NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

February 28, 2014

A terrifying wake-up call

Heart attack spurs Newbury man to change his lifestyle

Ever imagine being hit in the chest with a baseball bat? What about coming to the realization that you might not see your child get married one day?

A heart attack can suddenly bring on both of those feelings, as one Newbury man learned.

But for Dan Tymann, the heart attack that nearly ended his life turned into the start of a new and better one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which designated February as American Heart Month — 715,000 people in the United States experience a heart attack each year. And more than 600,000 Americans die from some form of heart disease each year, making it the No. 1 killer in the U.S.

Tymann narrowly escaped being one of them.

In July 2011, Tymann had just finished pushing himself in a CrossFit workout in Topsfield with his daughter, Sarah, and was on his way home when he stopped for gas. He suddenly felt the impact of the proverbial baseball bat to his chest and began considering lost time with his wife, daughter and other important family members.

“So much goes through your mind, and I thought, ‘This is it, my life’s over,’” said Tymann, 54. “I remember thinking, ‘God, I think I’m gonna see you soon,’ and honestly I had just kind of accepted it at that moment.”

As Tymann stood at the pump, he knew he was in a serious situation and didn’t know what to do. Then he glanced across the street, saw a fire station and stumbled over while in cardiac arrest.

Tymann’s heart stopped twice that day, but both times, medical personnel brought him back. He was raced to Beverly Hospital and stayed for several days. When he was released, the doctors told him to slow down his busy life and change some habits or he’d be back.

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