Friday night, February 29th: We pack up after work and drive down to the home of our hiking buddies, Skidmark and Balloo, for Skidmark's 30th birthday bash. Lots of friends, lots of beer. Our gift to Skidmark was a framed photograph of a group of hikers (her included) in varying stages of undress at Bryant Ridge Shelter in Virginia.
all day Saturday and Sunday morning, March 1st and 2nd: We drive into the mountains for the Rockies Ruck, a gathering of long-distance hikers held annually for the last 4 years and organized by our friend and triple-crowner (ie., has hiked all three big long-distance trails in the US, the AT, the PCT, and the CDT), Mags.
Sunday afternoon, March 2nd: Our world changed forever. We decided to drive the back way to High Plains City, driving through the mountains and small towns. We had just passed through Small Mountain Town (where I had noticed a big blue H for hospital sign, only because it was right next to a sign for a library. I always notice those library signs.) when Footslogger started complaining of pressure in his chest and difficulty breathing, nausea, and dizziness. We turned around and went back to the hospital in Small Mountain Town. They diagnosed him with a heart attack and decided that he needed to head for Big Western City, where hospitals with cardiac cath labs abound.
And the crying began. I mean, my crying, out of fear and shock. How could my husband, a fit, strong, not overweight, healthy-eating guy be having a heart attack? The doctor and nurses at Small Mountain Town talked about getting a helicopter out for him, but the weather was too bad.
Oh, did I mention that all of this was happening in the midst of a huge snowstorm that eventually shut down the interstate?
But back to our story. The ambulance came, with two EMTs, Shannon and Mark. They gave me the option of riding in the ambulance, but I decided to follow the ambulance in my car, thinking that would give me more flexibility in Big Western City.
I spent the next four hours trying to keep up with the ambulance (I eventually got stuck behind a snow plow and lost a good bit of ground there) and crying. I was reminded of the days around my divorce from Bad Andy, when my friends Kyle and Debra said they didn't know that anybody had that many tears in them. I'm not saying this out of pride, believe me. I tried to stop. But I was scared, and fear always brings out tears in me.
I arrived at the hospital around 4:30; the ambulance had arrived about 15 minutes prior. The cardiac surgeon who met us there had already started prepping Footslogger for cardiac catheterization. He stressed to us the need for speed in this, and we agreed, so they pushed him off to the cardiac cath lab very quickly, shunted me off into a waiting room, and we waited. Footslogger's sister and brother-in-law live in Big Western City, so they joined me to wait, we ate a terrible dinner in the hospital cafeteria, and waited some more. They finally brought him in to ICU. One of his arteries (the one often called "the widowmaker" -- I can't tell you how much I hate typing that) was completely clogged, so they performed an angioplasty to clear it and put in two stents to keep it open.
Today is Friday, and we are still in ICU. Every day he makes a bit of progress, but it is slow. He's had some difficulty with breathing, so he is on oxygen, but we expect that to be a temporary problem. Yesterday and the day before he sat up in a chair to eat; today he is going to be walking around the ICU floor for a bit. Slow and steady progress, that's what we're looking for.
I hesitated to post this, but I know you'll be rooting for him, internets. Positive thoughts, prayers, meditation -- whatever you believe in will be greatly appreciated.