My Heart Attack

painting of child holding heart shaped balloon

Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…


Click the play button to listen to Francis Pass tell this story.

“Francis, stay with me!”

It felt like someone was on top of my body.

“This is Adam, stay with me!”

Was he bouncing on my chest?

“Stay with me, Francis!”

Out of my right eye, I saw white light and little squiggles. And all I could see out of my left eye was red.

That’s the moment when Allison the PA told me I had flatlined.

heart stethoscope

It was October 16th,2020.

I’d been having some burning sensations in my chest, so my medical team wanted to perform an angioplasty to take a look at my arteries.

Now, being a vet, I’d had my artilleries checked before, but never my arteries.

I figured they’d find a blockage or two and maybe put in a stent or a balloon. But that’s not what happened.

What did happen is that, during the procedure, I had a heart attack.

Now, take it from me… if you’re going to have a heart attack, have one while you’re already at the hospital surrounded by heart specialists.

I consider myself lucky. Had I been anywhere else, I don’t know that I would’ve made it. In fact, I didn’t make it. I flatlined right there on the table. But those fine doctors and nurses never gave up on me. They kept at it.

heart stethoscope

And that was just the beginning. For the next 48 days of captivity, they cared for me, loved on me, and got me back on my feet.

Now, fast forward to December 2nd, my last day at the hospital. As the nurse was wheeling me down to the front door, she said, “Now I’m gonna take you right down to the nurses’ station and I want you to say it when you go by.”

What? Say what?

“You know.”

As we turned the corner, she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Now! Say it.”

I lifted my head and bellowed, “Nine-Nine-Three-Six-Foooooooour-Seventy-One is leaving the building!”

heart stethoscope

They laughed and applauded. I smiled. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

There were a lot of other moments during my stay. Some good. Some not so memorable. But they never gave up on me. They kept at it.

From the bottom of my recently repaired heart, I want to offer my deep, honest, sincere appreciation to everyone who took phenomenal care of me during my many hours of need.

The doctors, nurses, rehab specialists, even the nice folks who brought me my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thank you.

To everyone at Prairie Heart, Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital, and my friends at the Marion VA and Carbondale VA Clinic, I owe you my life.

Especially you, Dr. Sami. Had you not gotten the ball rolling, I wouldn’t be here today.

But I thank the good Lord that I am here today. I guess he’s not done with me yet.

heart stethoscope

This time of the year, you can’t go anywhere without seeing a bunch of hearts. But this Valentine’s Day, I’m looking at those red and pink hearts a little differently.

To all the front-line workers, you are incredible people doing incredible work during an incredible moment in history. You never give up. You keep at it.

My heart goes out to you. Literally.

Be well. Stay well. And thanks for readin’…

Francis Pass

P.S. – Hey Adam, I’m sure glad the Lord had you at the ready right by my side. I hope we get to meet again someday… but maybe under better circumstances.