Friday, March 4, 2016

A Heart Attack Changes Things

It's been over a year since I've blogged here, and just shy of a year since Tim had his heart attack.

If you recall, we had logged the back of our property in order to begin raising our own grass fed beef.  By March we had a lush pasture growing and 2 cow/calf pairs waiting to come to their new home.  The day we made the deal on the cattle Tim decided we had to have some hay to feed in addition to the fresh grass.  So he found a farmer selling hay and took off with the car trailer hitched to his truck.

I didn't go with him because I was busy packing for my trip to California in the wee hours of the morning.

When he got home, after loading a ton of hay on the trailer, he began to unload it.  I brought my camera outside to snap some pictures because the chickens were jumping up on the bales to investigate.

Tim kept complaining of heartburn and I went inside several times to get him different medications to help.  Nothing seemed to be working, and after 18 bales he sat down on the side of the trailer and said the heartburn was killing him.  That's when I saw the beads of sweat on his forehead and noticed he just didn't look right .  There was no color in his face at all and his forehead was cold to the touch. I realized this was not heartburn and I needed to get help.

We live almost on top of the fire station so I just loaded him in my car and took off.  I started praying. It was Sunday, and we were blessed that there happened to be two of the best Paramedics in house at that moment, although they had not both been scheduled.

After getting him hooked up to the monitors and giving him needed meds, they determined that he would not make it to the hospital via ambulance.  He didn't have enough time left.  I prayed harder.

They called for transport and soon the Life Flight helicopter landed in the field across the street.  He was quickly loaded and lifted off.  I kept praying.

My neighbors took me to the hospital and it took us an hour to get there because of traffic and distance.  We have a closer hospital, but the best cardiac care was a good distance away.  I was shivering and in shock.  I prayed.

In the ER Tim had an amnesia event, due to shock and stress most likely, and could not remember anything or anyone except me.  It was very frightening because the doctors thought he may have had a stroke too.  They took him away again.  This time for a brain scan.  He was scared.  I prayed.

By the time he was wheeled back to the ER, his memory was fine.  The episode had passed and there was no sign of a stroke.  I praised and prayed.

Once they got him stable he was doing well enough that they decided to wait until the next morning to go into his arteries and look for blockages.  I prayed.

Tim didn't want me to stay at the hospital all night because of the dogs.  So my neighbors, who were still there with me, took me home.  When we got there we saw that our other neighbor had come over and unloaded and stacked all of the hay and he had put the trailer and truck away and hid the keys for us.  Again  I praised and prayed. 

The next morning while Tim was in the Cardio cath lab having the angiogram I waited and I prayed.

 During all this stress I repeatedly had someone - EMT or Chaplain, or friend - gently touch my arm or shoulder.  The hands that kept me sane. The calming touch of a caring persons hand can mean the difference between holding it all together and losing it completely.  The human touch of compassion from mostly strangers was extraordinary.  I prayed for each and every one of those hands and thanked God for them.

The test took so long I worried that God might get sick of my voice.  Because I prayed and prayed and prayed some more.  If you have ever been sitting in that seat you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The doctors found that Tim had four blockages.  All at close to 98%.  He barely avoided open heart surgery because the worst blockage wouldn't open for the stent placement.  He ended up having another heart attack on the table during the procedure, but once the stent was placed his heart calmed down.

He ended up with four stents and a new lease on life.  He went into that hospital a pack a day smoker, and came out a non-smoker.  He hasn't changed all of his bad habits, like junk food, but he never smoked again.  I still praise God for that!

Needless to say, that trip to California didn't happen until 30 days later. Fortunately I had purchased the insurance when I bought my ticket, so the purchase price was refunded to me.

Our story is not over yet.  We did get those cows, he did build a wonderful barn, there have been tons and tons of hay since then, and we have moved to a new website.  I don't post often because I am too dang busy, but if you would like to visit us we would be honored.  You can find us at


Dyan (aka Red Woman)