As most of you know, Chris had a heart attack recently. While we want to share this part of her “story” with you, right now we are remembering the more important part of her story: what a caring mother, wife, aunt, cousin, friend, and community volunteer she has been. We are so proud of her! She has touched so many of our lives in a special way.
Chris and Dennis were in Durango, and she had been feeling poorly for a few days – we thought it was asthma and altitude, but went to the ER on Monday morning, June 19. The ER doc diagnosed it as a heart attack, and the cardiologist determined that 3 of her arteries were significantly blocked. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and resulted in 2 stents, a heart balloon pump, and breathing tube. The presence of these devices requires that she be heavily sedated. As soon as she was stable enough (Wednesday), she was transferred by Flight for Life to Denver and the UCHealth Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. The medical team here is truly amazing.
After many tests and a conference of the full cardiology and surgery teams, we have determined that she has a path forward. She is still in critical condition and there are numerous challenges and risks, but her doctors believe that recovery is possible. All of her vital signs continue to improve. Though partially sedated and unable to talk because of the breathing tube, she recognizes us and responds well to everything we say – that alone gives us great hope. The challenges are significant. Her heart is weakened and may not be able to recover full function. She has a tear, or “pseudoaneurysm” that is quite rare, so it is hard to predict whether this will worsen or hold in its current state. It is in a location that makes surgical correction very risky, so the team has recommended against surgery at this time.
On the positive side, the doctors believe it is possible that she can come off the balloon pump and breathing tube, and that is our goal over the next several days. If so, the sedation can be decreased and she may be able to sit up and talk to us as she continues to recover. If her heart can continue to strengthen, the most favorable outcome is that she is able to leave the hospital in several weeks and return home. With appropriate rehab, she could resume many of her favorites activities and relationships. We are all fixed on this goal with every ounce of our beings.
We are with her in Denver, providing all of the support possible. So many of you have offered to help, and we are deeply appreciative of the outpouring of concern and love. Please feel free to share this information and link with other friends who know Chris.