared out of his wits the whole way. They skip the local hospital heading straight for the Eastern Regional Medical Center that just happens to have an extraordinary Cardiac Care Unit. You can tell the universe has had a hand in keeping me alive if I wanted to be, I was in the best possible place I could be to survive this experience.
I am whisked in. My clothes are cut off (I had actually thought earlier about what I was wearing that night, thinking if this got cut off of me, would I be heart broken, and I wore something that didn’t matter to me. That is pretty weird.). I have beaten the doctor to the hospital, but she arrives in minutes (Thanks Dr. Coonse for coming in!!) and we scurry off to the operating theater – picture Grey’s Anatomy, Doctors and nurses pushing the stretcher at full speed through the hallways of the hospital. My eyes are closed for most of this, to open them was too hard. They have given me fentanyl and morphine, so I am not suffering from the pain, definitely starting to float.
I open my eyes as they prep for the procedure and Martin is there. “The invitations to leave are not done yet.” He says “You must stay here with me. Promise me”
I look into his beautiful loving blue eyes and promise “I am not going anywhere. I am staying here. I promise” He reminds me later that the last thing I said to him was “I am so tired.” And the last thing he heard from the EMTs was “We have had people recover from worse than this.” In many ways this is harder on him than me – he is aware of what is happening. I am watching from somewhere outside my body.
Lying on the table, super high, as they put a catheter up my arm, I can feel it. I am not very comfortable, so decide to float out into the universe. There I encounter the last invitation. Life after death is completely un-embodied, at least for me. This makes it very hard to comprehend from an embodied perspective. It is not scary to me, easy and peaceful beyond compare.
I am not ready to go, I have way too much to do and experience. But I am not worried about death, for me, when it comes.
I come back to the room and I hear Dr. Coonse saying “Susan, we are all done. I am going to bring Martin in and show you your procedure pictures.” Within seconds I am awake and back fully in a state of relief and joy, I am alive and no longer in pain! In just an hour Dr. Coonse and her team have changed the outcome of my life.
I am really happy that my Bozeman cardiologist Dr. Chin has a few silver hairs in his long ponytail. He is gentle and thorough. I feel like I am in good hands, but there are still so many unanswered questions. It turns out that like my mother’s heart attack mine is also related to plaque in the system coming loose and then moving to a main artery and blocking it 100% – Damn COVID.
“The kind of heart attack that you had is the worst possible kind of heart attack.” Dr. Chin says. For some reason I didn’t ask what he meant by that. Martin of course looked up the statistics which are really quite grim – up to 1 in 4 people who have a STEMI do not survive (I already beat the odds once), and 30% have a life expectancy under 5 years. Frankly this sucks. But those are statistics and there are extenuating circumstances. I am younger than the average heart attack patient, I am in good health, my other arteries are good, and somehow I miraculously still have 50-60% of pumping function, which is normal for my age, and I am on a slew of heart-saving medications. But it leaves a lot of unanswerable questions on the table.
As I recover, I realize this was a much bigger deal than I first thought. My arteries and heart are traumatized. There are all sorts of inconsistencies and weirdness in the experience. But I am giving over to getting help. I now have 7 medications that are designed to keep me alive, and frankly, I am quite grateful for them. In my hold on independence, death immunity, politeness and unwillingness to put myself first, I had missed out on a lot of help I could have had. So I am here now, receiving all the help I can get.
And what an opportunity for me to apply all that I have learned over the last 20 years from our time and research into the Natural Numbers, and the impact this understanding has on our human experience. The learning will reveal itself – for now this is enough.
Now, each day is a gift. Sure I knew that before, but it is a little more “in your face” now than before. So if you wanted to get your Natural Number Identified, or learn more about it, or become a teacher and learn to identify Natural Numbers, then I would urge you not to delay. Moving forward Martin and I feel the urgency to transfer our knowledge and experience to those who feel the call. If you have the urge, do it now, no matter what it is. Find your calling and devote your passion in service of it.
When I was in my thirties, as I worked my way out of my own self-imposed suffering, I adopted a personal mantra – “If you do something each day that matters to you and gives you joy, when you reach your last day you will not have regrets.” I got a dress rehearsal on my last day. This is so much more true and ever present than before. I am living with a paradoxical juxtaposition of urgency and apathy. Urgency to get done what matters, and apathy for everything that doesn’t. Please don’t waste your time. If you don’t CARE, if you aren’t willing to do the work, if the journey isn’t interesting enough, if you are not interested in handling your karma and eliminating your self-imposed suffering, that’s your choice. But if you are here to transcend your karma and escape the loop – let’s get going.
I love you, no matter what.