Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Empty Nest: 10,000 Steps

By Curt Swarm

Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.   Robert Browning

57 year-old Randy Anderson of Ottumwa didn’t remember leaving the house for his daily run on that warm Friday afternoon of Jan. 23, 2015.  He began to come to, four days later in the Critical Care Unit of Mercy hospital in Des Moines.  His family and friends filled him in on what happened.
He had left the house in the early afternoon for an out-and-back, three-mile run.  He was on his way back, getting close to home on Court Avenue in Ottumwa.  He collapsed on the sidewalk with a massive heart attack.  An unidentified woman in a car saw him go down.  She stopped, leaving her car askew on the side of the busy street.  Recognizing the signs of a heart attack, she started CPR.  
A retired Ottumwa police officer, Mike McDonough, seeing the car in the street with its door open, stopped to help.  The lady hollered at him to call 911.  He did and, seeing that CPR was in progress, retrieved a CPR mask from his car and began to assist the lady.  McDonough thought he knew the victim, but wasn’t sure.  Anderson began gasping for air, and fogging the back side of the CPR mask.
The ambulance arrived.  Anderson’s heart was out of rhythm.  They used the paddles to shock him, loaded him into the ambulance, and were off to the hospital.  The unidentified lady got in her car and left.  Because Anderson had no I.D., he went in as John Doe.
Randy Anderson’s wife, Suzie, is the Executive Director of Hospice in Ottumwa.  The Hospice headquarters is adjacent to the Ottumwa hospital and E.R.  She saw the ambulance come and go, but suspected nothing.
People were beginning to recognize Randy, and Suzie was contacted.  She rushed to the emergency room.  However, Randy was still being worked on, so they wouldn’t let her see him.  She had to identify her husband by his running shoes.  
To make a long story short, Randy was airlifted to Des Moines where he received bypass surgery.  Two arteries were completely blocked, and another was 85 percent blocked—which is strange, because Randy is the picture of health, the last person you would ever suspect of heart problems.  He’s a runner, is not overweight, has low blood pressure and low cholesterol.  However, he does have a family history of heart problems.  He’d seen a cardiologist in the past, but was not given the stress test because of lack of symptoms.     
Randy is home now and undergoing cardiac rehab.  He walks 10,000 steps a day, about five miles.  He turned 58 on February 24, and his three kids were back for the big birthday party and celebration of life.
Ironically, the call to 911 went in at 3:06 p.m. on that fateful day.  When Randy got home from the hospital, they noticed that their heirloom grandfather clock had stopped at 3:06.  They have not reset it.  
They still don’t know who the lady is that saved his life.  They are hoping this newspaper article will reach her so that they can personally thank her.  She may have been an angel.
Anyone who knows Randy and Suzie Anderson know that they are a very loving couple.  Suzie gave Randy an iPad to help him through rehabilitation.  On the back of it, she had engraved the words of Robert Browning, “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”
By the way, Randy was never a big fan of Hallmark movies because they always carry the same story line, beginning with happiness, morphing into trouble, then returning to happiness.  However, he has to admit, his story is a Hallmark story.  
Randy Anderson can be contacted by email at randy__golf@hotmail.com.

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.  Curt also reads his columns at www.lostlakeradio.com.