This post is atypical for us, but we had an emergency over the past few days and we wanted to explain what happened and where we are now. I wasn’t really sure how to handle this with our online presence, but we do feel that our readers and viewers are a big part of our lives. We became RVers to share our lives more openly with others, and we are sticking to that. You are our online family and we know that you care about us and pray for us. So, we are going to stretch our privacy a little further, because God has done some amazing things over the past few days that we want to humbly share. This is just going to be a brief personal update, so that you will understand our situation moving forward. We are fine, and my father is doing well and recovering well. But, here is what happened.
My dad never goes to the doctor, but my mother finally convinced him to see her new doctor who is an Alternative & Integrative Medical Doctor. He had no symptoms, it was just a regular check up because he hasn’t been to the doctor in years. When he went for his appointment last Thursday, the doctor checked his heart beat and found a big concern. Just from listening through the stethoscope, he diagnosed a possible aortic aneurysm. With quick thinking, he sent my father and mother directly to the Lab at Hershey Medical Center for scans, which the results proved his diagnosis, and they were told to go directly to the ER. They immediately put my dad in a bed that he was not allowed to move from, and they ran tests and prepared for surgery the next day. It was a very large aneurysm (7.5 x 9 cm), and they were amazed that the doctor had found it and they were able to act so quickly on it. They stated that the location and size of the aneurysm meant that when it burst, he would not have lasted for the ambulance to get there. He had the surgery Friday, while Chris and I made plans for returning to Pennsylvania and packed up the RV. The surgery went better than expected, and we all breathed a sigh of relief that night with prayers of thanksgiving.
Saturday we woke up feeling relieved and left at 8:00 am for the long drive back to Pennsylvania.
In the early hours Friday morning, my dad had a heart attack. They put him on a nitro drip, but his numbers continued to worsen. By lunch time, things were becoming very serious again. They decided to put a temporary device in to my dad’s heart to keep forcing the blood through. He did not have to have full anesthesia, just sedation for the procedure. They found a large lesion and an artery that was almost completely blocked. They recommended bipass surgery, but when they talked to those surgeons, they said the risk was too high and he was not a candidate. While my father was still in the OR, they came out and asked my mom if they had ever talked about what he would want if the time came to choose between having a heroic effort made to save his life or not. They said if they didn’t do something, he was at a high risk of a massive heart attack because even the nitro was not helping him; but that just trying to add more stints at this point could cause either a massive heart attack or stroke. They called it a “heroic effort”. My mom said she thought they should do it. The surgeon said he wanted to ask my dad too, knowing that he would be tempering my dad’s response with the fact that he was under sedation. The surgeon came back out to my mom and two sisters and said that my dad wanted to talk with her. So, they took her in the OR, the surgeon said usually she would have to have a gown but they didn’t have time. So, my mom went in to the OR as she was, and talked to my father; and they decided to go for it.
My sisters were with my mother this entire time, and they continued to update me on everything as it progressed. We all waited for news. Chris drove. I prayed unceasingly. My sister texted every 10 minutes “nothing yet”. And my mother paced the waiting room. After about 45 minutes, the surgeon came out and said my dad was fine and they were successful. My mom grabbed him in a big hug.
Within 48 hours, my father had two life saving surgeries. The surgeons and doctors could not believe it. Since then, all of his tests have been great. They are shocked at how little damage was done to his heart considering what he went through.
The worst was behind us a second time. Chris drove 13 hours that day and we stopped in Virginia for the night. Again, with relief and thanksgiving in our hearts.
We finished the drive on Sunday and went straight to see my dad, who continues to progress very well. He is in ICU, so we have spent most of the past two days at the hospital.
The above photo was taken when my parents came to visit us in the Black Hills a few months after we set out in 2015. They stayed in Aunt Glady with us, and we took them from the Black Hills to Yellowstone and the Tetons.
We will be staying in Pennsylvania for a while, and have not made any real plans yet. We are at my sisters, but will be moving to a campground near them probably on Thursday to help with the transition of having my dad come home.
Things will get a little back to normal now, and I will be posting regularly again. I also have some videos to publish that will show us in Alabama, so don’t let that confuse you. There is just always a lag between filming, editing and posting.
Thank you for all of your support. I hope this story warms your heart and reminds you of God’s love, mercy and grace.