Here Melissa Carnevali, 40, tells the story in her own words.
What’s that? I thought, waking up to a strange scratching sound.
Our dog Frankie was in the bed, and she was clawing at my husband John’s chest.
To my horror, my hubby wasn’t breathing – and he was blue.
‘John!’ I screamed
Calling for an ambulance, I started doing CPR as instructed.
‘Come back to me, John,’ I sobbed.
When paramedics arrived they shocked him repeatedly.
John, 45, had been without oxygen for 20 minutes and was clinically dead.
He’d already had two heart attacks – the first aged just 37 – and he had 11 stents in his heart. But it looked like this time he wasn’t going to pull through.
Amazingly, the ambos managed to stabilise him.
‘What can I do?’ I wept, as they stretchered him into an ambulance.
‘You need to pray,’ one said.
At hospital, John was taken to ICU. In a coma, doctors reduced his body temperature to protect his brain.
‘He’s had a massive heart attack, a cardiac arrest and a stroke,’ a doctor said. ‘You need to prepare for the worst.’
Distraught, I didn’t leave his side. After four days, he emerged from his coma.
‘John!’ I cried, as he squeezed my hand.
A few days later, he began saying a few words.
‘I’m Melissa, your wife,’ I said, but he wasn’t sure who I was.
When he finally remembered me, he thought we’d been married for two years, not 16.
He thought our son, Hunter, was eight, not 11, and he thought he was only 32. And he couldn’t even remember Frankie – the dog who saved him.
Curling up on his bed at night, I wiped his face and gave him sponge baths.
Then I helped him learn to eat, drink and walk again.
After nearly nine weeks, I brought him home.
Four months on, we still have a long road ahead.
John has memory problems and he might not work again or be the active, hands-on dad Hunter is used to. But John’s a fighter and doctors can’t believe he survived.
We have Frankie to thank for that. And now, she sleeps on the bed every night. ●
To donate, head to https://www.gofundme.com/john-carnevali039s-tragic-event