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A Heart Stopping Week

Monday, September 10, 2012

Did you think I'd gone MIA?  Fallen off the face of the Earth?

Well... it kind of feels that way.

So much has been going on.  And there's so much I want to share!  Sweets started first grade at a new school where I am not handling her Diabetes care.  I started school and I'm super thrilled that I have a student with T1 in my class!  DSMA started a new venture called Parent's Talk co-hosted by Lorraine Sisto and Bennet Dunlap!  I'm excited to be their first guest -- so please tune in on September 24!

Then Labor Weekend came!  And I was looking forward to getting caught up!

Sweets was in my cousin's wedding on Saturday.  Friday night we went to the rehearsal and she practiced her flower girl duties!  Saturday was the big day!  Sweets did great!  In fact, she was so prepared that she shooed me out of the bridal room telling me to go sit down because she could handle it!  And she did!  We were so prepared... I had hidden open Smarties in the bottom of her flower girl basket just in case she felt low while she was up in the front of the church.  The things we do....

We all had a great night!  The wedding was beautiful!  Sweets had a blast dancing at the reception with the other flower girl.  In fact, she told me they were going to go dance over by the "judges table" (the head table/bridal party table)!

And that was where our great night ended.

J woke me up about 1:30 am telling me that he did not feel well.  He said that he felt like there was elephant sitting on his chest, his arms were tingling and he was sweating so much he looked like he had just run a marathon.

"I think you better call 911" he said.
"Seriously?" I asked.

Not that I didn't believe him...  but I guess I didn't believe him.  In my defense, he has been known to lay in the same position after cutting his finger in the kitchen.  So, you know....

I told him to take some deep breaths and see if it helped.  I ran around looking for aspirin - which we did not have.  Finally, he said, "You better call NOW."

So I did.

And the paramedics came and whisked him away.

And I was left at home with Sweets.  Who was still asleep.

I called my parents.  They came over to watch Sweets so I could go to the hospital.  I packed a bag.  I really thought he would be needing clothes to come home in in a few hours.

Not quite.

The emergency room was empty.  It was the same hospital where Sweets was born.  They have a large maternity wing.  But the rest of the place if pretty empty - especially on a holiday weekend.  I picked up the phone and a nurse arrived.  She asked me lots of questions and took my insurance card.  She was calm and collected and appeared to be in no hurry.

Then she said, "Well, he IS having a heart attack."

Say what?!?

They took me back to the triage room where they were prepping him for surgery.  I was there about a minute before the doctor arrived and said something to me about a cath lab and something else....  I signed something.  And they were off.


I started making phone calls - waking everyone out their slumber.  Everyone said the same thing, "WHAT?!?"  No one could believe it.  J is 40.  He's thin.  He walks 3 miles a day and plays tennis and just that morning he was doing Wii dance with Sweets.  His cholesterol had been high so for past 9 months or so he'd been working really hard to get it down - cutting back on red meat and doing exactly what he should do.

This is one of those times you realize how Diabetes effects everything.  I needed my parents.  I needed someone with me in that ER waiting room.  But who would take care of Sweets?  Especially at night?  Who but another D Mama?  I am blessed that Misty lives about 5 minutes from my house.  So I called her at 2 am and between sobs asked her to go take care of my baby so my parents could come be with me.  And she did.  Is she not awesome?!?

J was out of surgery about 40 minutes or so later.  It all happened so fast I don't really know.  The doctor came out and told me that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked.  They inserted stents and fixed it.  But we have to do it again in a few weeks because he has another artery that is 80% blocked.  The doctor was stunned.  He had never had a heart attack patient his age who wasn't a smoker, who was thin, and whose cholesterol was normal.  Just lucky I guess...

J spent the next few days in ICU.  Again - it's tough to have a child with T1 and a husband in ICU.  J wanted me to stay with him as much as I could - and I wanted to stay with him!  But I also had a 6 year old.  A 6 year old who had to get her pod changed because it was going to expire.  A 6 year old who had to stay with someone who was able to count her carbs and give her insulin.  A 6 year old who had to get her Dex changed.  Because diabetes does not give a crap that her Daddy is in the hospital.  D still demands attention.

J is home now and doing remarkably well.  It was less than 2 hours from the 911 call to me standing in the operating room after they were done working on him.  Because we acted so fast, there was no damage done to his heart.  Thank God.  He says he feels good.  Of course that means he's trying to do too much and I have to keep reminding him that his MAJOR artery is still 80% blocked so would he PLEASE take it easy for a few weeks?!?

As for Sweets, she was the trooper that she always is.

She woke up once while Misty was at our house.  Misty said she asked, "Mom?"  Misty told her that i had taken Daddy to the doctor so she was there to watch her.  Sweets said, "Oh, ok.  How are Ally and Jessi?  Do they like school?"  That's my sweet girl!

She went to see J in the hospital.  It didn't phase her.  She's been there enough on her own.  And she saw my Dad last summer when he had his aortic valve replaced.  So it was no big deal to her.  She missed him - but she was also thrilled to hang out with Mimi and Gaga --- and especially her BFF Alex!  If she gets to see Alex, all is right in her world.  In fact, when I told her she was spending the morning with Mimi and Gaga and the afternoon with Alex she said, "This is the best day EVER!  Well, except that Daddy is in the hospital!"

The night before he came home she and I had a very funny conversation.  She asked me what a heart looked like - if it really looked the drawing.  I told her no and showed her the illustration they gave me in the hospital.  She said, "Wow. I learned something new."  Then she told me that she was going to help out taking care of Daddy when he got home.  She said, "He should not watch baseball anymore when he comes home.  He gets all ruffled up.  I think he should watch My Little Pony instead.  And not because that's MY show.  He really does yell at the tv a lot when baseball is on."  Then we were discussing how arteries get clogged and how that relates to healthy food.  I told her we were going to really watch and not eat junk - like burgers or fries or chicken fingers.  She said, "WHAT?!?  Burgers are bad for you?!?  WHY do you let me eat that then?!?  I just don't understand this....." She's a riot.

So.... here we are.  J is recovering.  Sweets is doing well in first grade (more on that later).  And I'm desperately trying to keep my head above water!  We have so overwhelmed with the love our friends and family has shown us over the past week.  Dinners made.  Offers of grass mowing, laundry, grocery shopping, babysitting...  We are so thankful!  I'm not someone who really likes to accept help - but this time I have HAD to and it has been wonderful!

Mostly, we are feeling very blessed that Daddy is here, recovering well, and has a ticker that should still last him another 50 or so years!



  1. I LOVE that you can laugh even about all this. OMG the line about "when he cuts his finger" SO TRUE! I think I'd react the same way to my husband. And Sweets and the yelling at Baseball. Thankful I "know" you. Healing for your husband and an easier week for you is most definitely in order.

  2. WHEW!!!! That weekend was CRAY CRAY with an extra CRAY!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm SO GLAD J is home and doing well. I will keep him in my prayers as he prepares for the next phase of getting his heart back on track.

    So thankful that you got help when you did...and that he was able to access the best intervention possible right away.

    God bless Misty!!!!! And all of you too!!!

  3. Oh wow... Hallie! That sounds so scary! I am so glad J is okay and there was no damage done. How wonderful that Misty could be there for you.

    And I love Sweets responses about the junk food... Too cute.

  4. Oh the comment about burgers is just too much. Love it. And love that all is well. *hugs*

  5. I've been thinking of you all Hallie! I'm so glad to heard how quickly J got the help he needed, blessed we are for good medical care! I hope you can get that hubby of yours to relax, I betcha Sweets will be great on duty :) she is so funny that cutie of yours. Keeping the prayers and well wishes coming, always!

  6. So glad all is well!

    How is it that the part I start to tear up is when you called Misty!?!? Just knowing you had her to watch Sweets so your parents could be with you, ugh! That's the best! Don't know what I'd do in a situation like that...makes my heart happy (and apparently my eyes cry!) that you have each other!!

  7. So glad he is doing well scary! How wonderful to have Misty so close by. Love Sweets comment about junk food!

  8. Thanks for sharing this story and I'm relieved of the humour you are still using. Here's for a healthy recovery!

  9. Hallie, I am SO glad to read this post and to see that you had the time to write it - I hope that is an indication that things are a little calmer than the preceding week! I hope J continues to improve and seriously - why ARE you feeding her hamburgers if they're no good for her! She is completely a riot! (thanks for the D Rents shout out too).

  10. Thinking of you all during this road to recovery.

  11. We are so happy that J is doing so well and will continue to keep him in our prayers until the next procedure is complete. And let me just say that I was freaking out when Sweets woke up and asked for you...I just KNEW that a 6 yr old, being awakened froma dead sleep to a face other than mom or dad would be frightened. Not Sweets! She's amazing!

  12. I sincerely hope everything is well and good to your family. It must have been a difficult week.. I will include your family in my prayers for faster recovery. :) Godbless!

  13. Always thinking of you guys. Praying J is doing well. I wish I lived closer so I could help you out. You SO need some down time. (((HUGS)))

  14. Praying you are all doing well.

  15. Wendy was keeping me updated by text while all this was happening.

    So thankful another D-mama lived nearby so you could be where you needed to be.

    That Sweets is going to keep you on your toes - good luck getting away with anything!

  16. So scary... But please don't worry.
    All things will be alright.
    God will be with you.
    Thanks for sharing.


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