OSTERVILLE — The sun is peeking out about midday Wednesday when a lady strolling with a small female at Dowses Beach spots former Barnstable Significant University principal Patrick Clark and waves.
Clark stated he gets that a large amount — people halting him at the grocery retail outlet, wanting to know how he is doing.
Many Cape people are common with the tale of how he collapsed Sept. 27 on a morning bicycle journey right in this article at Dowses Beach, two days right after being placed on paid out administrative go away by Barnstable Universities Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown during a tumultuous reopening of university in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clark, who experienced surgery Dec. 31 to exchange an aortic valve, needs individuals to know he is joyful, healthy and completely ready to transfer on to the upcoming phase of his existence.
“There is really no superior rationale not to have a positive outlook. It’s the way I have lived my daily life,” explained Clark, who has recovered sufficient to resume bicycling and managing.
“I experience good and look at myself lucky.”
A runner with 50 marathons to his title — the past was the Boston Marathon in 2016 — Clark realized he’d sooner or later have to switch a defective coronary heart valve.
But he anticipated the surgery to be scheduled in his 50s or 60s, not at age 48.
Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stress it imposed on university officials who experienced to pivot to remote learning on an unexpected emergency basis in March and program for a safe way to resume courses in the tumble.
Clark, a fingers-on principal acknowledged for attending as many games and pupil performances as he could in shape into a day’s timetable, said he labored seven days a week from March to September.
“If I was awake, I was functioning,” Clark stated.
He helmed the significant college up to Sept. 25, a Friday, when Mayo-Brown suspended him. The next Monday, the large school welcomed pupils back again in human being on a remote agenda.
Clark, who resigned in December just after 10 several years on the work, stated he is not in a situation to go over the situations of his suspension — nor does he wish to.
“I’m not just one to hold on to items emotionally,” Clark reported.
“I was informed there was local community help,” he reported, and he was flattered by buddies and allies who peppered lawns with “Support Pat Clark” symptoms.
“My target at that time really wanted to be on my health and properly-staying,” he explained.
Collapsed at Dowses Beach front
Which is for the reason that two times soon after his suspension, Clark collapsed during a rest break at Dowses Seashore all through his common Sunday early morning bicycle journey.
As he cycled down Seaview Avenue, he remembers, “I begun to truly feel a minimal gentle-headed, a tiny off.”
He dismounted by the fish pier at the conclude of the parking whole lot, commenced to sit and felt compelled to lie down, resting his head in the sand.
“It was sort of like a dream condition,” Clark said.
The first folks to gather all around provided Dan Somes, a New Bedford educator who was formerly the assistant principal at Barnstable Intermediate College, and Barnstable High College resource officer Dennis Stampfl, who was a member of Clark’s Pan-Mass Obstacle cycling team.
“They told me to sit even now, ‘We’re going to contact an ambulance,’” Clark stated. “It seemed the ambulance was right here as shortly as I blinked.”
The Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills crisis crew users “were speedy,” he mentioned.
“They were effective. They have been superb.”
He remembered the crew setting up an IV and administering treatment. “Whatever they considered was a very good strategy, they gave me,” Clark reported.
Clark explained he used a few times at Cape Cod Healthcare facility, wherever he also obtained superb treatment from the cardiology section.
Defective bicuspid aortic valve
For yrs, he understood he experienced a faulty bicuspid aortic valve that at some point would want to be replaced. Medical specialists 1st discovered the dilemma 12 years back following hearing a “whoosh” seem in his heart, Clark claimed.
The valve allowed blood that was supposed to be propelled forward to stream backward, operating like a barroom door alternatively of a good kitchen area door, Clark said.
“There’s really no doubt” that the tension of administering the Cape’s greatest substantial university in the course of the pandemic played a position, he said.
At his cardiologist’s recommendation, he consulted with coronary heart gurus at Massachusetts Typical Healthcare facility in Boston in October.
On Dec. 31, Clark underwent three-hour, open-heart surgery at MGH and bought a mechanical aortic valve created of titanium.
“I generally have a new transmission,” Clark reported.
He was in the medical center in Boston for 5 times ahead of returning household to West Barnstable, in which he lives with his spouse, Amy, a fifth-quality instructor in Barnstable, and a few kids ages 19, 17 and 13.
Close by was his mother, two brothers, his mom-in-law, who is a retired nurse, and his sister-in-regulation, a practicing nurse.
“We’re a close group,” Clark mentioned.
He embarked on a regimen of going for walks 3 times a working day — at first, just to the mailbox — and carrying his cellular phone with him at all situations.
It was significant to adhere to the progressive training system without having rushing it, Clark claimed.
“I took that extremely seriously.”
A wonderful very long walk
He also took his propensity to take in nutritiously even more by slicing down on red meat.
Now in a position to undertake four- to five-mile highway operates, Clark has astonished his mates by also understanding to adore a pleasant long walk.
“I adore Eagle Pond in Cotuit, Hathaway’s Pond in Hyannis and Sandy Neck,” Clark said. “Long Seashore Highway was the first objective. I consider edge of the wonderful normal atmosphere in this article.”
Barnstable City Councilor Nikolas Atsalis, who has known Clark considering the fact that their childhood on Cape Cod — Clark is a 1990 graduate of Barnstable Significant — claimed he teases his outdated buddy about his slower speed.
“‘Welcome to the club. Now you know what it is like for individuals of us who made use of to run and now walk,”’ Atsalis reported he tells Clark.
It is element of local legend that Clark celebrated his leadership appointment at Barnstable Significant University with a operate from Wareham Substantial College, wherever he previously served as principal, to the superior university on West Principal Road in Hyannis.
The information about Clark’s cardiac occasion in September threw mates and supporters into a frenzy of worry, primarily considering the demanding situations.
“If you were heading to guess on anyone obtaining by it, it unquestionably would be Pat,” Atsalis mentioned.
“He’s always been very beneficial, even in the confront of circumstances that would knock most people down mentally and physically,” he reported.
“He just has a wonderful mind-set.”
Clark, who mentioned he expects to announce new programs within a month or two, reported he treats everyday living like a marathon in its place of a sprint.
Exhibiting appreciation beats bitterness any working day, in accordance to Clark, who praised the “fabulous” academics and students in the Barnstable public universities.
“I surely wish Barnstable Higher School and the community colleges nicely,” Clark reported. “I hope matters continue on to development and mature for Barnstable Substantial University.”
Get in touch with Cynthia McCormick at cmccor[email protected]. Abide by her on Twitter: @Cmccormickcct.