Tonight I’m going to start out with a story and then end with a prayer request for tomorrow.
My story is about my wonderful dad.
Back in 2012, unknown to all of us siblings, my dad started to have signs and symptoms of an underlying heart problem. These symptoms, namely his chest tightening up when he overexerted himself, went on for about six months.
And then on August 20th, 2012, I received the scariest phone call from my dad.
My husband and I had literally just pulled onto our road from an evening out together bowling. He had wanted to play one more game, but I was playing so terribly and I’m a sore loser, so I wanted to go home. Little did I know what the rest of my night would hold.
We pulled onto our road and my phone rang. It was my dad. Honestly, I was thrown off because it was pretty late for him to be calling me. I assumed he was going to tell me something about my aunt, his sister, who was in bad health. So what he ended up saying to me nearly killed me.
He said “I need you to come and drive me to the hospital. My chest is feeling tight and usually it goes away but tonight it’s not going away.”
My heart stopped.
We stopped by the house long enough for me to get my car and me and my husband took off towards my dad’s. My sister called me as I was about to pull onto his road. I remember her telling me, “Rachel, don’t mess around. If he looks bad, call 911.”
We pulled in his driveway and I raced up to the door, where he greeted me.
Instead of having him get into my car, I asked, “Dad, do you think I should call an ambulance?”
He gave me a small, nervous smile and said, “Yeah.”
I called for the ambulance and waited until they came and got my dad. I explained to them his symptoms and that heart problems run in his family. The man who drove the ambulance knew my dad and he promised me that he would be alright, that they were just gonna check him out up at the hospital.
After the ambulance left, we did too and made our way to the hospital, which was about 20 minutes away. All of my siblings met us up there and we were given the news.
Just as my mom had six years before, my dad had a heart attack. The hospital here in Clinton County didn’t have the means to take care of him, so they planned on air caring him to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, just like my mom.
We were allowed to see him before they put him in the helicopter. Weirdly enough, he seemed normal. They were asking him questions and he was answering them like nothing was wrong. We were so shocked that he seemed okay, but wasn’t.
We left to head down to Christ, which was about an hour drive. When we got there, we waited until they got him check in and settled. They ran some tests on him and then brought all of us in his hospital room to give us the diagnosis.
He did have a heart attack. He had some sort of heart disease. And eventually, they wanted to do open heart surgery to clean out his arteries. They didn’t want to do it too soon because he had a bunch of blood thinner in his system. Once we heard that, we all decided to go home and rest, and then come back to see him in the morning.
But a God thing happened. My brother and his wife needed help with their car’s tires and called me and my husband to help. They were in a questionable part of town and we wanted to get them out of there as soon as possible. While we were there, my oldest niece called me. Mind you, it’s about 2:30am on the 21st at this point. She informed me, “They decided that the blockage is so severe in his main artery, 90% blockage, that they want to do surgery first thing in the morning. So if you want to see him before surgery, you need to be here at 6am.”
My sister-in-law happens to be a nurse at Christ Hospital. So we followed her and my brother back to the hospital and she got us a hospital room to share for the next few hours. I remember not getting any sleep in those hours.
We returned to my dad’s room hours later and he looked nervous. I could tell. We had gone through all we did with mom, it was hard to not compare his story with hers.
His triple by-pass took about five hours, but he got through it fine. The actual heart attack caused no damage to his heart, which was a huge blessing. He would have gone home sooner than he did, but his stomach gave him problems. Totally not relevant right now.
So that’s my dad’s story. I’ll never forget calling the ambulance for him. So many things about those weeks ahead, things he doesn’t remember and I’ve had to remind him about. He doesn’t remember much, and I’m glad.
But now, five years later, he is starting to have similar signs and symptoms as he did in 2012. He informed my sister initially, who then told me. When he mows his grass, he’ll feel that tightness in his chest again. He also feels it from time to time when he walks too fast, just as he did those years ago. Unlike last time, where he didn’t tell us until it was too late, he told us.
We talked him into getting an appointment with his cardiologist, which is for tomorrow (May 10th). Maddie and I will be taking him down to Christ Hospital for his 11:45 appointment tomorrow. I know he’s nervous, as am I and I know all of our family is nervous. So this is where my prayer request comes in.
Pray for my dad. Pray that they can figure out what is causing this problem and that they can easily fix it. Or pray that it’s nothing serious and nothing we need to worry about. I don’t think that is the case, and I’d honestly rather them find something than to say they didn’t find anything wrong, only to have something bad happen in the future. Pray for all of us. Pray for wisdom for the doctor. Pray for my nerves as I sit with him and listen to what the doctor thinks.
A month or so ago, my dad told me that he wants to be here (on earth) when Maddie graduates high school. She’s only one year old. He’s 75, going on 76 in September. He’s got quite a few more years to go. So pray that we can get him back to 100% and that he can be here in 2034 when she will graduate high school.