Mother's Day Gift Credited With Saving Florida Woman's Life

BRADENTON, FL — Retired pediatric nurse Dee Arch credits the Mother’s Day gift her husband, Michael, and daughter, Stacy, gave her last year with saving her life.

“I really do feel it saved my life,” said the 67-year-old, who almost never leaves home without her Fitbit Versa since it picked up a heart abnormality in March that may have otherwise proved fatal.

Recovering from knee replacement surgery, Arch said she felt like her old self again on March 29 for the first time in weeks following the February procedure.

“I vacuumed floors. I mopped the tile. I was doing some cleaning,” she explained. “We had sat down. We had supper, watched TV, went to bed.”

But as her husband lay asleep, she could feel her heart racing.

“I checked my Fitbit. It said 180,” Arch recalled. “I sat and I rested. When I went to check the Fitbit again, it just had two little lines on it. It didn’t even register. So I woke my husband up and told him to call 9-1-1.”

By the time paramedics arrived, her heart rate was around 210.

“They hooked me up on the monitor and tried to tell me to slow my breathing down,” she told Patch. “They ended up giving me some medication. When it finally came down to like 140, the three firemen and the two paramedics in the room just started cheering.”

First responders took Arch to a nearby emergency room before she was admitted to a hospital for a four-day stay.

“I’ve had heart palpitations before but not this bad,” she recalled. “My left jaw started hurting. I was nauseated, had some chest discomfort. I thought this doesn’t feel right and I’m a nurse. It takes a lot for us to admit when something’s wrong with us.”

For her age, she said, her heart rate should register between 60 and 85 beats per minute.

“Right now it’s about 66,” she told Patch. “When it got to be 180, I was scared. I was very scared.”

After initially suspecting Arch had a blood clot from the knee surgery, she was diagnosed with Super Ventricular Tacharydia and given a drug called adenosine via an IV to help regulate her heart rate.

Now, she doesn’t like to take off her Fitbit.

“I hate it when the battery runs out and I have to charge it,” she shared. “I get very nervous — get it back on.”

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She and her husband, who retired from The Ringling, got Fitbits because they enjoy walking in 5K events and wanted to track their steps.

“We don’t run. We just walk very fast,” she said. “I try to get two-and-a-half to three miles per day.”

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