Ch.32. Today’s Surprise: Ron gets a Heart Stent.

Ch.32. Today’s Surprise: Ron gets a Heart Stent.

May 23, 2019.        About one month ago I noticed I was having breathing problems while exercising. They didn’t go away, so I contacted my doctor, James Storlie. He listened, examined, and ordered an array of tests. Something in the stress test looked bad and so he made an appointment for me with my wife’s heart doctor, Vishnu Patllola. I walked into his office for a consult and walked out (with Pat) to the snack bar, but then received a call to see Dr. Patllola again immediately. He’d spotted some threatening data in my EKG. Soon I was in a hospital gown. Several hours later I was in recovery for an angioplasty that repaired a 90% occluded artery.                

Thankfully, all this happened in Eau Claire on a Wednesday, my daughter Jenny’s day off. She met us at the hospital within 20 minutes and stayed with Pat throughout this scary ordeal, soon joined by my daughter Cindy, son Joshua and daughter-in-law Patty. I simply would not have left Pat alone. I don’t know what people without family do in these types of situations.

The “kids” took turns helping. Joshua stayed overnight with Pat at our home; Patty made meals and injected Pat’s insulin. Cindy stayed overnight with me in the hospital and helped when I developed a migraine; Jenny was present all day and helped Pat stayed calm.

            I’ll ask Pat to describe in her section what she went through that day. I did hear from my children that she held together well, albeit with a couple exceptions.

            Now, for a few days, our roles are reversed. She’s the one keeping an eagle’s eye on me, reminding me not to lift anything over ten pounds, to avoid the steps, to BE CAREFUL! Yikes. She’s good at it. Maybe she learned from me? I certainly see how this pattern could quickly grow old.  I think I understand better now how my worrying affects Pat, even if appropriate.

            Then there’s the bigger picture. Who would look after Pat if I weren’t there? How would she survive?

My children and Pat did everything possible to answer these questions. I saw how our children’s love translated into real help, how they worked as a team, how capable they are as caregivers, care partners, caring people. And I saw Pat pull herself together enough to be helpful and caring and loving to me. I am relieved at a fundamental level. I trust them to handle the future, no matter what happens. I am not indispensable. Whew!


Pat’s comments on Today’s Surprise: Ron gets a Heart Stent.

            I was terrified when I heard that Ron needed a stent but I understood what was going on. And when I knew the kids were there and they were most of the time I didn’t become extraordinarily worried. I did put in the back of my mind that I had to remind Ron not to start lifting things immediately and to be careful, which goes right to Ron’s comment about how his worrying affects me even if appropriate.

            I had an initial anxiety reaction at night. I was confused about how to feed the cat and dogs. I took time and let Joshua help me figure things out. I also told Joshua that if I were anxious later, he should just tell me to lie down and I’d be fine – and I was.

            I agree that I saw how our children’s love translated into real help, how they worked as a team, how capable they are as caregivers, care partners, caring people. 

  Added Note: June 1, 2020. Ron. It’s been one year since my operation. I’ve experienced no shortness of breath or other heart related problems and my most recent EKG came back as normal. Still, I remain aware of how fragile life is and I remain concerned, as I think I should be, about what would happen to Pat if I were soon to die.