Miracle on Olive Branch Parke Lane
Writer / Erin Smith . Photographer / Provided
Meet Heidi Whitrock: a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Center Grove area resident for six years, mother of Abagail and wife to Cliff who believes her experience at Anytime Fitness Center Grove on August 20, 2014, was nothing short of a miracle.
The day was typical. Full day of work treating patients, quick stop at home to check on her daughter to ensure homework was getting done, and lastly giving a little love to their sweet dogs, Princess and Zinnie. Then, off to workout. Heidi had recently switched her workout membership to Anytime Fitness and signed up for personal training with Steffanie Brown. She was looking to lose weight, gain strength and rid the stress of life with a regular workout regimen. Everything was going as planned until that dreadful day in August.
She began her workout with 30 minutes on the elliptical and then started with the leg extension machine. Three minutes into the workout, Heidi became fatigued. Then she turned white as a ghost and became nauseated while her heart rate skyrocketed to 190 bpm.
She attributed all of these symptoms to a massive migraine. She had experienced horrible migraines in the past and agreed to have her husband called to pick her up. Her trainer, recognizing this didn’t seem like the run-of-the-mill migraine, encouraged Heidi’s husband, who happened to be a nurse, to seek medical treatment right away.
The Opportunity for a Miracle
After arriving at the ER, most of the tests confirmed Heidi’s hunch: migraine. However, there was a doctor on call that evening that took one look at her and had a different hunch. He ordered a MRI, STAT.
As the test began, the doctor immediately recognized that Heidi suffered a ruptured aneurysm in her brain, and she was still bleeding. They arranged for her to transfer to Methodist Hospital downtown, and they told her husband the odds of her making it to the hospital alive were slim.
Shortly after transferring, they performed a craniotomy, and they told family that she suffered a massive brain injury. The surgery was necessary to stop the bleeding; however, it could leave her completely unable to care for herself. But Heidi had hope.
Typical recovery time for this type of surgery is 2-3 weeks. Heidi was discharged on September 1 — 11 days after her surgery. This is unheard of.
Looking back on the experience, she exclaimed, “What happened to me was nothing short of a miracle! I had angels looking after me and lots of prayers.”
She was released to go back to working out at Anytime Fitness just three months after her aneurysm. Her therapists attribute the speed of her recovery to all the working out she was doing prior to her aneurysm. Heidi believes this too.
Living the Miracle
She was so nervous to start back with her workout routine, but she knew her trainer, Steff, would make her feel right at home. Heidi explained, “At Anytime Fitness Center Grove, you aren’t just a number or another ‘billable client.’ Steff came to visit me in the hospital, and she really cares about my safety and encourages me to meet my fitness goals. What is really great is she did this before my accident when I first signed up. She, her husband Craig and manager Manny treat all their clients like this. It is like a family here.”
Heidi wants others who suffer from aneurysms to know there are programs, services and support groups that can help. Contact your physician or local hospital to learn more or feel free to friend Heidi on Facebook to ask about her experience. She would love to share her journey with others if it will help them get through a tough time. She believes in “paying it forward.”