Rita Ann Reimer watches her Orioles

My name is Rita Ann Reimer. I am 68 years old and live in Annapolis, Maryland.

I had my first heart attack in October 2008. By June 2009, I had suffered a Code Blue and had 10 stents and a defibrillator.

I was then relatively stable for several years, but starting in June 2013 I had a series of increasingly serious heart episodes. On April 7, 2015, I had a heart attack accompanied by severe respiratory distress and nearly died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

All this time I had been told that my arteries were too narrow for bypass surgery. This was not good news as my arteries were over 90 percent blocked.  But this was about to change!

I have been a Baltimore Orioles season ticket holder for 36 seasons. On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, I went to an Orioles game and suffered another heart attack right outside Camden Yards. The ambulance took me to the University of Maryland Medical Center, which is right next to the stadium. It was my sixth hospital in eight months, in three states.

First, I would like to thank the Emergency Room staff not just for their expert care, but for their kind and reassuring manner. Having your defibrillator fire repeatedly is painful and scary. Unlike another recent hospital experience, they were very sympathetic and even helped me breathe my way through several potential firings.

But mostly, I would like to thank cardiac surgeon Dr. Bradley Taylor, who after examining my records said he thought I was a good candidate for bypass surgery. I admit that at first I was politely dubious, having been told for years that this was not an option. But given my 90 percent blockage, I felt that I had no choice. And it turned out he was right!

I had a successful triple bypass on June 5. On June 10 they also replaced my six-year-old defibrillator with a newer model that is supposed to last for 11 years. Two months later, I have been cleared to drive and have started a cardio rehab program at my local hospital. While I still have a ways to go, I’m definitely stronger and have more energy. Thank you, Dr. Taylor!

And also thank you baseball! Had I not been a baseball fan this almost certainly would not have happened, as I would have been taken to another hospital and would not have met up with Dr. Taylor. I am a very lucky person!