Missouri woman on family vacation in North Dakota leaves with a little more than memories

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A family went on vacation and left with something a little extra after a medical emergency.

“We were playing games and the last thing I remembered was that my husband won the UNO game,” shared Julie Pogue.

The Pogue family traveled from Missouri and spent the day exploring the Badlands at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

They then returned to their hotel room for the night, when Julie says the unexpected happened.

“I could tell you exactly the cards I had in my hand, and I set them down on the table, and that is the last thing I remember,” said Julie.

“We were actually talking for a few minutes after what Julie remembers,” said Corey Pogue, Julie’s husband.

Corey says it was after that short conversation when Julie had a sort of spasm.

“Where she kind of pulled her arms up like this and I kind of looked over and was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And she didn’t respond,” said Corey.

Julie was transported by ambulance to an emergency room in Dickinson and that’s when they realized she needed more medical attention than they could provide.

She was then airlifted in the middle of the night to the emergency room in Bismarck.

“I got to go in and give her a kiss and then just talk to her for a minute. And then we watched her be loaded onto the helicopter and fly away. We went back to the hotel got our stuff, checked out and drove,” shared Corey.

Corey says they got to Bismarck at about 2 in the morning.

“I remember at one point the nurses were talking and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ Well based on what you just experienced you shouldn’t be able to speak in a full sentence and you’re telling us full stories. And we’re just like, ‘Wow this is amazing,'” shared Julie.

Julie’s diagnosis was a heart block, which occurs when the electrical signals from the top chambers of the heart don’t conduct correctly to the bottom chambers. Typically it happens over time, making her sudden case unusual.

“Usually your heart slows down. You might get disease, you might feel light-headed, but to actually require CPR is pretty unusual,” explained Dr. Timothy Pansegrau, a cardiovascular surgeon at Sanford Health.

A three-day-long hospital stay, an operation and one of the world’s smallest pacemakers directly into her heart, Julie’s life completely changed forever.

“Feel like I have a second chance at life and I’m very grateful because I want to be there for my kids. I want to see my kids graduate. I want to see my grandkids,” shared Julie.

Since the surgery, Julie says she’s made a complete lifestyle by changing the way she eats and eating out less. She also says she has never felt better.

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