Quick-thinking cable guy helps save Omaha man's life - LivewellNebraska.com
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Quick-thinking cable guy helps save Omaha man's life

Here's one customer who isn't complaining about waiting for the cable guy to show up.

Omahan John Fey credits a CenturyLink Communications technician with saving his life after the punctual and quick-thinking worker called 911 during a health scare Fey had the morning of Jan. 21.

If Fey had been home alone, he said, “I really think there's a pretty good chance I would have bled to death.”

Fey, 61, was returning home from walking his dog around 9 a.m. just as contract technician David Patton arrived to install CenturyLink Internet and TV service at the house, near Crossroads Mall.

Fey's wife of 41 years, Shirley, was at work, and Fey let Patton in and showed him where the televisions were.

Back upstairs from showing Patton the basement, the former marathon runner felt a pain in the back of his neck. He lay down in the hopes it would go away, but it didn't. He doesn't remember anything about what happened between then and later that afternoon, when staff at the Nebraska Medical Center presented him scans of his brain.

Patton recalls what happened: He had a question for Fey and called for him to come back to the basement. While they were talking, Fey started slurring his words and looking disoriented, almost like he was falling asleep, Patton said.

Fey sat down in a recliner and, barely coherant, told the worker, “I have a really sharp pain in the back of my neck,” Patton said.

“That kind of set off a light bulb, like, this wasn't good. I told him, 'I'm going to call 911.”

While they waited for an ambulance, Fey went to the bathroom and vomited. Patton was relieved when paramedics took Fey away. He left a note saying he hoped Fey got better, and locked the house behind him.

“It happened so fast,” he said. “When I met him outside, there was nothing wrong with him.”

Fey, a former Omaha World-Herald copy editor who now works at Peak Performance running store, was in a daze but never lost consciousness as he was transported to Methodist Hospital and then the Nebraska Medical Center. He regained awareness there in the same hospital wing where his father died of a stroke in 2005.

A tube drained blood from his brain, but a battery of scans and tests turned up no concrete diagnosis. Doctors told Fey he did not have a stroke. He passed the next 13 days in the hospital watching TV, taking walks and finishing his work on this month's newsletter for the University of Nebraska at Omaha's hockey booster club.

Fey's middle son, a teacher at Westside High School, contacted CenturyLink to thank the installer. The family sent a Buffalo Wild Wings gift certificate to Patton, 41, who is engaged and lives in Bellevue.

“I'm just glad I was there,” Patton said.

Fey said he believes he had a guardian angel looking out for him that morning. He will keep his plans to go to Florida for baseball's spring training with his two other sons, and hopes to take a cruise out of Vancouver someday. “It's been a good ride. I'm not ready for it to end yet.”

He came home Monday with orders not to lift anything weighing more than 10 pounds or drive for four weeks. That's OK. Friends from the Ndorfnz running club have packed the Feys' fridge with food — and Fey has hundreds of television channels to watch since CenturyLink came back to finish the installation.

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