"Next time a fan tells you he's a "diehard" or that she "lives and dies" with her team, feel free to tell the story of Pat Celesnik and the Penguins.
Last April the 59-year-old Celesnik was at home in Derry, Pa., 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, packing for a trip to see her newborn granddaughter, when her heart began thumping erratically. She was rushed to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed atrial fibrillation and performed a heart catheterization. Two days later she collapsed on her kitchen floor. Back at the emergency room, her internal organs began shutting down like lights in an office building at the end of the day. The artery used for the catheterization had opened. Blood trickled out of her ears, seeped from her eyes and pooled in her stomach. Doctors induced a coma. Eventually, Pat went into cardiac arrest. For the better part of a minute she was, medically speaking, dead. Once revived, she faced a grim prognosis. Four times over the next week a different priest delivered last rites.
Still, Pat hung on, her bed ringed by her husband of 35 years, Ray, and their three children. If Pat survived, doctors said, she might never breathe again without a ventilator, much less walk. Finally, two weeks after collapsing, doctors brought her out of her coma. In her weakened condition, Pat could only mouth words. Her first were: Is there a hockey game on tonight?"
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