Archive for February, 2013

Heart attack

I was looking over my old post I wrote while in the hospital and I never really came out and said it. What you ask? Well, that on Feb 8 around 8:30am I had a heart attack!

My cardiologist wouldn’t say the word until just before my second procedure. That was when I finally asked him, “what happened to me? Did I have a heart attack or not? Or was it something else?” He finally said it was a “small” heart attack with very little damage to my heart. Which by the way is very good news, but not what anyone wants to hear. He could have told me it was stress, a panic attack, even hyperventilating, but NO it was a heart attack.

Not sure what you think when you hear those scary words, but I feel weak. I don’t know what to say. I often think about how young I am and how in the world can this happen to me. Isn’t this something that happens only to old people? I also get scared that it could happen again.

But after all the over thinking and anxious thoughts in my head I remember the most important thing, God is in control of my life. He has allowed yet another trial into my life. And he only knows why, so I need to trust him. Trust him like I did when I was a teenager battling cancer, when I was a young adult trying to have children and now with heart issues. I cling to my life verses once more,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

And I hope that when you come to a trial or an uncertainty in your life, instead of worry about it or getting angry, why not trust God that he has allowed this trial into your life for your good. I know if it wasn’t for the cancer in my life I wouldn’t be serving him today. So, like me, trust him with all your heart because he is the only one who is trustworthy.

February 21, 2013 at 2:28 PM 7 comments

20,000 hits = 20,000 thank you’s

20000-thank-yousWow, we did it! Because of each of you visiting my blog so often we made it to a pretty big milestone in less that 3 years. So not only is this a post to say “we did it” but also to say “thank you!”

20,000 hits equals 20,000 thank you’s.

February 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM 2 comments

Pokes

If you know me, you know I hate needles. Let’s put it another way. I faint at the idea of a needle and at the sight of one. Well, at least I used to.

Going back to my chest pains story you know I had a number of needles this past few days. 24 to be exact! And every time I need to lay down and look away so I wouldn’t faint. But I never did. Even in the most painful times, I just laid down and grit my teeth and let the nurses poke me.

If you get queasy at the thought of needles then don’t read any further…

Today before I left for home the nurse was told to poke me one last time, which was my 24th poke. So she proceeded to look for a vein and of course, couldn’t find one. Eventually she tried to poke me, but no blood, it just hurt. Then she turned my hand over did the inside of my wrist. That hurt! A lot! And it took forever! But I didn’t faint!

I am so glad that is all over now!!!

February 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM 2 comments

Chest pains updated

In my last post I told you I was waiting for my procedure. In this post I thought I would update you on all that has happened.

Like everything I experience in life, my procedure didn’t go as planned. I did get transported to the other hospital that specializes in angiograms / angioplastys on Mon, Feb 11 in the morning, which went as planned. Everything else didn’t.

After arriving at the hospital for my angiogram they started to prep me for the procedure. I won’t go into detail but it was very intrusive to say the least. There was shaving, putting stickers all over my body (again), and asking very personal questions. So much fun (read with sarcasm).

Once they had me all prepped De-Ann arrived and we waited. I have to admit I was very anxious because I knew I was going to be wide awake during this procedure. And second, it was going to be on my heart so that made me nervous as well. But eventually they called my name and I went from one waiting room to another, then finally into the operating room. It was a very large room that was freezing. They put me on a very narrow table and took off the one thing that was keeping me warm and dignified: my gown. Eventually they put lots of warm blankets on me so I wouldn’t freeze to death during the procedure. How considerate.

During the angiogram they discovered I had two arteries that were heavily blocked. One was 90% and the other 80%. But thankfully the third one was fine, because I would be looking at open heart surgery–the doctor told me later on. Phew! The surgeon managed to stint the first artery which had 90% plaque build up but as he did so some of the plaque fell into my heart and caused some complications. So the surgeon decided to leave the artery with 80% blockage for another day.

If you want to know more about the angiogram and angioplasty procedures, Google it. It should give you a good idea of what I went through.

After the procedure, all I remember leaving the operating room freezing to death. I felt like my arm with the IV in it was laying on ice. They put me in my “stall” and loaded all kinds of blankets on top of me. I looked like a mummy. [blame De-Ann for not having a picture to show you. She wouldn’t take a picture for me. I think she thinks I am nuts]. Eventually I warmed up and fell asleep. I slept on my back for a few hours. Then more poking, more stickers and other unpleasant things I don’t want to mention. Let’s just say I was fully exposed.

After my recover from the procedure the surgeon came and told me what happened and that he wanted to give my heart a break before he put a stint in the second artery. It would probably be on Wednesday or Thursday. Man, I was not looking forward to that. The next day I was transported back to the first hospital I came from and I stayed there all day and into the night.

While at the first hospital I had some great visit with people who are so special to me. My brother and his wife came all the way from Ottawa. One of my co-workers dropped off a really nice care package with all of my favourite things in it from all my co-workers. They really know and love me. By the time night came I was exhausted and went to bed early. I almost forgot I was visited by my cardiologist and he told me I will be transported tomorrow morning to have my second procedure. I wasn’t looking forward to that. But I was so thankful for my brother’s prayer and one of my volunteers’ prayer as they prayed for me to have peace as I went into my second procedure. They both knew I was very anxious because of all I went through with the first procedure.

The next morning, Wed, Feb 13, came with me being poked three times. It was bad enough they wanted to take blood, but to miss my vein two times before. Uggh. Still I didn’t faint. Not sure why, but I just grit my teeth and let her poke me. [Am I becoming immune to this poking?] Then the transport guys came and brought me back to the other hospital. [Here’s a question you are all probably asking: why didn’t I just stay at the other hospital since I was going to be doing the second procedure in a few days? If you find out the answer, please tell me. No one knew the answer to that one].

I arrived at the other hospital at 6:45am and my procedure was at 9:30am. Of course, like everything else, it was delayed and I finally went in at 11:30am. This time they got me to walk to the table and put myself on it. Again I was exposed for all the world to see…okay, only the five people in the operating room. Unfortunately since my first procedure was only two days ago they had to enter my body on the other side of my body so now I have two incisions to heal. During the second procedure the surgeon was not able to use a regular mess stint, he had to use a full metal stint because the way the artery was shaped and where the plaque was built up. But the procedure went well and there were no complications. However it was almost twice as long and many times during it I became very cold or in a great deal of pain.

I came out and was put into my new “stall” [a bit roomier than the last one] where they put more blankets all over me and I slept for hours. I finally woke up and I got to see my beautiful bride sitting there beside me.

So thankful for my wife, De-Ann for being there every step of the way with me. And I know now that I am home she has an even bigger role to fill. My recovery is going to be long and I can’t do much for the first two weeks, including things I usually do like vacuuming, shovelling, laundry, collecting the garbage, etc. I am going to owe her big-time once I am completely recovered and able to do all of my regular duties.

As you probably have figured out by now, I am homeFINALLY! Now it is time for me to recover. The cardiologist has told me 4-6 weeks of recovery. I can’t even drive for a few weeks. Homebound I guess for now.

Thank you to each of you for your prayers, visits, cards, messages, gifts and love. They mean so much. I really do feel cared for.

February 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM 19 comments

Chest pains

I had a very interesting weekend, to say the least. Let me start at the beginning.

On Friday, Feb 8, as you all know we had the beginning of a huge snow storm that lasted all Friday and into the night. That morning I got up and went outside to shovel snow and get the vehicles cleared off. I started to clear the snow from behind the car De-Ann drives and then she came outside and had to leave. After she left I continued to clear away all the snow on that side of our driveway. Then I did the walkway and stairs. Went inside to get the kids dressed and ready to go to daycare.

We looked outside only 20 minutes later and you couldn’t even tell I had shovelled the driveway. That’s how much snow had fallen. Crazy!

After the kids were all dressed in their winter gear we went outside to a very warm van. I continued to clear away the snow from the walkway and the stairs so the kids wouldn’t slip. Then we all quickly got in the van and took off for daycare.

On our trip to daycare, the wipers started to accumulate ice on them. About 5 minutes into our drive I stopped and knocked off the ice from the wipers. This was my first episode of chest pains. It was sharp but only lasted for a thirty seconds. I had skipped breakfast so I thought to myself, “this is what it feels like to not have breakfast.” I thought to myself “note to self, never skip breakfast again. This feels awful.” I jumped back in the van and continued on our way. Further down the road the the ice started to build up again, so at the next stop light I go out and knocked the ice of the wipers again. This time the pain hit me so hard I started to feel like I couldn’t breath. Again it only lasted thirty seconds or so and I was off again.

Meanwhile the kids both had brought some card games with them for “show and share” at their daycare, and both of them had opened the packaging and had the cards all over the van. Faith was telling on Shawn and Shawn started to get upset. It was chaos. But I continued to travel to the daycare.

When I arrived at the daycare, I got out of the van and opened the door on Shawn’s side and saw he had let all his cards but four fall all over the floor of the van. By this time the pain in my chest was becoming unbearable but I pressed through it to help Shawn clean up the cards and pick him out of the van–even though he didn’t want my help. Then I told him to go to the sidewalk and wait for me. He didn’t want to, but finally he listened. Then I went over to the other side of the van to get Faith out and of course she had let all her cards out of the packaging and they were half on her lap in her chair and on the floor. I really wanted to sit down but I knew I needed to get her out of the van and into her class. I rested by holding onto her carseat with both hands and leaning my head on it. She proceeded to pat my head. Eventually I got up enough strength to help her collect all her cards and lift her out of the van and I got them both to walk to the front door of the daycare. Punched in the code and walked in the front door. The pain was more than I could handle by this time and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath so I sat on the chair right by the door. I told Faith to go get undressed herself and I would be there soon. I was breathing very quickly and erratically and the pain in the chest was getting worse. The manager of the daycare saw I was in stress and asked if she could call an ambulance. I told her no, that I just needed to catch my breath. [Boy was I wrong!]

By this time Faith was all dressed and came back to where I was sitting to say good-bye. She gave my leg a hug. Shawn the whole time was standing right beside me holding onto my leg. The manager knew I needed help even though I didn’t want it and called 911. By this time other teachers from different classrooms showed up to help and took Shawn to his classroom. He didn’t want to go, but I was thankful they took both kids to their classrooms.

The pain was impossible and I could barely sit anymore and I finally asked the manager of the daycare if I could lay on the floor in her office. Of course she allowed me to.

One thing I don’t want to forget to mention, one of the mothers asked me which van was mine and went out and turned off the van and brought me the keys and my cell phone. That is so amazing because if I had not had my cell I wouldn’t have been able to text and call the people I did to inform them about what was going to happen next…

The next thing I saw was a fireman starring me in the face asking me all kinds of questions. Then the paramedics showed up and next thing I knew I was taking my first ride in an ambulance [I can mark that off my bucket list]. They took me to the nearest hospital as I was connected to an ECG machine and oxygen mask. My paramedics were amazing, Kevin was the guy who worked with me as Audra drove. When we arrived at the hospital I wasn’t in any pain anymore but they wanted to make sure I was admitted into the ER. I laid on that stretcher for a bit more than an hour. Of course I took the time to get to know my paramedics. They are two amazing people, Kevin is a full time fireman and does the paramedics job on his days off and obviously a work-aholic. Audra has been a paramedic for 24 years and still loves doing it.

I finally was admitted to the ER and they put me in a bed where I had my first of 12 needles that weekend [I like to call them pokes]. By this time De-Ann had arrived from downtown. Unfortunately when she got the call I was going to the hospital she was just getting off the train. And the next train or bus was going to be at least 30 minutes. So she took a taxi which was the fastest way to get to me and the most expensive.

The two of us waited for the results of my first test or blood work. We met with the ER doctor and he told us that usually the first test will show very little and we would be repeating blood work again in six hours! [Yes, you heard that right. Six hours!] But he did say that with the story I described and the results from the first test, the second test would not show anything and we would be free to go home. We did the second test six hours later as he suggested. Then an hour later he told us the news. Not what we expected at all, and from his reaction, not what he expected either.

The results where that I had enzymes in my blood quite a bit above the level I should which usually means something is serious going on within my heart that needed to be looked at. He told us this news and then said “I am sorry but you are not going anywhere.” I was floored, I was thinking we were both going to go home and relax until we needed to pick up the kids. [Again, I was wrong]. Next thing you know I am being admitted to the hospital, not for a day but for four.

I almost forgot, the nurses in the ER were amazing but the poked me another four times before I went upstairs to my room. I waited for a bed for another four hours. While I was waiting I had both of the paramedics come and visit me before I was shipped upstairs. Great to see them both again and get a chance to introduce them to De-Ann.

The story from here gets interesting. I find out that I am going to do some more tests and meet with a cardiologist. I think by this time I am feeling like I am in the Twilight Zone. The whole idea of being in the hospital for my heart was surreal. I have no other way to describe it.

After a restless night sleep I am greeted by a nurse who wants to take my blood again. Then a few hours later I finally have the conversation with the cardiologist. Nice enough guy but not good news. He told me that they were going to schedule an angiogram for me on Monday and until then they are going to monitor me and continue to do blood tests. Uggh. As I am writing this I have had 12 pokes and I feel and look like a pin cushion. Even my daughter, Faith, was pointing at all my marks where they poked me and said “Daddy are those boo-boos?”

I saw the cardiologist again this morning (Sunday) and he had good news and bad news. Good news was that he did one of the many blood tests on me to see if I had a blood clot in my lungs. The test came back proving I didn’t [yeah]. The bad news was that means my issue was either a heart attack or a blockage in one of the arteries of my heart. He was leaning toward the blockage. But again this was an educated guess. The truth will be found when he does my angiogram. So I wait.

Here I am the night before my angiogram and sit here sharing with all of you my adventure so far. Please pray with me as I go into this procedure and try to be at peace.

One last thing, I was so blessed by so many amazing people during this ordeal, all the medical professionals (Patrice, Ashley, Blayne, Sophie, Patricia, Jan, Sheryl, Crista), my neighbour (Ryan) as he cleared our driveway with the help of one of my friends (Glen) from our small group who drove all the way from Brampton. Another neighbour (Michelle) who drove with De-Ann to go get the van from the daycare. Still more of our neighbours (Paul, John, Ryan) who helped De-Ann get through the snow to park the van. One of our special friends (Denita) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me in the hospital and ran around getting the van, my stuff, etc. Another one of our amazing friends (Glen & Nadine) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me today (Sunday). And of course all the staff (Deric, Max, DJ, Aaron, Donnette, Denita, Diane) at the church I work with, they have been so supportive and loving and shown me true care and love. And so great to have them all visit me this weekend. Not to mention all the amazing people at my church who called, emailed or texted me during this whole adventure. And continue to do so. And last but certainly not least my family, my Dad, sisters Joy and Linette and my brother Paul and Phil. And of course my own family, my two kids Faith and Shawn and my best friend in the world, love of my life and my Sweetie: De-Ann. I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife!

February 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM 21 comments

Dead balloon

Faith and Shawn were given some balloons this past weekend from a birthday party they attended. Of course, they were filled with helium so they were floating in the air when we got home. Oh, and they are attached to a weight to keep them from floating to the ceiling, of course. It was pretty late when we got home so the kids went straight to bed. The last thing they saw was the balloons floating next to the stairs.

The next morning after getting dressed they ran down the stairs and saw that all but one balloon was on the floor. Faith said to Shawn, “the balloon died Shawn.” Shawn said “oh no!” And they both put on sad faces. Then we left for daycare.

Tonight on the way home for some reason Faith remembered about the balloons and said to Shawn “the balloon died everywhere.” Then she said to me “if the balloon died everywhere then we have to go to the new house.” I asked her to explain and she just said the same thing over again.

When we finally got in the house the kids noticed the balloons were all gone. De-Ann had put them in the garage before she left for work. Faith said “the balloon died everywhere” and ran to the living room. Then I heard a scream. After turning on the light Faith and Shawn found one of the balloons. Oscar (our cat) had dragged it in the living room. And they both saw it lying there–dead! They both crouched down starring at it and every once in a while Faith would poke at it like they found a dead frog.

They were so concerned for this balloon that I had to pick it up and put it in the garage to put it out of it’s misery.

February 5, 2013 at 6:42 PM 16 comments

Faith’s new coat

The other day I finally was able to get Faith a new winter coat. Most store are now selling Spring coats so to find the right colour and winter was quite the chore. But I finally found one this past week.

Faith has forever loved the colour yellow. If you have been reading my blog for even a year you would know that is true, but just a few months ago she said to me “my new favourite colour now is purple!” So I decided to try to find her a purple winter coat. Thankfully it was no longer yellow, because that coat would have been dirty all the time. When I looked at Faith’s old coat I realized she had been wearing size 12 months all this time. This tells you how tiny she is for a 4 year old. Now she is wearing a 3T coat, we bought it big so she will eventually grow into it.

Anyway, I did get her a coat and I was so excited to finally give it to her, so one night last week when we got home I sat her down on the stairs and presented it to her. I couldn’t wait for her reaction. As I gave it to her I explained how I took such a long time to find her coat, hoping she would give me a big hug and say “thank you” and tell me how wonderful I was.

Nope, not Faith. With hands up in the air she exclaimed “why you take so long Daddy?”

February 1, 2013 at 10:54 PM 3 comments

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