By Dave Gear
EL DORADO – Dale’s back.
More than 10 years ago, Dale Wilson’s family bought him a YMCA membership following his recovery from a broken hip. Wilson said the gift was designed “to get me out of the house” and it worked. The 85-year-old became somewhat of a fixture at the El Dorado YMCA, working out just about every morning with his buddy Bob Anderson.
Two days before Christmas, the pair were in the locker room preparing for a morning workout. “As Dale was changing into his workout clothes, he just slumped over,” Anderson recalled. “I helped to ease him to the floor and called for someone to contact 911.”
EMS was called, but in the meantime the YMCA staff sprang into action. They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used an automated defibrillator to correct Wilson’s heart rhythm.
“We’re so grateful for the CPR and AED training that the Y provides the staff,” staff member Rebecca Debita said. “That allows us to be ready for times like this.”
Butler County Fire and EMS personnel arrived a short time later, continuing Wilson’s care while transporting him first to Susan B. Allen Hospital in El Dorado and then on to Wichita.
“I told the doctors I didn’t want anything done to prolong my life,” Wilson said, “but my granddaughters overruled me!”
Understandable, since one granddaughter is a nurse and another is an emergency medical technician. With the implantation of a pacemaker/defibrillator, Wilson’s heart is expected to function normally.
One of Wilson’s first questions to his cardiologist was “when can I get back to the Y?” He returned for his first workout 14 days after his heart attack. He has to take it easy on his left arm because the pacemaker was implanted in his left upper chest. But he believes it won’t be long before he’s back to his regular routine.
“And the Y family is so glad to have Dale back,” Debita said.
Man making most of ‘second chance’
To which Wilson added: “Thanks for giving me a second chance.”