I remember the event very well.
You know how certain moments in life are engrained in your mind?
It was 3 years ago today, Sunday, April 9, 2007.
My husband, at the age of 42 experienced a life-threatening aortic dissection. Thankfully, we were at church when the symptoms presented themselves (major pain, very similar to a heart attack) and thankfully there were two nurses by his side encouraging him and arranging for him to get to the hospital which was thankfully 2 miles away.
And after a slew of tests revealed nothing other than high blood pressure the doctor thankfully decided to run “one more test”; a CT scan which revealed that the lining of his aorta, the largest artery in the body which originates from the left ventricle of the heart, had torn due to unknown high blood pressure. An unusual situation for someone his age.
Aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta that causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and force the layers apart. Aortic dissection is a medical emergency and can quickly lead to death, even with optimal treatment. If the dissection tears the aorta completely open (through all three layers), massive and rapid blood loss occurs. Aortic dissections resulting in rupture have an 80% mortality rate, and 50% of patients die before they even reach the hospital. If the dissection reaches 6 cm, the patient must be taken for emergency surgery. Quote From Wikipedia.
Thankfully he was able to immediately be flown to a larger town where thankfully my husband’s family lives and thankfully where our brother-in-law is a radiologist at the hospital.
(Yes, the morphine drip had kicked in and he wanted to take pictures of the helicopter ride with his dad’s pocket camera. Crazy!)
I arrived a few hours later and was thankful to hear that surgery would not be needed and thankful that my husband was receiving very good care in the cardiac ICU. (a surreal moment indeed)
Meanwhile on the home front. . .Thankfully our team of friends ministered to our family in awesome ways. . . Meals, laundry, loving and taking care of our five young kids, yard work, visiting us at the hospital, and most importantly praying for us. Thankfully my sister was able to leave her family and fly in from out of state to take care of my family for a few days and thankfully my parents were on their way back from a road trip out west and would care for my family after my sister left.
Thankfully, I was able to stay at my sister-in-laws’ home and thankfully she was able to drive me to and from the hospital each day since we were advised that I not drive. . . I remember thinking that was a very wise decision at the time. All of these friends and family who ministered to us were truly and thankfully “Jesus with skin on”.
Back in ICU there were concerns that my husband’s kidneys were “shutting down” and his lungs were filling with fluid. Were his vital organs beginning to shut down? I was on a roller coaster ride all week while trying to remain patient and strong. Thankfully God very clearly gave me the strength to remain calm and clear-headed all the while I continued to think. . . I’m being carried, I am not alone.
On Easter Sunday (one year later from the Easter Sunday when both my husband and I were baptized), hallelujah, he was awakened from the coma and thankfully all levels remained stable.
Five days later he was released from the hospital.
Today, thankfully, his aorta has continued to remain stable.
We are thankful for an awesome God who heals and carries. We are thankful for every day we have together as a family.
I recently found this verse in Isaiah. I know this to be true:
“. . . I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Today is the Thursday before Easter Sunday. It was also this Thursday evening, after a church service, 32 years ago, at the age of 10 when I thankfully gave my life to Christ.
I will always remember. . . always be thankful indeed!