Mama said there'd be days like this
For sure Duey Evans will remember 2020 for the coronavirus, but the Covid-19 lock-down probably saved his life when he had a massive heart attack in May.
Duey Evans is High Performance Coach at the Austin Tennis Academy.
How will you remember 2020? People of my parents age in the USA recall where they were when President Kennedy was killed and when we landed on the moon. For me, 23 March and 2 May, are two dates in 2020 which are indelibly imprinted on my brain. The first is the day our tennis program shut under Covid-19 stay-at-home orders and the second is the day I experienced a massive widow maker heart attack caused by a 100% blockage of my LAD artery. The former likely prevented the latter from killing me.
While we anticipated it was coming, getting the order to stay-at-home was a huge blow to me. For most of my adult life I had spent some part of most days on a tennis court. Sparring with National level juniors and aspiring pros kept me fit through my forties and even at 58 I still enjoy hitting in during my lessons. On 23rd March, I broke out a camera and went to work with a young colleague just off the tour to capture footwork patterns to be used as part of the Virtual Academy I was putting together for our clients to remain engaged during the shutdown.
Then, in a partial rotation of the earth, it was over. No tennis, gyms were closed and I spent my days confined to a very small domicile which doubles as a media production studio. Exercise was limited to a walking trail I shared with dozens of others, many of whom appeared to have been quite sedentary for many years. After 30 years of running around in the sun, I was more than content to let those I saw around me set the pace.
On Wednesday 29th April while on a walk I felt something which caused me to stop and catch my breathe. Over the next three days I had several more incidents of varying intensity and duration. On Saturday 2nd May at approximately 3:30 p.m. I had experienced the third onset of the day. Three hours later it hadn’t gone away. So despite hospitals being where the Corona-cuties reside, I acquiesced and went to get checked out.
They immediately identified I was having a heart attack and made arrangements to get me into the Cath Lab for surgery. I thought it was no big deal and posted a selfie on social media talking about “checking heart attack off my bucket list”. At the same time the surgeon was telling my next of kin I would likely be disabled by a stroke or die on the table!
Well, I’m here and back on the court part time. The ironic thing is not being on the court was likely a life saver. Apparently the people who drop dead from widow makers are those who are under physical load when the blockage reaches 100%. In other words, had it hit me when I was demonstrating how to hit a running forehand I could have had my dash filled in.
Working in tennis instead of behind a desk all these years had me in good enough shape that my outcome has been remarkable so far. The worldwide Coronavirus pandemic kept me off the court at the moment exercise could have actually killed me. When I step on court now, I feel a freedom and joy I haven’t felt since I was teen!
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