Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Do Not Wait! Call 911!

I am posting today while I have a chance, and I will not be posting this Friday 16th.

Terry is alive today, after surviving a major heart attack on Saturday.
He is alive because Terry "listened to his heart talk," as one cardiologist expressed it.

He played pickleball for two hours straight late Saturday morning.
He came home feeling tired.
He quickly realized that he was feeling not-the-usual-pickeball-tired.

Pickleball Players

Terry lay down on the couch, and I brought the pillows he wanted.
He put his head back, and it didn't feel good or right.

I rapidly went through all the heart/stroke symptoms I could think of,
even though Terry is fit and healthy.
The only thing he was experiencing was a different tired,
a very subtle pressure in the center of his chest.

We decided to go to urgent care right away.
He stopped in the bathroom while I grabbed a few necessary things.
As we went through the laundry room next to the bathroom he said,
"This is not right.  Something is wrong."
"Screw urgent care, we're going to the emergency room," we both said.

We jumped into the car, and I floored it for the hospital five miles away.
As we were going down the last, biggest hill on Inspiration,
I was aware Terry was getting worse.
I told him to look at the beautiful snow on the mountains.
Then I said, "Talk to me."
He said, "Do you know where the hospital is, because I don't know how to get there."

"I'm 95% sure."
I focused on making the 90ยบ left curve at the bottom of the steep hill,
and clung to a song pounding in my head.
I made the turn onto Pine Drive, stopped at the flashing stop sign,
and turned right onto East Pine Lane.
"I'm 100 % sure, Babe," I said.  "We turn at the next light."

Curve at Bottom of Inspiration Drive
It's actually much steeper than it appears in this Google street view.

Fortunately every light was green,
and all the other drivers were going about eight miles above the speed limit.
We raced up to the emergency entrance at the hospital,
even flying through a stop sign because no car was driving near us.
So not me! 
"Go! Go!" Terry had urged me.  "Don't stop at the stop sign."

We hurried into emergency.  
We didn't even have masks, so I pulled my sweater across my face.
Someone whisked Terry away, while a security officer checked me for Covid,
ran me through a metal detector, and get this,  
checked my purse to see if I was carrying a gun!

He took me to Terry's room.
The emergency staff was already hooking Terry up to all kinds of things,
and a medic with purple black hair and tattoos was running an EKG.
She said.  "This EKG is concerning."
She paused and said, "I'm calling it."  
Someone said, "Get a chest X-Ray."

A Chinese tech and assistants quickly moved in with an X-Ray machine,
and I dashed off to re-park my car and then raced for Terry.
When I got to his room, the X-Ray machine was on the move out and so was Terry's bed.
"Follow us," someone said.

Zoom ~ We were up an elevator and through curvy halls.
They stopped at the cardio angiogram/cath lab and placed Terry on a table.
I managed to wave at him before a nurse sent me to a waiting room.

Next came a very long hour of mostly pacing.  
I kind of knew what was going on because our mothers had gone through the same thing.
I sat there wobbly for a bit, a song pounding through my head.

Then I realized I should start texting family members.
I couldn't remember how to text more than one person at a time,
so I texted my sister Donnie, the first name I saw. 
Then Terry's sister Noreen, and mid-way through my next text
to my sister Bertie, I remembered how to text a group.  Duh!
Brain on fire and in survival mode.

An hour in, I decided to go to the bathroom,
and of course that was when the nurse came.
If you want someone to show up, go to the bathroom!

We met in the hall, and she told me Terry's heart had stopped,
but he had been revived with paddles and had a stent put in.
She said they would be working on him for a while longer.
She wagged her finger at me and said,
"Next time, call 911!"

Back to the waiting room and updates to the family.
Terry's sister was on her way with about an hour to drive.

Thirty more minutes crawled by, and a nurse came and got me.
They were already moving Terry out of the cath lab and to ICU.
Terry was awake, alert, and his face was flushed with a healthy pink.
I hadn't realized how gray he was on the way to Parker Adventist.

The cardiologist spoke to us briefly at the cath lab doorway.
He said we were very, very lucky.  We were fast and early.  
If Terry's heart had stopped out in the field he would have died.
He meant anywhere outside of the hospital.

Parker Adventist Hospital

Good thing we didn't know that when we were flooring it for the hospital.
I hadn't had time to be scared.
Really, until I sensed Terry was getting worse, I thought we were just being prudent.

Later after Terry was settled and Noreen was visiting him,
I had something to eat at the cafe and chatted briefly with the chaplain.
She had previously spoken with Noreen and me in the main waiting room,
as we were swapping out seeing Terry in his ICU room.
She spotted me in the cafe and was double-checking to be sure that I was okay 
and that I had the support I needed from family and friends.
She was so kind and compassionate.

Hot food tasted so good,
I had only had coffee and a biscotti in the morning.

Noreen left and I watched Terry chow down a big supper ~
Always a good sign from the MacBeath family perspective.
We had the first of many consultations, and I left wiped out.
Back up the three big hills on Inspiration to the rotary,
my eyes darting side to side as I scanned for the damn deer
who love to jump on the road, especially at dusk.

Mule Deer

Home ~ Whew!  
A jigger of rum chata on ice, long phone calls,
and shorter texts to my group of eight.

"Do you know what LAD means?" Terry had asked me
as we  puzzled over notes on the white marker board in his ICU room.
I decided shortly after midnight to see if I could find out.

My brother Roy texted me later,
"Sometimes a lack of knowledge is bliss - don't research too much."
He was so right, but it was already too late.
I had googled "LAD medical" and read Widowmaker.
I didn't sleep much Saturday night.

An LAD heart attack, a widowmaker, is the most serious kind,
and if one occurs outside a hospital, the survival rate is low.
It is "caused by a 100 percent blockage of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. It's also sometimes referred to as a chronic total obstruction (CTO). The LAD artery carries fresh blood into the heart so that the heart gets the oxygen it needs to pump properly." Google Search

Wordpress ~ Original Source Unknown

I was suddenly thinking of the people I knew
who had heart attacks and were dead before they hit the floor
or died in a location where medical help didn't arrive fast enough.
Not everyone is as lucky as Terry with an LAD heart attack.

So many people had told me, "Next time, call 911!"
At the hospital.  On the phone.  In texts.
It hadn't occurred to us, because we didn't know how bad things were.

"Don't hesitate," said a close friend on the phone,
a retired firefighter who had planned and run
the medical response and triage team for the pope's visit years ago.
"Paramedics can call ahead, and the hospital will be ready.
They can send an EKG and restart a heart.
So what if it turns out to be nothing.  Better that than dead."

"Call!" said his wife, a sister-friend to me.   
"If you're wrong, it's not like you have to spend
every Thanksgiving and Christmas with them for years."

"Well, I know a certain firefighter and his wife
who we've spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases with..."

"Louise, call 911," laughed my dearest friend.

Flickr ~ gintheemt ~ Licence

It's my intention that there won't be a second time.
"I've got this," I've told family and friends.  
"We will do whatever needs to be done
to make sure Terry makes an excellent recovery."

I told Terry, "I'm your rock, your boulder of gneiss, g-n-e-i-s-s
Don't mistake it for nice, n-i-c-e."

Terry is doing very, very well,
and we are immersed in all the things one has to do after a major medical event.

A nice gneiss boulder from a beach near Cromarty, Scotland. 
(Credit: @TheNobleGasbag)

I'm writing this post for two reasons.
First, listen to your heart talk.  It may be speaking very softly.
The cardiologists told us that Terry would have been experiencing
serious symptoms quickly and by then it would have been too late.

Second, do not wait.  If somethings seems off, not right, call 911.
Remember, it's okay if it's nothing.
After all, you won't be spending Thanksgivings and Christmases with them.
You'll likely never see them again.

And that song that kept pounding in my head, that helped me focus on the road?
Carrie Underwood's Jesus Take the Wheel.
I had thought about it for the first time in forever
when Terry was driving on slick snow and ice recently.
Then it blasted into my brain as I raced toward the hospital,
and it has stuck in my head since, unexpectedly comforting.

People have been telling me that it wasn't Terry's time to go,
that the Big Guy Upstairs was looking after him.
I have some issues with that,
starting with why should Terry survive over so many equally-deserving others?
But I'll take it, that Amazing Grace, with profound gratitude.

Terry and I are deeply grateful, relieved, and hopeful.
We received wonderful care and support from the people at Parker Adventist Hospital, 
people who are a blur of kind, helpful, and informative faces scrambled in my mind.

As for Terry, one of his most urgent questions is,
"When can I play pickleball again?"

Soon, Babe!
Someone Wants to Play!
Diamond Head Pickleball Court
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 2, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

See you on Friday the 23rd.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


That Song Pounding in my head:
"Jesus, take the wheel 
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I'm on"
                                        by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson

One of Carrie Underwood's Recordings of  
Jesus Take the Wheel 



  1. Hi Louise,
    Jesus certainly does take the wheel. Every day of our lives is written in His book, and it was not Terry's time to go. I had a near death experience and, although I was taken to the most beautiful place anyone could imagine, and did not want to come back, I was told that it was not my time and I must go back. So glad that terry is recovering. Tell him that when he plays pickleball, just play it in small doses. God bless you both.

    1. Thanks for your insight, Brenda, and thanks for sharing your experience. My mother went through a similar near death experience. She said Jesus told her to go back because of Roy and me; our three younger sisters hadn't been born yet. Terry is chafing against the restraints of recovery, but he knows that he has to complete heart rehab before he returns to pickleball. But he also knows that he will be able to play again. God's blessings back at you, my friend!

  2. Louise, I am so sorry about what happened to Terry, rest assured I will be thinking of you both. As you say"Listen To Your Heart". What you both have experienced must have been very frightening. I hope Terry progresses back to good health.
    Take care, both of you.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! It was frightening, if I stopped to think about it. I had to shove that aside and do what I needed to do. I just kept saying, "Jesus take the Wheel," and dealing with what the next thing was. I couldn't sleep last night though, because I kept listening to be sure Terry was breathing. Exhaustion finally got me. Even now it doesn't seem real. It happened so fast, and it was completely unexpected. Terry's prognosis is very good. One day at a time! Hugs to you, my friend!

  3. So very glad that Terry and you took quick action and he's doing well. It must have been a very frightening experience. I'm glad that it turned out okay. I'll be thinking of you.

    1. Thanks, Natalie! My blogging buddies like you are really helping me. Thant's how I processed this, by writing a post. Terry and I are very hopeful about the future, even as we're more aware of how tenuous life is! Take care, my friend!

  4. That is great that you got there and didn't wait. Stop signs be damned. Hopefully he makes a speedy recovery and can get back to playing pickleball soon enough. I'll remember the tip on the bathroom lol

    People say call 911 and yeah, it definitely is n't something not to do, but sometimes you can get them there faster. If the 911 people take 40 mins to get there, well things could go astray that way too. As sometimes they are busy. Pluses and minuses I guess, but you got him there and didn't wait. Main thing indeed.

    1. Thanks, Pat! Google keeps refusing to post my replies ~ Argh! Your comment reminded me of times it has taken our firefighters longer than expected to respond to a call. They are our first responder paramedics. Yikes! I'm glad we floored it for the hospital. One of my tasks as a spouse is to take a CPR course, just in case Terry ever needs it while waiting for 911. Never a dull moment! All my best to you, my friend!

  5. Holy moly, Louise! So glad Terry is okay and on the road to recovery! Such a scary experience for you both. Sending hugs and best wishes!

    1. Thanks, Debra! Terry is coming along, although I may have to tie him down because he is determined and feisty. I think he's pushing too hard. I have to remember my first husband who was paralyzed. He said you have to fight to survive. Thanks for the hugs and best wishes. Right back at you, my friend! And thanks for the laugh. I haven't heard the oh-so-Canadian Holy Moly in a long time! Holy Moly for sure! It warmed my heart!

  6. OH MY GOD LOUISE! I am so happy there is a happy ending. Prayers to you and Terry.

    1. Thank you, Jacqui! It still doesn't feel real to either of us. There are moments that seem very normal, and then Terry or I remembers that he died on the table and was revived. I can't wrap my mind around that. I'm trying not to think about all the What Ifs. That is scary! I'm focusing on gratitude and Terry's full recovery! Hugs to you, my friend!

  7. Terry, join the club of the survivors. Our son in law, myself, another friend and now you have all had a stent placed in our LAD. Louise, you will learn more medical terms than you thought were there, and listen, we all know our own dodies best. Last Sunday morning at 1 a.m. we called the ambulance as I was having a prolonged angina attack. Then the first ECG, the ambulance officer read the printout for a long time, looked at me, read it again, and said ": This is telling me you are having a heart attack, but I think it is wrong" I tried so hard to stop shaking, and the second one was slightly better. So off to the ED, blood tests, you will soon know the Troponin reading and what they mean, mine were both OK, another treadmill test is ordered and the Dr thinks I need to have another angiogram and stent in the Left circumflex. Did they give you a before and after photo? That would show, as it did with Hugh, the huge difference a stent makes. I know you will now be on the lookout for any changes, and did they warn you that if Terry, as we all have been down here, is on a medication for 12 months, he will bleed profusely if he cuts himself? We carried a massive first aid kit when we went anywhere. I am so thankful you drove, you were safe on the road, you found the hospital, and the staff all acted so fast.Every day is a good day when you have both feet on the floor. A HUGE heap of love to you both, life changes in a second, after all the LAD is only short of the letter P to be the LAPD !!! XXXX and much thankfulness for all good things that happened that day for you both, hospital staff and a safe drive.

    1. Jean, thank you for your wonderful comment and all the info you shared! The color that filled Terry's face when he came out of the cath lab told me the stent was working. I hadn't realized how gray he had become until I saw his normal color. I try not to think about all the places we've been recently and all the things that would have meant a different outcome. Thanks for the tip about carrying a first aid kit because of the bleeding. We've been warned about bleeding. I'm an expert on bleeding because I've been hospitalized eight times for internal bleeding and have had multiple transfusions. I'm watching him like a hawk, poor guy! I keep you and Hugh in my prayers at night, and I shall add a prayer for a successful new stent. Stents are an amazing technology! Love and hugs to you and Hugh, my friend!

  8. Thanks for your wonderful comments, everyone! I will come back and reply to each of them. Right now I'm getting through today's list of Things-That-Must-Be-Done. Terry is doing well and is sleeping right now. Feisty doesn't begin to describe him! Meanwhile our house looks like it threw up ~ But we'll survive that ~ LOL. Be back later!

  9. Wow, what an intense and emotional experience. I am glad things worked out and pray for his quick recovery and his ability to return to the pickle ball court. And take care of yourself, too. It is amazing what paramedics can do these days, so I agree, call 911!

    1. Thanks, Jeff! It was intense and emotional! But writing about it in my post helped me process it all. And thanks for the prayers! I am trying to take care of me, so I can be strong for Terry. We'll get there, one day at a time. Paramedics are definitely amazing first responders. I hope I don't have to call them anytime soon though ~ or later. All my best to you, my friend!

  10. What a scare! Blessings you just went and got him there in time. Jesus was looking after you and got you there in time. After all, what if this had happened while you were in Vegas?
    Prayers for a speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks, Alex! I just discovered I had comment moderation on and didn't realize it. Obviously my brain is still on fire ~ LOL. I've sent many prayers of gratitude to Jesus! If we had been in Vegas, Terry would have died.

  11. So glad to hear Terry is doing okay! Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way!

    1. Thanks, Madeline! Terry continues to do well. We walked two miles today, for the second day in a row. Sorry about my late reply. I had comment moderation on and didn't know it. Take care!

  12. Oh my goodness! Thank God you got there when you did. Now you know to call. My father-in-law has had no problem calling 911 for my mother-in-law many times this past year.

    1. Hi, Diane! I'm sorry that I just found this. I had comment moderation on and didn't know it. Call 911 is branded in my brain now, and I always have my phone with me. When I think of how close I came to losing Terry! Thank God indeed!

  13. I tried to reply earlier but always have issues when using my iPad. From someone married to a former paramedic, CALL 9-1-1. incredibly happy things worked out. It's so scary!! Hugs to you both.

    1. Thanks, Donna! I must think of calling 911 a hundred times a day. It's going to be ingrained so I never hesitate. Hugs back at you. Sorry about the late reply. Somehow comment moderation got turned on, and I didn't know it. Have a good one!

  14. Thank God he made it! I'll think nothing but positive thoughts and will have both of you in my prayers.


    1. Thanks you, Janie! I appreciate your prayers, believe me! I'm sorry for this late reply. I must have turned on comment moderation somehow, and just discovered it. I hope all is well with you! Sending you big hugs!

  15. dear Louise i read your comment while ago and jumped to your place with sudden grief .
    reading this post was overwhelming dear Louise
    i did not cry for long and now i am feeling hard to type this comment because i have to clean my eyes and nose as i want to burst out with cry and hug you tight my friend

    you are an extraordinary lady with such exceptional courage and strikingly brilliant mind !

    yes i think lord was within you ,taking care of Terry for you ,sometimes we don't how we survive such intense and terrible situation ,we think and don't get it ,it happens with such astonishing flow and brilliance as someone was inside us operating us automatically ,i don't know about how you feel when it's over but i am in still wonder and awe that how i did this .because i know i was not capable to do it in such perfect way and in time .

    i am so grateful and happy that Terry is recovering speedily by the grace of Lord!
    i hope he will be able to play again and soon!
    it is good to call emergency center during such situation but i am proud of you that you took immediate action and wasted no time and this saved Terry 's life and your happiness for life my friend !
    you are special and though you know or not God is with you and he loves you so much .i can say because i realized it reading this.One who never break anyone's heart but only try to be kind and helpful is mostly under his protection !
    thank you for sharing this in my comment otherwise i would have missed it!
    sending you tons of healing energy and hugs and prays for Terry!

    1. Hi, dear Baili! I'm so sorry that I am just replying now. I discovered a few minutes ago that I had comment moderation on and didn't know it. Duh! Obviously my brain is still not functioning!

      Your loving words mean so much to me. Although we have not met in person, you are so important to me, a very, very special friend, a sister-friend! The more I think about what happened, the more I believe that God was looking after us. Why us, I don't know, but I just have to move forward with faith. I'm moving from agnostic to believer.

      I know exactly the state you describe: "as if someone was inside us operating automatically." My youngest sister Bertie said, "I would have been too frightened to drive if something happened to Peter." (her husband). But it was exactly as if it was someone operating me automatically." I only got wobbly when someone in my family would text or say on the phone that they wished they could give me a big hug. And I only allowed myself to be wobbly a few seconds, because I had to be strong. I had to be strong for Terry. Noreen gave me a big hug when she arrived at the hospital, and it meant the world to me.

      Thanks for pointing out that God is with me and loves me. That is what I am holding on to, what I need to remember, what I need to accept. Thank you for the healing energy, hugs, and prayers. I really appreciate it. I think of you every day and keep you, Ali, and your sons in my heart and prayers. XOXOX!

  16. I tore my LAD artery near the heart in 2010 while skiing. I didn't know I had done that - the inside of arteries have no nerve endings. I had a heart attack at 4M the next day but still didn't go to the hospital because I thought it was a "pulled muscle". Finally, when I described my symptoms to our son, he persuaded me to go to the ER in Summit County. They did a workup and found troponin in my blood which indicated the heart attack. I was transferred to Rose in Denver and had an echocardiogram the next day which showed the tear. The surgeon stented it so blood could flow again and not clot. My cardiologist had me start rehab within a week of the attack. It was the best thing I could have done for both my body and my mind. Having a heart attack makes you emotionally very vulnerable. Best of Luck to Terry! He WILL get back to pickleball!

    1. Thank you for your kind and informative comment, Barb, because I know you do amazing things in the mountains! Your comment filled me with hope. OMG ~ You had such a close call. Thank goodness you listened to your son. We are still waiting to get Terry into heart rehab, but it should start in the next couple of weeks. It was a question of getting a spot. Meanwhile, today and yesterday we walked two miles with a hill. We gradually worked up to it in recent days. Terry has been emotionally vulnerable. It's been hard for him to accept that it happened, because he was fit and healthy. But we are adjusting and moving forward with hope and determination. Thank you, thank you for the encouragement!

    2. Sorry I just found your comment. I had comment moderation on and didn't know it.

  17. Hey Beautiful Soul! I hadn't been around to your blog in awhile, so I thought I would check in (get caught up) and I read this!!!!!! Louise, sending you and Terry lots of love and BIG HUGS!!! I am so happy Terry is doing well and I am so happy you both have each other!! You will both be in my prayers!!!

    1. Hi, Stacy! It's wonderful to see you and read your kind comment. I'm sorry I missed it until now. I didn't realize that I had comment moderation on. Your comment and all the other wonderful comments mean so much to me. Terry is coming along, and I am beyond grateful that he is still with me. Your prayers are truly appreciated. I saw a crow when Terry and I were walking earlier today. One crow. I no longer think "one crow sorrow." I think crow-Stacy-love! This has been such a strange year, but I have tremendous hope for the future. Hugs and love to you! Take care!

    2. That's right, crow-Stacy-love!!!! Love you!

  18. dear Louise i came here after reading your latest post above to check if you left response to my comment on this post which was quite long but i am shocked to see that my comment is not published here ,it is may be because of same reason that you mentioned on my comment box and i don't know what is the problem .just want to say that when i saw your comment some days ago on my blog in which you mentioned that Terry had a heart attack i immediately visited and typed comment with falling tears ,i said all which i felt that time and it was heavy grief .i hope you will be able t report blogger about this issue later when you will have time and energy .
    sending you and Terry tons of healing energy and prays!!!

    1. Hi, Baili! I will leave a reply to you on your blog. As I explained above, somehow comment moderation got turned on. Who knows, maybe I turned it on and forgot. I've been so scattered the past two weeks. But I am doing much better myself now. I'm settling/calming down. Usually if it's technology problem, it's me screwing up. Your comments mean the world to me. Sending you much love!

  19. So glad Terry survived, fascinating post, thank you for sharing.


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.