Published on May 09, 2022

A Story of Care, Community and CPR

Mother's Day 2021 for Lawrence community members Linda Howard, Terry Leatherman and Bruce Montrose would be like no other. It all started just a little strange. Every day at 7 a.m. Howard's dog is ready for his morning walk. However this day he wanted to go out at 9 a.m. and not earlier.

From Linda Howard's perspective

"I was about to make breakfast so I took my dog out beforehand and saw my friend Terry running," Howard said. "I have known Terry for over 20 years so he was a familiar face. We were talking and after while I went to take my dog back inside. I remembered I wanted to ask one more thing so I turned around and while asking him the last question Terry had fallen before I could run to catch him, now lying down in my neighbor's driveway." 

Linda Howard

Linda Howard

Howard immediately grabbed her phone and frantically called 911. She had her friend Bruce over that morning and went inside and yelled that her friend Terry had fallen.

"At this point, I had no idea what had happened and even scarier, I had no idea if he was alive," Howard said. "I ran inside, grabbed my phone as fast as possible and quickly told Bruce that Terry had fallen. I ran back outside and Bruce joined shortly after and we began explaining the situation to the 911 dispatcher. Bruce started CPR and I stayed on the phone with 911. It all happened so quickly, yet it felt like hours. The ambulance was there in about five minutes, but it felt so much longer."

Howard had Leatherman's wife's phone number and gave her a call. She arrived with her daughter shortly afterward. They put Leatherman in the ambulance and brought him to LMH Health where they continued his care for a few days.

From Bruce Montrose's perspective

Montrose had gone over to Howard's house that morning right before she took her dog out. The next thing he remembered was her coming inside and frantically grabbing her phone.

"I was waiting for her inside when she came in saying she needed her phone," Montrose said. "She said her friend had fallen and needed help. So, I put on my shoes and ran out expecting a broken arm or a busted face. But sadly that was not the case."

Montrose said he remembered looking at Leatherman and immediately trying to recall all he had learned about CPR back when his daughter was born. He had taken the class long ago to prepare in case it was ever needed while she was young, but that was the last CPR course he had taken.

"Linda was on the phone with 911 and the woman on the other end said 'just start pumping'," Montrose said. "She said two beats a second and do not stop. It was only a few minutes before the ambulance arrived, however, it felt significantly longer. The thoughts that run through your head in life and death moments are crazy. I was there giving CPR not knowing if Terry was alive, or even if he would make it. It was scary."

Who knew that taking CPR just to be on the safe side would come in handy one day? Montrose said the whole thing felt very surreal. He remembered meeting Leatherman about three weeks after the event and hearing how everything played out and wondering how things went so right.

From Terry Leatherman's Perspective

Leatherman said the date of his accident was May 9, Mother's Day. And besides that, it’s about all he remembers.

"It's funny, I am probably the worst person to talk to about my accident because I don't remember hardly anything," he said. "I remember the evening before we went to Old Chicago for dinner, but even that is pretty blurry."

Leatherman is big into running and enjoys going on his four-and-a-half-mile run each Sunday. He has a few different routes he likes to run, but on this particular day, he decided to take a bit of a different route that runs past Howard's home.

"I started my run at 8:01 a.m. that morning. I know this because I use an app that tracks my runs," Leatherman said. "I felt absolutely nothing coming on and had no realization I was having a heart attack. I don't even remember the pain when falling or talking to Linda. Really what I remember the most is getting in an ambulance at LMH Health and being transferred to have my quintuple bypass surgery."

He said that on this day he had a lot of things go very right. He happened to leave his home at the correct time to end up in front of Howard's house when her dog had to go outside. He also chose a route that took him in front of her house.

"I don't like needing assistance and that day I needed it," Leatherman said. "Had I collapsed at any other point on my run, I don't know if I would have made it. No one seeing a man lying on a random sidewalk would likely run to help immediately. However knowing Linda and having Bruce able to perform CPR, the stars must have aligned that day. I am very grateful to have had people around me that day who did not hesitate to help."

Terry Leatherman

Terry Leatherman

Leatherman said this made him assess his overall health and family history. His father had a heart attack and he thought maybe one day he would experience heart problems, but not at 63.

"Health scares are intimidating. I don’t like being sick, I don’t like needing help and this was a wake-up call," he said. "I have been cleared to run and would say that I am in better health now than I was last year before the event. I am grateful for modern medicine because had my dad had it as bad as I did in 1970, I am not sure he would have made it. Since the heart attack, I am more thoughtful about my diet and maintaining my exercise. I am glad to be here."

Care for your cardiovascular health

Taking care of your heart health is extremely important. Charis Grosdidier, a nurse practitioner with Cardiovascular Specialists of Lawrence, shared a sobering statistic – one person in the US loses their life every 36 seconds due to cardiovascular disease.

When meeting with your doctor, it is important to discuss more than just your health. Talk about your family’s health history as well. If there is a long line of heart failure in your family, it may be wise to have a heart risk assessment completed. Additionally, discussing this with a trusted clinician can help ease your mind and set you up for a healthy future.

“The traditional and most common symptoms of heart failure include a heavy feeling over the middle or left side of your chest, especially if that feeling is accompanied by pain down your arm, pain up your neck, nausea, sweating or shortness of breath,” Grosdidier said.

As always, if you are seriously concerned you should call 911. If you have a concern outside of the primary care clinic’s hours, go to the ED – especially if you feel like you may be having a heart attack. Your health is what is most important.

To learn more about heart health and the team at Cardiovascular Specialists of Lawrence, visit the link below.

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Jessica BrewerStory by Jessica Thomas

Jessica is the Social Media & Digital Communications Specialist at LMH Health.

A Story of Care, Community and CPR

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