Brenda’s birthday was a few days ago (being married a long time, I know better than to tell her age). It was special to us in a very unusual but meaningful way. You see, Brenda had a triple bypass, open heart surgery after suffering a series of “cardiac events”. It started with what she believed was acid reflux, a condition she’s dealt with in the past. But after a sleepless night of the acid stomach and chest and arms pain, it was time to take her to the local urgent care. That’s when our long day started. They told me to get her to the Gold Beach emergency room immediately, a 30-mile drive up the coast. After a short while there, she was taken by ambulance to the North Bend Medical Center near Coos Bay, 70 miles further up the coast for a cardiac evaluation. The following morning, after a heart catheterization, it was determined that one artery was 95% blocked, two others 80%. She was immediately bundled up, loaded up, and on her way by Life Flight aircraft to the Eugene area, where she was taken to the Medical Center at Riverbend, home of the Oregon Heart and Vascular Institute (OHVI). The next morning was Sunday, but at 7AM she underwent the triple-bypass surgery. If you don’t know how extensive this surgery is, you can read about it here. She came through it well, and after a day in the Intensive Care Unit, was moved to a room in OHVI. She was sitting up and walking on the first day, and six days later was released. Considering the extent of the surgery and the toll on her body, it’s amazing to me that she is recovering so quickly. We’re still faced with a long recovery, but she’s taking a short walk four times a day, eating well, and slowly regaining her strength. We’re looking at this experience as a good thing rather than bad; after all, the prompt identification and treatment saved her life and she’ll not only recover but be stronger. The lesson here, for all that read this, is please don’t ignore the warning signs! Heartburn, indigestion, chest or arm pain can all be symptoms of heart damage. We were very fortunate to have caught it in time and to have had extraordinary doctors, nurses, and aides take care of Brenda. Our thanks to them and to all of you who sent prayers and thoughts to her.
We’re back in Brookings at Harris Beach State Park and slowly getting back into volunteer duties, spending an hour or so each day. Both Dawn, our US Fish & Wildlife volunteer coordinator and Jeff, our park interpretive ranger, have been so very kind and considerate in letting us set our own pace. Thanks to both of them.
We hope to be getting back to our normal routine soon – thanks for sharing time with us.