Friday, 30 November 2012

A Bump in the Road

To our surprise, a bump in the road.  Not just your everyday bump, but a shocking almost heart stopping crash!
Here is how the story begins:
Trans Canada Highway, Wawa, Ontario
As our dream and reality of becoming a ski bum continues.  We moved in to our new home in North Western Ontario on October 27th.  One day late as the Trans Canada highway was washed out at Wawa.  In Southern Ontario, "washed out" meant; "wait a few hours until they pump the water off the road"  In the North West "washed out" meant at 30' x 50' deep hole in the highway. A detour was necessary. So, back to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, across to the U.S. border and drive for 14 hours through Michigan, Minnesota, and then Wisconsin.  Yes we drove around the perimeter of the largest freshwater lake in the world. 
All is good at this stage,  We arrive at our home on Friday 27 October, as our furniture is in transit and should arrive the following Tuesday.
After a good night's sleep in our sleeping bags in our new home, we awoke to a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine.  A walk in our new surrounding was needed. 
This is when the bump and crash began....
Bob began to become very short of breath as his chest began to tighten. He felt ill and began to sweat as the colour drifted from his cheeks.  Fortunately, we were in front of the gas station/subway and Nicole (our new neighbour) phoned 911 for us.  Within minutes, Bob was taken to Terrace Bay Hospital, where the quick response the Doctors and staff stablized him and believed he had a heart attack. 
He was then transferred to Thunder Bay Regional Hospital via ambulance on Monday.  I waited in Terrace Bay frantically until Tuesday for Oneida Movers to arrive.  Thank you for all your work and caring for our possessions. I left on Wednesday to drive to T Bay to be with Bob.  So off I go early Wednesday, worried and distraught I drive. Amazingly there are no cars in sight in either direction, only the beauty surrounding me. Then, flashing lights....O.P.P. and I'm pulled over.  Ok, now I start crying... non stop crying.  "My husband had a heart attack, and we only spent one night in our house, the movers just left our furniture and I'm cold. I need a hug.... and on and on I went. The lovely officer said, after I explained the situation "M'am, just breathe, and keep driving"   "Was I driving too fast?" I asked in between sobbs?  "Yes, it will be ok" she replied.

I arrive in Thunder Bay safe. Again, we were very fortunate to have the chief cardiac surgeon from Hamilton General Hospital visiting that day.  Dr. Czopinski and Dr. Irene Cybulski ordered test upon test as they felt Bob did not have a heart attack after all.  The final conclusion to our shock was: Bob had 60% calcified aortic valve, and mitral valve.  Open heart surger;y was needed. Life is now changed................A bump, potholes and new roads ahead of us.

Bob is a picture of health with no history of heart disease what so ever. So, we wait for a date.  Two weeks we were told.  They were right on the ball.   A quick flight back to Hamilton, Ontario (basically where we began our trek)  Bob and I were both born and raised in this city, with all of our family and friends still in the area.
We arrived Sunday November 18 as our good friends picked us up at Toronto airport and delivered us to Bob's Sister and Brother in law's home where we will be staying during surgery and recovery.  That night; another bump and 911 was dispatched.  Angina attack.  We thought Bob would not even make his surgery scheduled for that Wednesday.  He was admitted a day earlier than expected, and surgery did go as scheduled.  
Wednesday:  0900:  Triple bypass and aortic valve replacement was completed in 7 hours. Now on a respirator for a couple days, ICU, then the Cardiac Step down where Bob amazingly and quickly was recovering. Since his picture perfect health is definitely an asset, we are told Bob will recover 120% and will be back better than before in a few short months. The cardiologist said 'Bob will be dancing in two weeks" Bob replied,   "That sounds great.  Since I can't dance now!"

We returned to his sister and brother in law's home 9 days after surgery. 

A gift of life was given back, as we both feel we are very blessed to be able to continue our lives together better than ever.  NEVER take life for granted! as it can be stripped away from you in a "heartbeat" (literally)
We thank our family, especially as we could not have managed with out you.  Our friends from all over the country and across the oceans for your support, prayers and concerns.
Our New Home, Terrace Bay, Ontario

Yes, we will miss the ski season (well maybe) As the doctors anticipate Bob will be back on the slopes in March for a few turns in the powder. 

As for now, we wait to fly back to our new home in Terrace Bay, Ontario, celebrate a very, very special Christmas, recover from surgery and rebuilt the body to a fine tuned machine.  Next season is not far away....

The journey continues, hopefully no more bumps in the road for a while.  Just moguls.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, Catherine! Thanks for sharing. It's great to hear that things went well in spite of all the hurdles. Your and Bob's courage and determination are an inspiration to all. I hope you settle comfortably in your new home and get stronger day by day.
    If your 2013 maiden voyage to the snow is in March, I'll see you @ Panorama!
    Merry Christmas and happy healing!