Concerns about upsetting his wife and disrupting his neighborhood nearly cost retired Midway Fire Rescue Chief Dan Wetsel his life.
Before retiring in 2005, Wetsel spent almost 30 years in the fire service as a firefighter, fire marshal and fire chief. Over the course of his career in public service, he responded to many 911 calls from people suffering from heart attacks.
Yet, when the 80-year-old Pawleys Island resident and U.S. Navy veteran began experiencing chest pain himself one day in late August, he attributed it to overdoing it while helping a friend move the day before. Rather than risk unnecessarily calling emergency vehicles to his neighborhood or upsetting Nancy, his wife of 33 years, Wetsel stayed silent until the pain and pressure in his chest became intolerable.
“That was the wrong thing to do,” Wetsel says. “I didn’t want to disrupt the neighborhood and put pressure on my wife. But I knew better. I know the signs. Never do what I did.”
When he told Nancy what he was experiencing, she knew exactly what was happening and told him they needed to get him to the hospital right away.
“I told my wife I was hurting all over my chest and the pain was radiating down my arms,” Wetsel recalls. “She said, ‘Dan, you’re having a heart attack.’”