The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


June 25, 2013

A Don McCormack column: 'I've been given a gift'

One month ago tomorrow, Ron Cramer lay down dead on an Ashtabula street. Now, he vows to live each and every day to its fullest


The next step

Though his life is back to “normal” as much as it could be, all things considered, Ron isn’t out of the woods, yet.

He has a big day Friday, when he’s going back to Cleveland Clinic.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good, not fully back to normal, but close,” he said. “I’m in the habit of walking daily, watching what I eat, keeping track of my blood pressure and weight, and just going about routine stuff at home and my wife is such a blessing.

“At the clinic Friday, I’m going in for the day, pretty much. They’re going to do all the tests — MRI, stress test, etc. — and we will know a lot more then.

“My chest and shoulders hardly hurt and I’m used to having Bro-Tech (his life vest) as part of my life, now.”

But he’s on the road to recovery.

“I’m up to walking a mile... a slow mile,” he said. “And I have to watch my sodium intake and I’m on about five medications.”

Good for the spirit

The circumstances of how Ron Cramer’s life-death-life tale have played out cause goose bumps to run up and down one’s arms, a tingling sensation to hit the back of the neck and, after speaking with him, a warming of the heart and a tear in the eye.

He’s darn fortunate he wasn’t working out near his home on South Denmark Road in Denmark.

“I train on South Denmark Road and Route 193. If this had happened during a workout, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now. I would have been a goner.”

I say it was almost a perfect storm, if you will.

“Everything came together. Dr. Agiannatassio, a cardiologist is there to perform CPR, I knew the police officer who was there, I knew one of the EMTs... it’s almost as if God put us all in that situation and that moment,” Ron said. “It was as if He was telling me He had more work for me to do, so he allowed for everything to come together for me like it did.”

Then, there’s this.

“My heart stopped... for a little while, I was dead,” he said.

“I remember many things from that day, but there is a 15- to 20-minute period that I remember nothing... not a thing. There’s just nothing there.

“I get asked all the time, about ‘the light’ or ‘the list,’ but it is pretty much a blank. I didn’t see anything, at least I don’t remember seeing anything, and I didn’t feel anything.”

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