Posts filed under ‘City Centre’

Good little PKs

My wife sent these pictures to me last Sunday with the caption “Reading our Bibles after church…. Good little PKs.”

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July 14, 2013 at 6:28 PM Leave a comment

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

My year in review by Facebook

Check out my year in review. Facebook actually did a really good job of finding those events that meant a lot to me. If you have Facebook just click on the link below and it will take you to the review, scroll down and read and look at the pictures. Enjoy!

http://www.facebook.com/yearinreview/andrew.degraaf.5

January 1, 2013 at 8:48 PM Leave a comment

Faith & Shawn’s dedication

This past Sunday we had the privilege of having our kids both dedicated by our church. Dedicated to God. Like Samuel was in 1 Samuel 1:20-26. It might seem weird having the kids dedication because they are a bit older than most kids usually dedicated. Most dedication are done after a few months of the child’s birth. But we wanted to wait for the final adoption of both kids. Faith, as you know, was adopted over 2 years ago but Shawn just joined our family last summer. However we had to wait until this May 2012 for him to officially become a DeGraaf.

Even though the kids were older than usual dedication candidates, we wanted to dedicated them to the Lord. Our pastor wanted to make the day very special so he to dedicated our whole family and celebrated the final adoption of both Faith and Shawn. He said very kind words and interacted with the kids as he shared with the congregation our story.

Usually our pastor has the parents stand on either side of him and one of the parents holds the baby, but because Faith and Shawn were much older he had them sit on either side of him and De-Ann and I sat beside the kids each. He even had a gift for each kid–mega blocks set. And a Bible with their names inscribed in them to commemorate this special day.

The kids were so good and Faith, of course, interacted with our pastor quite a bit. She even got the congregation laughing as she noticed the picture of her and Shawn on the big screen. She said “look, there’s me and Shawn!”

Afterwards many of the congregation members came up to say “congratulations” and give us hugs and love. So thankful for our church family. We felt so loved and accepted by them all.

Thankfully one of the young adults took a few pictures of us on the stage. He took them with his smartphone so the pictures are a bit blurry but you can see how much fun the kids were having.

November 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM 2 comments

Faith & Shawn in a wedding

Some of you might already know both Faith and Shawn were asked to be in a wedding this past weekend of two very close friends of our family (Chase & Aby). The kids were the ring bearer (Shawn) and the flower girl (Faith).

This is the same wedding I was the MC of. I don’t have to tell you how busy that made our weekend. And stressful, for Mom and Dad…us. As we were responsible for making sure the kids got to the front of the auditorium and did it slowly and without talking. But it was a great day and such a great privilege to be a part of two very special people’s wedding day. Thanks Chase and Aby!

But as most people know when it comes to getting toddlers and pre-schoolers to do what you want, they usually don’t. And most of the time even after we rehearse what the kids are to do, they end up doing exactly what we don’t want them to do. This wedding was no exception.

On Friday night after the rehearsal we had the kids going up and down the aisle a number of times holding hands, and they did great. The only thing that changed from Friday to Saturday morning was Faith had to toss flower pedals on the floor and Shawn was suppose to walk beside her with a pillow in his hands. Just those two simple changes in the routine got both kids confused.

So on the day of the wedding I waited at the front of the auditorium for the kids and De-Ann stayed at the back so the kids had her to coach them and had me for someone to go to. Each of the wedding party started up the aisle and then it was Faith and Shawn’s turn. BTW they were just before the bride. At first they were took a while to even start, then eventually Faith started placing the flower petals on the floor, very carefully and meticulously. De-Ann had to give some instruction and they moved a bit faster, still with Faith putting the flowers on the floor and Shawn walking slowly beside her. Faith got some more instructions from De-Ann and started to move quickly down the aisle leaving Shawn behind where he was picking up each of the flower petals Faith left behind. He finally picked up the last petal and noticed Faith was almost at the front, so in a very loud voice, while running, he yelled “wait for me Faith!” Of course the crowd laughed and I was mortified. As soon as they both got to the front they gave Chase (the groom) a high five and I whisked them away to my office where they played with puzzles and colouring books until the ceremony was over.

It’s amazing to me how something as simple as items to hold in the kids hands messed them up so much that they forgot to walk slowly beside each other and not talk (let alone scream). I know, I know, everyone loved them and they were the comedy relief. I have heard it all. But to me it was a very stressful time. I need to lighten up, eh?!

Check out the cute pictures of the kids with their cool tux and dress just before the wedding. You will also see the groom crouched down beside Shawn in one of the pictures. And a few of the pictures are the kids waiting for the pictures to be taking sitting and colouring or in their car seats ready to travel to the photo shoot after the reception. We are hoping to get a video of what the kids actually did so I can post it on my blog. You’ll have to wait and check back again soon.

October 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM 2 comments

Summer Small Groups @ City Centre

Maybe you have never tried small groups before. Or you are interested but not sure what’s involved. Or the small group you usually attend is on a break for the summer.

We have a solution: Summer Small Groups                                                                      Meet us in the Fellowship Room Sunday nights in July & August from 7 to 9pm and get a taste of what its like to be in a Small Group at City Centre through media, discussion, study and prayer.

Our study topic is “Why I Believe” featuring Chip Ingram and others. We will learn how to understand and defend our Christian faith.

Please sign-up at the Welcome Centre or speak to contact Pastor Andrew: andrew.degraaf@citycentrebaptist.ca or 905.826.8581

July 5, 2012 at 8:49 PM Leave a comment

Faith & Shawn’s parents

A number of the Impact young adults from our church are going to be getting married in the next year and, of course, they have asked if Faith could be their flower girl and Shawn be their ring bearer.

De-Ann and I were talking about it the other day as we were leaving the grocery store walking with Shawn and Faith in between us, after getting Shawn’s new glasses. We both realized something significant, for now on we are going to be know as “Faith & Shawn’s parents!” We’ve lost our identity. haha

June 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM Leave a comment

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