October 22, 2016 began as the worst day of my life. My dad suffered a major heart attack. On this day, around 1:30 in the morning, and again early in the morning I called 911 that morning while me and the kids were in the hotel. As soon as the EMS came they took him away so fast, it seemed like they came 8 minutes after I called. I sat up in my bed in shock and disbelief. My heart hurt. My kids were scared. This can’t be real, I thought. Not my dad. Not my mentor, my friend. We love him too much. Everyone loves him. Everywhere we go someone will come up to my dad and thank him for being one the best of friends. He is just too important to too many people. I kept thinking, Not my dad!
My dad and I have always been close. His experience with a heart attack had my head spinning. We were out of the state and I knew I needed to be strong for my dad, the boys and my sister. So I texted my sister Rachael, "can you call me?" I knew she was working and I felt a sense of horror and guilt to have to wait for her call: To let her know that our dad had just had a heart attack. When they wheeled my dad out on the bed, my heart was simultaneously filled with joy and fear. Joy that my dad was saved. Fear that my dad was a patient, a heart attack patient. Was he going to be okay? Was there still a chance he might die from this? I tried to stay strong, but the tears trickled down my cheeks. I didnt want my dad to worry about us, I couldnt wait to see him with a smile on his face. I am incredibly close with my family, and my dad knew that I would be a wreck. I kissed his cheek and squeezed his hand before we followed the rolling bed to the Intensive Care Unit.
The rest of the week was a blur. So many emotions and trying to keep everyone updated while we were in Michigan. Alone with the kids and full time school work was drowning me. We all love him and are so grateful for all of the prayers, love and support ♡
His surgery day was a rollercoaster, they transferred hospitals and We later learned the severity of his condition when we found out that the surgeon bumped his operation so he could take someone in for an emergency heart transplant.
Now in a situation like this, when someone gives you a time frame, you can’t help but watch the clock. We knew surgery started at 8 a.m. (michigan time) which means he should be done by noon or 2 p.m. Noon came and noon passed, then 2 came and 2 passed. This is when the worry set in. To be honest I was still trying to process all that had happened. The basic knowledge that I received is that during an open heart surgery they put the heart on a pump which pumps the blood through the heart while the heart is stopped so they can operate on it. Once the operation is complete they will take the heart off the pump and watch it for a few moments until they are comfortable to sew the body back together. So scary! His heart would be stopped I couldn't get it out of my mind.
Once the surgeon left we were able to go into the ICU for a brief moment to see him. For as long as I live I don’t think I’ll ever forget this scene. He was hooked up to more machines than I could count, leaving his body more wired than a Christmas tree. Tubes coming out of his neck, throat, arms, and several monitors across his chest. Even typing this now I am cringing at the memory of it. No one should ever have to see their loved one in that kind of condition. It’s heartbreaking and emotionally draining. I’m usually the strong one in the family who can hold it all together but at a sight like this I could hardly do that. He was so strong! He is amazing!
He was exhausted and still a little drugged up from the anesthesia but was able to talk and make sense. His voice was distorted and raspy but we could tell he was back to his normal self once he started cracking jokes.
My dad was lucky enough to be moved to a step-down unit a few days later, and discharged from the hospital Wednesday November 2, 2016 in The afternoon.