To the Editor:
Fifteen years ago today I was lying in the street dying — cardiac arrest. As I tumbled to the ground, the first of my three angels saw me fall. She stopped her car, rushed up to me and started CPR. Maria Harbeson was a family practice nurse at the Fort Belvoir clinic. She was quickly joined by my second angel, Arletta Van Breda, a cardiac nurse from Alexandria hospital. They worked as a team, compressing, compressing, compressing oxygen and blood to my heart and brain. I’m told they had me in normal sinus rhythm by the time the EMT’s delivered me to my third angel, Doctor Gia Viscardi, the ER doctor on duty at Mount Vernon hospital that day. She made all the decisions and called in a team of four or five specialists who used their training, ability, knowledge and experience to get me to a “he might make it” diagnosis.
Well, I did make it with no lasting ill effects. I have read or heard that only one percent of those similarly stricken come back like that. The reason I made it is because God put three angels in my life’s path that day. The question I haven’t answered yet is why? Why do some get second and third and fourth chances and others don’t? I have asked myself that question countless times over the past 15 years. I do some good and, what I consider, meaningful things but what I do isn’t extraordinary or hard. If I stopped doing all of them tomorrow others would step up. So why? I keep thinking, “something is coming your way so be prepared.” Maybe that’s it, just as simple as that. Keep trying to help, to make a difference and be ready. If you know why you are here you are truly blessed. But if you’re like me, it’s not a bad idea to ask why. There are angels out there to point the way or maybe pick you up if you stumble.
I thank God today for my three angels.