LEWISTON — Raymond and Doris Masse, who’ve been married for 58 years, are grateful to be able to celebrate another Thanksgiving with their family.

Two weeks ago he suffered a heart attack.

“I was sitting right here,” he said from his living room chair. It was 10:15 p.m. on Nov. 8. His wife had just gone to bed.

“It hit my arm and my chest. I never had pain before across my chest. It was really strong.”

It wasn’t his first heart attack, so he knew the signs. He took out his nitroglycerin spray, which helps widen blood vessels in heart patients. 

“After two sprays, I woke her up,” he said.

His wife called their daughter, a nurse who recently retired.

“She said, ‘Mom call the ambulance now,’” Doris said.

Soon they were at Central Maine Medical Center. The next day, he underwent a procedure to probe his heart and arteries.

“When you’re on the table, it’s not that wide,” he said. “They have a camera that’s going around. The big screen is right there next to me. I could see it. The guy said to me, ‘You want something for your pain?’”

Masse said no. He wanted to watch.

Before long, “they found the blood clot. They got it and put in a new stint.”

He stayed awake during the procedure. “It’s not scary for me. I knew it was a heart attack and I wanted to find out.” Once they found the clot and put in the stint “the pain left,” he said.

He was released from the hospital the following day.

Raymond, 81, said he suffered his first heart attack in 1989 at age 52. Since then he’s had multiple heart attacks and open-heart surgeries.

“This wasn’t his first rodeo,” Doris said.

“I never thought I’d reach 60, not to mention 80,” he said.

The couple doesn’t take life for granted.

They have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “When our first great-grandchild was born, I took the baby and said to my granddaughter, ‘Can I show the baby to Pepere?’”

When he saw his first great-grandchild, Raymond started crying. When his wife asked why he was crying, he said, “Doris, I never thought I’d see our great-grandchild. It’s a blessing.”

Raymond and Doris observed their 58th anniversary on Nov. 12, a few days after his heart attack.

They chuckled, sharing the story of how they met. He was in the Marines. She was a bridesmaid in his sister’s wedding. He had just broken up with a girlfriend. The bride said to Doris, “Doris, I have nobody to walk with him. You’re short. Would you mind walking with my brother (in the wedding)?”

Doris agreed. Then they started dating. “It kind of took,” she said with a smile.

Before he retired he worked as a lineman for a construction company, installing power lines. One line went from Canada to Wiscasset to Manchester, New Hampshire. “I used to go up in the poles,” he said.

After that he worked at a lot of jobs, including a dairy, he opened a gas station, delivered oil and was in the moving business.

“He worked all the time,” Doris said.

“It caught up to me,” he said.

When he gets the OK from his doctor, Raymond will resume exercising, walking inside the mall, he said. He said he watches his diet and follows doctors’ orders.

“I’m glad to be here,” he said.

“We’re celebrating Thanksgiving together, I thank God,” she said. “I’m very appreciative letting him be with us. We’ll all be together. It’s a blessing.”

“I’m thankful for everything,” he said. “If it wasn’t for these doctors with the thing they do today, I wouldn’t be here.”

[email protected]

Raymond and Doris Masse, who’ve been married 58 years, are thankful he’s with his family this Thanksgiving. Raymond suffered a heart attack on Nov. 8. He’s grateful to the Central Maine Medical Center doctors. Without them, “I wouldn’t be here,” he said. (Bonnie Washuk/Sun Journal)