L.O.D.D. Avoided! I would like to start by saying Our E.M.S. system works if you use it. About a year ago on a working House fire, despite my best attempts to avoid rehab, I was flagged for elevated Blood Pressure. My pressure did come to within close to reason eventually, and I was able to resume my duties, which by that time was Overhaul. The nice Paramedics asked me to please see a doctor about your pressures. I did and have been on Medication to successfully keep it under control since. Damn rehab. On to the present, May 1 and 2, 2010. The weather was in the upper 80’s and sunny with a slight breeze. It was the weekend we were doing Engine company evolutions training along with a neighboring Company. The weekend started off with 4 hours of classroom presentation, followed by lunch. The Training was then moved to its practical evolutions location, where we did some problem solving scenarios with hose lines, while in full P.P.E. followed by some Extended Attack line evolutions. And finally we did some Interior attack scenarios in full P.P.E. It was an exhausting day, and I’m sure it was intended that way. After all none of us were new to this and it was intended to improve skills. Day two had no classroom, so everyone assembled at the drill site. We began after a short summation of the days events. A 600’ attack line was pulled, charged and shown how it could be pumped effectively. We moved on to see the difference between extending the attack line with same diameter hose, and using a 3” leader hose with a gate. I was assigned to the nozzle of the Hose with the 3” leader and a Smooth Bore nozzle. My task was to advance the line around some obstacles, down a paved road, flowing water in an attack pattern and staying low. The obstacles went smoothly, I was advancing down the assigned route trying to stay low and flow water in an attack pattern. About 200 into my advancement I was having difficulty keeping the nozzle out in front of me. I attributed this to the fact that the hose was under relatively low pressure due to the Smooth Bore nozzle. As I continued to advance I was finding it increasingly difficult to control the line, at which point I became aware of Dark spots in my field of vision. At this point I began closing the nozzle and standing upright and indicating to the instructor with a chopping motion across my throat I am done. I moved to the rear of the evolution helping to advance the 3” hose as everyone moved up the line. It was only a few feet from there to the tailboard of the engine where I sat and started removing my bottle, helmet and coat. The Pump operator started offering me water, I was refusing stating that I needed to catch my breath I became aware that I was panting short fast ineffective breaths and attempted to force longer slower breathing. This is when I became cognizant of CHEST PAIN. (There you have it Chest Pain, Trouble Breathing. I know we have all heard that on Dispatch) I was able to catch my breath and the pain did subside a little (Maybe I just pulled something) and I took the water being offered to me. The evolution was continuing in front of me, as I stood to lower my Bunkers to get more air, the chest pain intensified again. Sitting on the Tailboard next to me was our E.M.S. Chief, a paramedic and a friend he won’t mind checking my Blood Pressure for me, so I asked telling him my chest felt tight and I was winded. Amazingly it wasn’t bad if I remember it was about 145/82, the evolution ended and a 10min. debriefing took place, then it was time for the Ladies Aux. to serve lunch. I asked again to have my pressure checked again. It was better, 125/80 I think. He asked if I was still having chest pain, my answer sort of, but maybe I pulled something. I was told I was a little tachy. At this point deep down inside I knew I was going to the hospital, so I told him I was going to the bathroom across the grounds about 400 were there was a spot a pot. I was asked if I thought that would make me feel better, I said no had to go since we got here, and it would enable me to secure my vehicle that was over in that direction. While still in the throne I heard a vehicle pull up right outside, it was our E.M.S. Chief in his A.L.S. equipped Expedition, after a short conversation that I’ll spare this story, I came out to find him setting up a 12 lead E.K.G. at the rear of the truck. I could tell from his changing expression that he saw something that brought concern across his face, at with point he told me sit up front, I have the A/C on, a few moments later he was at the door with his Oxygen and said you bought an I.V. He called one of our guys on his cell that was having lunch, all I heard was I need help over at the commode. The I.V. was started oxygen put on and a dose of Nitro under my tongue, that fast he was on the phone to our station for a transport unit. Within minutes the Ambo was there, I was loaded, information exchanged with the Paramedic onboard (another Friend), my Wife called and we were en route to Christiana Hospital. The trip to the Hospital netted me 5 more doses of Nitro, upon arrival we were met on the apron by E.R. staff, and I was swept through the halls to a room with personnel awaiting me. The questions were fast and from all sides, I was told they were declaring a cardiac emergency for me about 2 seconds before I heard it announced over the intercom. Clothes came off 6 more Nitros given, as I was updated on how many people they were awaiting for the Cath. Lab. About the time my Wife (whom we passed with lights and siren wailing on the road) got to the room, they were bringing me out. Wired like the space shuttle she saw me pass as she was told you can’t follow him. Later I found out this is when she was told he is having a Heart Attack, and going into surgery, follow us to the waiting room. I entered the Cath Lab met by 2 lines of people, I was wheeled down the middle as each one introduced themselves and begun their task. Before I could grasp the enormity of this, I already had a Cath. In and behind a wall of glass and computer monitors more people were talking, directing and explaining the procedure to me. I heard at some point there it is 100%a few moments later the Chest pain was back with a vengeance, I spoke up to tell them (keep in mind, you are AWAKE for ALL of this) they said I know this is going to fix you and stop all of this, within moments they were right. The procedure wrapped up I was scooped up onto another bed and the Surgeon came to talk to me, he told me what he found, how he fixed it and congratulated me on surviving a 98% fatal event that is known as the Widow Maker. He asked what time the chest pains started and calculated 3hrs from onset to the end of the Stent placement, then commented that was beyond text book, I am a very lucky man. I will spare everyone the recovery details, the reason I am writing this is to hopefully save lives. I could have and almost did play this off from the onset; I was assured that would have been a 100% FATAL choice. I am positive this choice has been made in the past by individuals or I would not have read about them going home from a call or training and DYING after getting home or to their Station. The E.M.S. system worked for me twice, once a year ago, and once recently. I beg everyone reading this to allow it to work for them too if the need arises. Do not be too proud or embarrassed to ask for help, Swallow your pride, and chose to LIVE, I hope everyone from this point forward has the continued opportunity that I have been given.