One big heart
Recent West Linn High School graduate Bryce Enoch-Wysham got a second chance at life earlier this summer.
Enoch-Wysham experienced cardiac arrest at Tualatin's Bay Club, and Lake Oswego resident Tom Kay found him and stayed with him until paramedics arrived.
Enoch-Wysham says he doesn't remember that day but has since been told he was at Bay Club for a quick workout before heading to a concert with his dad. He was showering in the locker room after exercising when he went into cardiac arrest. Kay was the only other person in the locker room.
Kay noticed Enoch-Wysham's foot sticking out beneath a curtain, which he thought looked odd and asked if he was alright. Hearing no response, Kay went to check on him.
"There he was, blacked out, having what I didn't realize was a heart attack at the time," Kay said of that moment. "I just straightened him out and slapped him a few times to see if I could wake him up; that's all you can do and then start screaming for help and going from there."
Enoch-Wysham's family is more than grateful that Kay was there and knew what to do.
"If (Kay) hadn't looked, if he hadn't asked, if he didn't know CPR, we would have had a very different outcome. It's really thanks to this guy, who I just can't thank enough," said Enoch-Wysham's mom, Daphne Wysham.
Minutes after a staff member called 911, police officers and paramedics arrived to transport him to a hospital.
"We didn't know what had happened," Wysham said. "I just got a call from his dad saying, 'Bryce is in the hospital and it's serious.' Of course, it's every parent's worst nightmare. Apparently, they didn't even know who he was because he had passed out at the gym and it took them awhile to find his ID and find his dad's phone number, so he was in the hospital for a while before they had contacted us."
Doctors induced Enoch-Wysham into a coma, and for three days, his family waited.
"The doctors were saying they didn't know if he was going to wake up," Wysham said. "It was the worst possible scenario."
She and the family were told Enoch-Wysham might not be able to breathe when doctors woke him up, so when doctors said they were going to try, they waited with bated breath.
"We were standing over his bed waiting for him to wake up and at one point his eyes opened and he looked around the room and he looked kind of confused and the nurse said, 'Bryce if you can understand what we're saying, give us a thumbs-up.' And he was like 'thumbs-up.' And we were, of course, overjoyed."
While Enoch-Wysham and his mother said doctors are unsure what may have caused him to enter cardiac arrest, they suspect it was a heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ARVC causes a muscle wall in the heart to break down over time, increasing the risk for abnormal heartbeat and sudden death, especially during strenuous exercise.
While he was in the hospital, doctors implanted an automatic defibrillator in Enoch-Wysham's chest.
Since the heart attack, Enoch-Wysham has taken it easy on doctors' orders, except for one day about two weeks after leaving the hospital.
"I didn't really accept the diagnosis at first because I wasn't supposed to work out, so I did a little workout, some burpees and I got a shock with the (implanted) defibrillator and went to the ER," he said
Enoch-Wysham was all right after the incident but heeded the doctors' advice of taking it easy a little more closely.
Kay said after paramedics took Enoch-Wysham to the hospital from the Bay Club, he didn't know what happened.
"Everybody waited to find out if he was alive or dead. I didn't find out till about two weeks after," Kay said. "The gymnasium didn't want to talk about it. They couldn't even give me his name. His mom found me. His mom sent me a text that said: 'This is who I am. This is my son. I think you saved him two weeks ago,' I think she got my name from one of the helpers at the gym.
"I'm sure glad she did because it wasn't in the newspaper. Nobody could tell me one way or another. I just thought he was dead."
Since that day, Enoch-Wysham and Kay have met a handful of times.
"I was pretty nervous meeting him," Enoch-Wysham said. "For some reason there was some pressure to impress the person who saved your life. You want to be the best version of yourself. I wanted him to be happy he saved me."
But Enoch-Wysham didn't need to be nervous.
"I was so happy when I saw him, and he was smiling and seemed like he was doing pretty well," Kay said of meeting Enoch-Wysham, who he called "remarkably mature."
Not only is Enoch-Wysham remarkable to Kay, Kay is remarkable to Enoch-Wysham and his mom.
"He's a really sweet guy," Wysham said. Enoch-Wysham and his mom were impressed to learn that Kay had a family history of honorable deeds by honorable people.
They were also impressed to learn that Kay had attended a Red Cross CPR training class with his 12-year-old daughter about a week before Enoch-Wysham's heart attack, which they believe helped him in the ensuing emergency situation.
"CPR today is a lot different than it was 10 years ago, that's the thing people ought to know," Kay said. Wysham expressed how important it is for as many people as possible to learn CPR.
In the fall, Enoch-Wysham is headed to Oregon State University to study engineering, which scares his mom a bit, but that means he's back on track to make the most out of the second chance he was granted.
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