On a bright sunny day, you’ll find Pat Hardin working outside in her yard and tending to carrots in her garden. Her husband, Ron, checks in with her every hour or so, making sure she’s okay. It’s a sign of his deep love for his wife of 43 years and a thoughtful habit he started after Pat’s heart stopped beating a year ago.
“The firefighters told us the chance of survival of this type of event is 52%. She is a miracle,” said Ron Hardin.
A year ago, Pat and her granddaughter were working in their yard. Ron went inside to take a phone call. As Pat went to put away a canvas swing cover in the garage, she collapsed and became pinned between a shelf and a car.
“Frankie, our granddaughter came running inside and said, ‘grandma fell.’ I grabbed the phone and ran out there, and she was slumped over and unconscious. I pulled her out of the garage, and as I’m talking to 911, Pat stops breathing, and I started CPR,” said Ron.
As Ron will tell you, the stars aligned that day. A typical busy Friday was unusually quiet for first responders, and firefighters from station 13 were in their driveway within a few minutes. And if it hadn’t been for their granddaughter visiting, Ron may not have known right away that Pat needed help.
Medics rushed Pat to Sacred Heart Medical Center. Ron waited for three hours in the emergency room before knowing If Pat was going to survive.
“That was very tense, frustrating, and scary. The cardiologist that came to talk to me, Pat, had taught both of his kids at Cataldo elementary,” said Ron.
To save her life, doctors performed surgery and put in a defibrillator the size of a deck of cards. Pat’s left and right ventricles were not in sync, which caused her heart to stop beating. The defibrillator keeps her heart beating strong.
“I just feel blessed and fortunate. Every night I thank God that things happened the way they did,” said Pat.
Pat doesn’t remember much of the day she collapsed, or her hospital stay. However, she will never forget the firefighters from station 13. Earlier today, on the anniversary of Pat’s heart attack, the couple delivered cookies to the station to show their appreciation and gratitude.
“We just want to thank them for their professionalism and the fact that they were there for us. They have a job a lot of people take for granted until they need them,” said Ron.
The couple also has a new appreciation for life. In the past year, Ron has dropped 58 pounds and walks almost every day. Pat gets in at least 10,000 steps a day, works in the garden, and reflects on her second chance at being a devoted wife, grandma, mother, and friend.
“It brings tears to my eyes. I wonder why God was so good to me. I’m still trying to figure out what I should do, and I still wonder the big reason why I’m here,” said Pat.