GRIMES, Iowa — A regular Monday in May quickly became unforgettable for a Grimes family when a father of two collapsed on his back deck.
“Very nice day, by the way, beautiful out. I walked around to the backyard,” said Chris Goering.
That’s about all he can remember. It’s a day his wife Ashley can’t forget. “As he was walking to the back, he said, Ashley, something’s not right,” she said.
She found him collapsed on the back deck. “He wasn’t responsive to me at all. I was saying his name. He was laying there. I knew immediately something was wrong.”
She called 911 and started CPR right way. Law enforcement and then paramedics took over.
“He stopped breathing. He became unconscious, and obviously the CPR during this period helped keep blood flow going to the brain because we know if the blood flow to the brain is stopped for only six minutes, there is permanent damage,” said Dr. Nasser Khan, a cardiologist at The Iowa Clinic.
Chris, 46, had a heart attack. One of his main arteries was completely blocked. Dr. Khan said, “It is not unusual to have a heart attack, even at a young age, especially if people have risk factors, like smoking, if they have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure. These are the risk factors. For Chris, the risk factor was having high cholesterol and the doctor did put him on high cholesterol medication, but he stopped taking it.”
Khan put in a stent. Chris spent a few days in the hospital and was back to work a week after his heart attack. “I don’t think a lot about it. I mean, I want to move forward and push forward and enjoy these people,” said Chris.
His family is thankful he is here and they are thankful for all the people who helped save his life. “I know that they said working on somebody for over 30 minutes is not something they do very often, so I just want to say thank you because they have a dad and we have a family,” said Ashley.
Khan said heart attack symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, or even fatigue. “It could be just a pressure or discomfort in the chest. Sometimes it can go to the left arm. Sometimes it goes to both arms. Sometimes it goes to the back jaws. Some people become short of breath. Sometimes they just say ‘I do not feel well,’ especially in woman. They sometimes may not be typical,” said Khan.
He said you should have these symptoms checked by a doctor or call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency like Chris’. He said starting CPR right away was a key to Chris’ survival.
February is American Hearth Month. The Iowa Clinic offers advice to keep your heart healthy.