Destiny Ogle remembers the day: August 21, 2016.
It was her father’s birthday, and her family had gathered to celebrate.
She had been sitting on the floor playing video games and started to get up.
“I got up, and I fell down,” she recalls. “Out of the blue, I just dropped to the floor.”
Without warning and for a reason her doctors still are unsure of, Ogle had a heart attack.
“My family freaked out,” she said, and they rushed her to an emergency room.
She has few recollections about what happened next, including, she admits sheepishly, an incident at the emergency room where she accidentally broke a nurse’s nose and had to be put in restraints.
“I guess I was being kind of ornery, and I feel so bad about that.” she insists. “I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone – she was just doing her job.”
And that’s just the start of it all.
“I was placed in an induced coma for three days, and I have no memory of any of it,” she said. “What I know about what happened I only know from stories after I woke up.”
Well, she corrects herself. There is one thing she remembers.
“I remember seeing little blue men on the ceiling,” she laughed.
Ogle was told about the surgery that implanted a device to deliver medication directly into her heart. “I have a surgical scar under my armpit,” she says matter-of-factly.
Heart attacks are a life-changing event, and this one brought major changes for Ogle.
Instead of starting her junior year of high school, she was on physician-ordered bed rest so her surgical wounds could heal, and doctors could figure out what was wrong and how to treat it.
“That was really hard for me,” Ogle said. “I like to be busy. I like to do things. I’m a happy person, and I’m always bouncing around.”
And just like that, she found herself binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” reruns and having a full-on battle with boredom.
Even after the months of bed rest ended, Ogle said, her activities were severely restricted. And even when they weren’t restricted, there was the mental reservations all patients experience after a cardiac incident. There is always a question in the back of the mind about when the next attack could come.
Ogle missed the first half of her junior year. Behind the rest of her class, Ogle enrolled at Three Springs High School in Cheney.
“They understood what I was dealing with, and they worked with me to get caught up,” she explained. “That helped a lot. They understood that I had doctor’s appointments, and they understood that I had challenges with what I could do and what I couldn’t do. They would tell me that there was a deadline for an assignment, but if something came up or I had trouble, it could always be extended. They were more than willing to work with me and to help me.”
A little understanding and a bit of compassion goes a long way.
“I worked my butt off to get caught up,” Ogle said. “I was able to get caught up by the end of my junior year.”
After all that, her senior year was a snap and she even took on a part-time job after school.
In March her doctors performed a procedure called “cardiac ablation,” where surgeons damage or remove tissue preventing the heart from settling into a normal rhythm.
The procedure was successful and Ogle is back to something close to normal.
“I feel so great now – it’s such a huge relief,” she said. “I am so happy and excited. I can’t wait for graduation.”
Ogle’s plans include taking a six-month online dog-grooming course, then working for six months for hands-on credit to get fully certified.
“I love animals, I always have,” she said. “At first I wanted to be a veterinarian, but then I realized that I really didn’t want to spend six or seven more years in school. This way I can work with animals.
“I have a big dog that I groom myself, and I do dogs for my whole family.”
Steve Christilaw can be reached at email@example.com.
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