A Day Unlike Any Other
Sometimes I like to look back at events that shape my life and there have been many.
One in particular was Friday August 28, 1998 exactly one year after my younger brother John succumbed to melanoma cancer at the age of 44. John had warned me earlier in 1997 to get a colonoscopy. I got my test and assured him I was fine.
I had one mission that fateful Friday morning and that was take the dog to the groomer near our house in Cimarron Hills and my wife would pick her up later. I returned home, grabbed a cup of coffee and went down to my home office and jumped on my computer. I was new to computers only had mine for a little over a year and I was teaching myself to build webpages.
I was taking college classes for computer programming at night and working at a teleconferencing company. I was scheduled to start work at 9:00 am and would be leaving for work soon. My wife was working in her home beauty salon. Everything was pretty normal. I’ll call it the calm before the storm.
Suddenly I felt a pain in my chest. It felt like someone had put a brick on my chest and was pressing down really hard. It was like nothing I had felt before. My first thought was to shut down my computer correctly, and I did.
I then staggered into the home salon and the colorless look on my face put everyone in panic mode. I told my wife I didn’t feel well and her customer said get him to the hospital and she’d lock up.
We lived almost 2 miles from the main gate at Peterson AFB and my wife drove as if my life depended on it. We stopped at the gate long enough to tell the gate guard we were headed to the hospital. He waved us through and as we pulled up to the ER entrance I remember reading the huge sign that said NO EMERGENCY ROOM, the hospital had been downgraded to a clinic.
We parked and headed to the door, aided by a guy on crutches going that way too.
As we entered the building the guy yelled something about a guy having a heart attack. Suddenly it seemed like we had every doctor, nurse and hospital staff member being jammed into the former ER. They were asking me how I felt, feeding me nitro and all I could say when I saw my wife’s primary doctor – check on her, she’s the one with high blood pressure.
What really got my attention was when the doctor picked up the phone and called 911.
I thought why is the hospital calling 911 and what are they going to do? It turned out they sent a civilian ambulance to pick me up and take me to one of the local hospitals where the surgeon was standing by for surgery.
All the way to the hospital the paramedic continued to feed me nitro. It still did nothing for me.
My wife stayed by my side all the way into the hospital where our pastor was waiting. I left them as the elevator headed up to the surgery floor. Once upstairs they prepped me for surgery and soon we were in that tiny surgical room. They hooked the wires and tubes and I was able to watch on the monitor as the angioplasty probe was inserted up the artery and then suddenly the pain stopped. I remember saying to the doctor that I was ready to go home now. She didn’t think so and they soon moved me into a recovery room, then into the ICU for overnight observation.
When I came to my normal senses I found that I was extremely hungry. I asked a nurse for something to eat and she came back with an apple. I like apples and enjoyed chomping on it and soon the apple was all gone……..almost. I felt a rumbling in my stomach and soon I sort of exploded sending applesauce all over my partitioned off area. I don’t think the nurse was very happy.
Later that night I felt kind of warm and sticky and pressed the call button. The nurse didn’t seem too happy when she came in. I asked if I was supposed to be warm and sticky and when she pulled the blanket away and yelled for backup as she applied pressure to stop my arterial bleeding.
The next day I was moved into a private room in the ICU ward. That was when they let family in to visit and my parents were there too. They had driven from Boise, Idaho.
My daughters had brought the grandkids and one wanted to know if they took my heart out.
My youngest daughter said I didn’t have to worry about work because she had called and told them I quit (Just kidding she said).
I was released from the hospital on Sunday and turned 49 on Monday. – I am the Real Truckmaster!