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This journey began on Thursday Morning, September 15, 2016, my Dad (Joel) drove himself into the hospital in Deer River after feeling a shortness of breath. Shortly after checking into the hospital and it was determined that he was actually having a heart attack, he was air-lifted to St Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, MN by helicopter. Thursday afternoon they were able to stabilize Dad in preparation for emergency surgery on Friday morning, September 16, 2016 where he had what turned out to be triple-bypass surgery.
Dad was expected to be heavily sedated and on a ventilator after surgery for 24-48 hours. It wasn't until 12 days later on the morning of September 27 that the ICU doctors felt Dad had progressed far enough to remove him from the ventilator. At one point the doctor said that he was considering doing a CT scan to determine how much brain activity was present... if any. During the 12 days on the ventilator there were brief moments where Dad would briefly "wake-up" long enough where we could ask him simple yes/no questions to which he would seem to respond with blinking his eyes, a weak hand squeeze, or a slight nod/shake of his head.
Dad seemed to progress a bit quicker once he was extubated but continued to receive oxygen and feeding through his nose for another week or so. His voice was initially non-existent but slowly grew stronger. A day before his birthday he received his biggest birthday gift from the medical staff in ICU... and that was being discharged from 7th floor Surgical ICU on day 20 post-op surgery. He was moved down to Intermediate Care on 6th floor on the morning of October 5, 2016.
On October 6th, Dad celebrated his 80th birthday on his first full day out of ICU. Thanks to all of you that sent him cards and emails of birthday greetings and words of encouragement. We did not get through all of them on Dad's birthday as he would tire quickly... but they were all read to him over the course of a couple days.
After about a week in Intermediate Care, we learned on the morning of October 10th that Dad would be discharged from St. Mary's Medical Center on the 11th. October 11th, 26 days post-surgery, Dad was transported from Duluth MN to Northfield Care Center in Northfield MN by Medi-cab, about a 3-hour trip. He now is working on rehabilitation at the Northfield Care Center.
He is currently at... Joel and/or Nancy Stolte 634 Elm St. NE Lonsdale, MN 55046
You can send a card to him directly at the Northfield Care Center... We do not know how long he will be at the Northfield Care Center... so you can always send cards to my home address and we will get them to him where ever he is... Joel Stolte c/o Jonathan Stolte 6519 Clearwater Creek Drive Lino Lakes, MN 55038