I love the moments in life that can be so peaceful, rewarding, interesting, and, at times, so unexpected. But, when things get tough, sometimes it’s hard to find that return of peace and wonder. 

After experiencing a cardiac event during a stationary bike workout (causing me to wake up on the floor with no memory as to what happened), I struggled with how I was supposed to live with some normalcy and safety again. The event happened without warning, which was unnerving and frightening. Despite every test under the sun, I was left with no answers explaining the reason.

Early on, a nurse practitioner told me that I should only workout around others while also wearing a helmet and padding. That conversation rattled me: there was no way I could live life like that. Working out is an outlet for me; a time that I treasure being alone. The first day my husband walked with me, I just had to laugh. I could not believe what we were doing as it hit me that I wouldn’t even be able to tell him I was going to lose consciousness again. So what was the point of doing this together?

Brilliantly, he decided we needed to have a way to stay connected with some sort of alert measure in place.  We searched and searched. Knowing my husband isn’t great at using and communicating through his phone, we needed another option. Maybe an alert watch with medical functions would help us achieve peace of mind? 

Surprisingly, we were able to each get a watch that connects to our smartphones – and it is only costing us an additional twelve cents per month. To have a safety mechanism in our possession was worth a try.  

I was shocked by the capabilities of the watch. For instance, if we fall, the watch responds instantly and asks if we are ok. If we do not respond, the watch can track our location and contact 911. It also records heart rate and even AFib history. Yet the big question was whether it would lessen my fears about the unknown if I were to have another episode.  

The answer is YES!

I may not ever know when I may lose consciousness again, but knowing I have a watch that will contact emergency services if I am by myself is helpful, reassuring and freeing. I also appreciate the ease of just pressing a button and being able to call my husband. 

I am now doing things I love again – walking by myself, exercising, and feeling secure and safe that no matter what life throws at me, I am connected and ok. Once again, I am able to enjoy the sounds and smells of the ocean while walking alone again. My life is no longer controlled by fear.

May life be kind to you… 


–by Ellen Lenox Smith

About the Author:

Ellen Lenox Smith has emerged as a leading voice for patients living with pain. Currently, Ellen serves as Co-Director of Medical Cannabis Advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation and is a member of its Board of Directors. She is also active with the EDS RI support group.

Prior to patient advocacy, Ellen was a longtime middle school social studies teacher. She has been married for 48 years and is the proud mother of four adult children and grandmother to five grandchildren. She also is the author of two books, an organic gardener, and was previously a master swimmer and high school swim coach.

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