Some of you may be wondering where I have been. You're never going to believe this story.
I had to attend a job related conference in Rendondo Beach, Californian April 16th and 17th. As many of you know, I don't fly. It freaks me out. For the first year of my employment with my current company they accommodated my fear of flying. That ended last fall when they made me go to San Antonio. And now recently I had to fly into LAX.
The trip home was extremely stressful. We had to leave the conference during the afternoon break (2:45pm) in order to catch our flight to Denver where we would change planes. As we disembarked our first flight we heard them announce the final boarding call for our connecting flight. We were at gate 21 and the departing flight was at Gate 42 so with luggage in hand we hoofed it to catch the next plane and fly into Kansas City. We landed a little after 11 pm, looked for our vehicle in a dark deserted parking lot and finally got on the road about midnight where we would then begin our two + hour drive home in a rain and thunderstorm to C0lumbia. Stopping briefly to grab something to eat in Blue Springs as we had not eaten since lunch earlier that day. It was well after 3am when we arrived in Columbia and I still had a 45 minute drive home to Moberly. I got into bed at 4:15am and had settled in just in time for our 5.2 earthquake at 4:35am.
This brings me up to 4:35 Friday morning. I didn't go back into work that Friday although I had been told that I was expected but could wait until noon since I had "a late night".
Now here's where it gets interesting....
Saturday (April 19th) evening about 6pm I was sitting here at my desk and working at my computer when all of a sudden it felt like someone had sat a cinder block on my chest. No pain, no sweating, no racing heartbeat - just as this strange sensation of weight. I went outside and told Dana that I thought I needed to go to the hospital...
We got to the emergency room and although it was Saturday night there wasn't anyone in the waiting room. I walked right in, went through the triage where they add insult to injury by weighing you , and was put in a gown and sat on a bed. Dana sat down in the chair along the wall. The doctor came in and introduced himself to me and asked me to sit forward so he listen to my heart and lungs. When I did I said, "wow - I'm having a really bad dizzy spell." And that was it!
The next thing I was aware of was waking up in Columbia Missouri, tied to a bed on a ventilator. I could hear people around me talking and saying I was waking up and Dana came to my side and asked me if I knew where I was? I shook my head no and he proceeded to tell me that I had suffered massive heart failure.
I don't remember anything significant here's what I have been told. Although the signs started at home, it was when I sat up and complained of a dizzy spell my heart had stopped. They doctor told me that I has "dead" for over thirty minutes. They did constant CPR , and I have the broken ribs to prove it, shocked me with the paddles three times and still couldn't bring me back. Dana had left the room to give them all space to work in , he tells me there were over a dozen people in that room trying to keep me alive. The doctor gave up and sent the nurse to bring Dana in to say goodbye and they tell me that although it defies reason, the minutes he stepped into the room and I heard his voice a nurse yelled out, "WE'VE GOT A PULSE!"
After being stabilized I was air - lifted to Boone Hospital Center in Columbia where by the time Dana and twenty or so other friends and family arrived I was undergoing surgery to have a stent inserted to repair an artery that was 85% blocked.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I'm doing well, moving slow, lots of pain from the CPR but it beats the alternative. The doctor says I can't do anything for several weeks and then I can begin Cardio - Rehab. Back to work way down the road, way down. Doctor "Cutie Patootie" (he really is) says it will be six months to a year before I'm completely done with my recovery.
Now to answer the $64K question. No, I didn't see a light. And thanks to God my heart stopped in the hospital so I never had a drop in circulation consequently there is no brain damage (that was the phrase that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up). And no, I didn't see Andrew - its a good thing, I would have stayed.
I told someone recently that my heart quit beating 18 months ago, it just had to have a heart attack and die for anyone to notice. For the last 18 months I have repeatedly said I wanted to go and be with Andrew, but when my time came....I didn't go.....
I will spend the rest of my life figuring out why. I know this is that life changing moment that everyone talks about, or one of many in my case. But you know as well as I do that I have some work to do now.
Recovery work, spiritual work and creative work. My clock stopped ticking and someone hit the snooze button and got me some more time. But its no time to sleep - there's work to be done.