Sunday, September 07, 2008

When Your Heart Stops.....

This weekend was very tough for me. I'm not exaggerating to say that the stress level at the point of showing up at Brayden's Jamboree today was one of the highest of the year. It was a rough morning, a rough weekend, heck, a rough week. Very depleting for me, I was pretty much laid bare by the time I was trying to navigate through hundreds of vehicles with no where to park, hundreds of people all roaming with hundreds of football-playing kids. I was dragging in four kids and a dog myself, trying to find the right field, taking phone calls on "how to get to the right place" when I couldn't even figure it out myself. By the time I'd reached the field, I'd already "emotionally vomited" to two of my friends about how stressed I was.

We finally got settled, but the dog was a BAD idea, the place was hot, the kids were all over the place, and the food hard to come by (because you weren't supposed to bring it in). The state of my well-being wasn't necessarily improving. I just kept thinking, "If I get through this jamboree, and then get John home, we'll get caught up as a family and we'll find normalcy again".

Right before the third and final game, my cell phone rang and it showed "DAD CELL". As Leona had just shown up, I thought my dad had decided to as well (my mom has a horse event this weekend) and was calling for directions. When I answered and it was another man's voice, my heart stopped. It was hard to hear with all the commotion, but I heard "chest pain" and "ambulance" and immediately retreated to a place where I could hear better. Yes, my dad was having chest pains, and yes, he was headed for the hospital - yes, I was being called so I could meet him there as they were unable to get a hold of Mom.

When you see one of your worst "this will probably happen someday" nightmares start to materialize, you can respond in so many ways. I did my best to compartmentalize, find my son's coach and communicate the problem, but had lost it by the time I walked over to him. Poor guy, we don't know each other that well for him to see me lose it in tears. Blessedly, Michele was down just this weekend, and happened to decide to stick around for the final game. We decided to drive both our cars home, drop off Syd, and then return together to the hospital. I worked it out for Randy to drop Brayden off at the hospital after they were through. The way home was especially painful - trying not to freak the kids out, but silently pooling in tears - hearing all the songs on K-LOVE that had lyrics that stung. Michele went back to the house on a different route, and lost it when she saw the likely ambulance that was carrying Dad from our childhood home to the hospital......

Once re-united in the car, Michele and I held hands, prayed, and said some of the most heart-hurting words that we alone would ever be able to communicate and feel together. Once we arrived at the hospital, we were quickly able to see Dad, able to communicate with him and hear from the docs that yes, he was having a heart attack. He'd called the ambulance within 20 minutes of the symptom's onset - and is even so conscientous that he took his own blood pressure: 202/122. Not good.... Dad's quickness in self-diagnosing was probably able to save his heart from further damage, and within 5 minutes of him seeing us - they whisked him off to have a stent put in.

By the time we gathered in the private cardiac waiting room, Lisa had come and gone (playing her part in watching the kids while we immediately went back), Stephie had settled in, and Travis was on his way to Mom and Dad's house to investigate for clues as to where he might be able to get a hold of Mom. John had been notified and was en-route back from Round-Up and Brayden had been dropped off to join us. The circumstances in tracking down Mom are miraculous in and of themselves - perhaps I'll blog more about the miracles we witnessed later. Before the nurse had come in to give a report on the status of the stent procedure, Mom was in our presence as well.

The procedure resulted in one stent opening up a large blockage in one of the main arteries. There is another area with blockage, but we are still awaiting the main doctor's decisions on whether or not that will be treated and when. It was such a praise for the nurse to say that a visitor could see him and be able to send Mom on her way to be with Dad again -

By the time Michele and I joined him, Dad had already returned to his "chatter-box" self. We talked about the sports he played in school, the status of the two houses he's building, and how great of a life he's had if it were to end today (Mom was not happy about that statement, she's not content with his life ending now.....). He also talked about how great of a writer he thinks the author of "THE SHACK" is and repeatedly requested that that book be brought from his home so he could continue reading it. I think it's safe to say, Dad was really in a place of looking at the big picture. (I can't imagine why.....).

Before we left, around 6:30, Dave Mertz, Travis, John, and all five of the kids had been in to visit. More deep conversation occured, and we gave kisses and left. Michele has decided to spend the night with the kids in order to hear what the doctor's determination is regarding further procedures. I think I'll keep my kids home for the first half of the day. We all need to sleep well tonite.

I don't know how to polish up the ending to this as I'm at such a raw place. Both Michele and I had times we both felt this weekend where we just wanted to cry when nothing really merited it. I joked that it would have only taken a hangnail for me to burst into tears this afternoon - not my dad having a heart attack. And, yet, the timing - for SO MANY reasons, is God-inspired, I guarantee it. There are no accidents - and I'm so thankful that for now, God has it in mind for Dad to stick around.


LiteraryGirl said...

Praying for you and your family!!!


Power Up Love said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oh, Steph and Michele - I'm so glad you could be there to support each other until the rest of your crew could arrive.

(Psalm 91:15-16) Praying for you all.

Growin' with it! said...

oh man stephanie. what a day. what miracles. and what a God we have! so thankful to read the end of this post and hear it has turned out well.

i hope you get that needed rest and tomorrow proves to be more blessings from the Lord in his hand on your dad's life! and your's as well! ;o)

Colie said...

WOW! I'll be praying for you and your family. Tell Michele I'm praying for her! Love you!