LaNysha Adams of Silver Spring, Maryland, was lying on the sofa watching TV when her husband, David Foss, went out to pick up a pizza for dinner.
When he returned not 15 minutes later, she was in a daze. Her eyes were bloodshot, and she was drooling. Their three-year-old son, Davidson, was in the crib next to her.
Foss couldn’t rouse her, so he called 911. Then he eased her onto the floor and began CPR. He knew the skill from every-other-year training through his job, but he’d never performed it on an actual person until that night in January 2022.
As Foss delivered the chest compressions, his mind raced. He felt as if he were watching the scene play out with someone else in his place. He feared what losing her would mean to him, Davidson and their one-year-old son, Donovan, as well as everyone else who loved her.
Eight minutes after Foss called 911, first responders arrived. Davidson sobbed as the paramedics continued performing CPR. Once they took Adams to the hospital, Foss remained at home with the boys. He continued to obsess over whether she’d live or die – and, if she lived, whether she’d have brain damage.
Six days later, Adams woke up in the intensive care unit. She had no idea what had happened or why she was there. She was afraid, angry and confused. It seemed as if she was in “The Twilight Zone.” The machine monitoring her vitals began beeping more quickly.
Adams was told she’d gone into cardiac arrest. She wasn’t sure exactly what that meant or why it had happened. She was 37 with no family history of heart disease. However, she had been diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia after giving birth to Donovan. The condition causes numerous problems, including high blood pressure. Studies show preeclampsia may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
She also recently had been sick with COVID-19 and had continued to test positive for several weeks. Studies have shown COVID-19 infections may increase the risk for cardiovascular events.
Adams experienced shortness of breath, swelling in her legs and an irregular heartbeat. To improve circulation and reduce the swelling, her medical team encouraged her to get up and start walking.
The first time Adams tried to get out of her hospital bed, she fell onto the ground. Soon she was using a walker to get to the bathroom and back. Ten days later, she was released from the hospital.
While Adams was hospitalized, Foss’ parents had moved in to help Foss care for the boys. To make space, they
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