NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky revealed he was hospitalized after a cardiac emergency while hiking in Zion National Park earlier this week.
The 37-year-old Dallas-based journalist was admitted to nearby Cedar City Hospital after suffering a medical emergency.
Chesky shared the scary and surreal experience he had in an Instagram post on Thursday. Read below:
I’ve never shared a story quite like this one, here goes:
It’s an odd feeling to walk out of ICU. Less than 24 hours after soaking up views at Zion National Park, I was in the back of an ambulance, on oxygen, with no idea what was wrong.
The adventure was painstakingly planned. A sunrise hike at Bryce Canyon, followed the next day by Zion, alongside a legendary crew.
The trouble began after Bryce, when a fever hit hard. I thought a good sleep would be enough, but a few miles into the hike at Zion I grew frustrated. I couldn’t seem to catch my breath.
I’ve hiked tougher trails at higher elevations, but even a slow pace caused my pulse to spike. I got angry. When my uncle grabbed my pack, I let him take it and finished the trail, too weak to even celebrate.
I popped Tylenol, determined to sleep it off again. But when I woke up worse, I caved. After hearing my symptoms at Urgent Care, they tested my pulse ox (blood oxygen saturation). Normal is 95-100 percent.
Mine read 58.
That’s when they called the ambulance.
At Cedar City Hospital the incredibly proficient staff took over. A CT scan showed fluid filling my lungs, a blood test showed my heart was stressed, and I first heard the term H.A.P.E.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema.
I was confused. I’ve hiked at 14,000 ft. These hikes barely broke nine. Doctors told me it didn’t matter. A cold I may not have noticed in Dallas was exacerbated by elevation, making me even more prone to altitude sickness. When my lungs started to fill with fluid, it forced my heart to work harder, causing my pulse to skyrocket.
If not treated, staff tells me you either pass out from lack of oxygen or go into cardiac arrest.
Over 24 hours, high flow oxygen, blood thinners, and stellar care eased me back towards a safe baseline. My best night’s sleep in days was in an ICU bed I felt lucky to have.
To the staff at Cedar City Hospital, y’all are the best. To my uncles who knew something was wrong and stuck w/me, don’t expect to carry my pack ever again. And to the crew who had my back throughout this scary as hell ordeal, much love.
I’m not home yet, but hope to see y’all at a lower elevation soon.
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