Sixty-nine-year-old Bob Durling is an avid cyclist, riding more than 30 miles a day. But on Aug. 6, it was his car ride home from a Sunday cycle that was the most dangerous.
Driving in his car home to get ready for church, he knew something was wrong.
All the sudden my vision kind of tunneled up, I got extremely dizzy, Durling said. I blacked out and thats when my heart stopped.
Durling was in cardiac arrest. With just minutes to act before brain damage set in, onlookers pulled Durling from his car. One of them was Dignity Health nurse Courtney Johnson, on her way home from the overnight shift in the trauma ICU. She realized Durling did not have a pulse and immediately jumped into action, beginning CPR.
Johnson performed more than three rounds of CPR, keeping blood flowing and delivering oxygen to his brain until crews from the Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department could arrive.
We shocked him for a third time and at that point I saw on the monitor his organized rhythm had come back, Captain Jose Garcia with Gilbert Fire and Rescue said.
I woke up and saw four strangers staring down at me and they immediately said, Mr. Durling youve had a heart attack youre in the back of an ambulance’, Durling said.
Durling was treated at Dignity Healths Mercy Gilberts emergency room. Doctors were able to implant a stent and defibrillator. The grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of two is living without any serious complications.
Thursday, Durling was able to greet folks who saved his life. He asked all the people he calls his guardian angels to sign the now torn cycling shirt he was wearing that day.
Its an absolute joy to see him walk through the door, Captain Garcia said. Honestly I cant explain it. We dont get to see that all the time. But it sends tingles up your spine when you see Bob come in here and we saw him a month ago on the worst day of his life.
Durling said the day is the worst of his life, but he also celebrates it as the best of his life.
All those little things came together in a matter of minutes to make sure Im here to enjoy time with my grandkids and family and continue to live my life,” he said.
Durling will start cardio therapy later this week, but says hes taking things slow, and still very thankful to be alive.