February may be American Heart Month, but it was last July that served as Linn Rogers’ wake-up call.
For information about volunteer opportunities at Trident Medical Center, call Stephanie Parker, volunteer coordinator for Trident Health, 847-4286.
On July 16, Rogers was volunteering at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston just like he’d done almost every week for more than 20 years when he dropped to the floor from sudden cardiac death. His heart simply stopped beating.
“Things went black,” said Rogers, 83, a Goose Creek resident. “I don’t remember a thing after that.”
Lucky for him, lifesaving help was close by. Trinka Douglas, an acute nurse practitioner, immediately turned around when she heard Rogers fall — “this boom,” she called it.
“He had no pulse. He had no rhythm. He was completely asystolic — that means no heart rhythm whatsoever,” Douglas said. “I felt for a pulse and there was no pulse, so I started CPR right away.”
Doctors worked for hours to stabilize him. They discovered he had not had a heart attack, but had experienced sudden cardiac death, defined by the American Heart Association as an “abrupt loss of heart function” or, as Douglas explained, “a rhythm issue.”
A surgeon installed a pacemaker-defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat.
“If it wasn’t for the staff at this hospital, he wouldn’t be here,” said Maggie Rogers, Linn’s wife.“The odds of us being here when he was volunteering — four hours a week — and him being in the hospital and him being with (Douglas), the odds — it’s the Lord’s work. That’s the only way you can look at it.”
Since 1991, when Linn Rogers checked into Trident Medical Center for bypass surgery to clear six heart blockages, he and Maggie have volunteered every week.
Linn Rogers alone has logged more than 7,000 volunteer hours in more than 22 years.
Since July, Rogers has been on the mend. He intends to start volunteering at the hospital again as soon as he is well enough.
“I love people, the other volunteers. You become friends, close friends. It’s good exercise. We walk from here to there, push patients in a wheelchair, things like that,” he said. “It’s just a good thing to do. It’s not for everyone, I guess, but that’s why I like it. And you meet some nice people.”
Douglas and Rogers now share a close bond. They reconnected at a heart luncheon at the hospital on Thursday.
“God was on our side that day,” Douglas said.
“The good Lord just didn’t mean for me to leave,” Rogers agreed. “He’s got something for me to do, I guess. I hope it’s a lot.”
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.