Tag: heart disease

Happy 2nd Channiversary











Your husband has collapsed, but we got him back. Where would you like us to send him?” Clerk at the U of I”What? Oh he’s probably just dehydrated again. Just throw his butt in an ambulance, I’ll see him at Carle” Ronnie

I had NO idea at just how serious it was…

Lord, if you really need a Merrill in heaven, please, please take me instead. I cannot bear to live my life on this earth without him. Please watch over him, please hold him, please love him and take care of him, because I cannot do this alone….I….cannot….do…..this! Please Jesus, Please Jesus, Please Jesus……Please!”….Ronnie’s prayer as she was driving to tell her kids.

Happy 2nd Channiversary Doll….I love you.

You get used to the ground turkey, chicken, meals without salt, no alcohol (although we never did drink), the meds, and the appointments. What you don’t get used to is the constant assessment with your senses…..he doesn’t even know you’re doing it….but you watch his face, his demeanor, is he sweating…is he breathing heavy….is his face ashen…..I mean, you take his Apical pulse, you attend all Cardio appointments, you set up his meds and stay on the pharmacy to make sure they aren’t late….you do this, because God, in His almighty Grace and Mercy gave you both a second chance. God Said AMEN….I am never, ever going to be able to repay Him for his kindness. Happy 2nd Channiversary….Oh my GOD….I still can’t talk about this without crying.

For anyone not in the know, a year ago today, at 12:20pm, Merrill dropped dead while playing basketball at the University of Illinois. He was there one second, and gone the next. The two things that saved his life, was the decision to play basketball (I would have found him at home on the floor), and the AED they had just installed the day before….on the court. The Cardiologists called it Sudden Cardiac Death Incident, the result of a 95 % occlusion in the LAD, and the inability of his electrical conduction system to overcome such an obstacle…because he was probably dehydrated….so I was right. He spent a few days in the hospital, many more days at home (his driver’s license was suspended), then in March of 2017 we got a cute little doorbell attached to his heart….Funny story…at discharge, he got himself a cute little Lifevest. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a white wrap around, with these little iPhones inside of them, that constantly transmit vitals and data to some office in another state. The Cardiologist told us not to have Nesquick for a few weeks….so the question became, “What if we’re….um….you know….and the alarm goes off?“…without skipping a beat, Doctor said to us in his African accent, “Get OFF!“….don’t think that wasn’t in the back of my head, EVERY DAY!

There were NO warnings. Merrill was an athlete, always working out, always active….what killed him was FAMILY HISTORY, so if you’ve ever answered, “Yes” to any of the questions the M.D. asks you on the form about family, consider yourself at risk, when you hit your 40’s. He didn’t see the light, he didn’t hear the voice of God, he didn’t grasp his heart and reach for the sky in a dramatic fashion, he just dropped dead, and seized on the floor, and my ass had the nerve to act annoyed. My Nursing School family will tell you that my hair fell out IN CLUMPS, I was anxious, I cried all the time, I was always distracted, I tried so hard to make my kids life normal….like IT never happened…I took on the entire world, and it crushed my soul…..but he’s here…and while I still cry…I still worry….I still have the anxiety…..I don’t think this monster will ever die….This monster, I put in my pocket and take with me every day, but I’m trying not to let him get to me….he reminds me that I love my husband when he makes jokes like, “I only died a little“…ENOUGH! This is an auspicious occasion….we are celebrating his 2nd chance at life….we take it one day at a time and while I do miss my porterhouse, it’s okay, you get used to turkey! Gobble, gobble, gobble! …..Happy 2nd Channiversary Merrill….I love you! It’s gonna be a great day….Be Blessed.

Remember you set The Tone, you ARE The Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those who cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Tuesday.

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The Nesquick Gets Better

He loves me, and I love him
He loves me, and I love him

I think the world would be a better place, IF people were more honest about sex”…Friend of Ronnie…

I’m sitting here on the couch writing my column, giggling, because I’m watching a very adorable Merrill, playing with a very clumsy Dudley. For those of you just now joining us, Dudley is the new puppy we brought home a week ago. He’s part yellow lab, part Irish wolf-hound with a sprinkle of Great Pyrenees. He’s been good for Merrill…Ironically, one week ago, when I brought Dudley into our home, Merrill emphatically stated, “He’s ugly. He’s going back”….now he’s on the floor, fake karate kicking the cat with Dudley’s paw….he gonna get that puppy’s ass kicked…. The Nesquick Gets Better…..the more adorable Merrill becomes. What? You didn’t think I’d share positions did you? I’m not a freak! Although…..no…I don’t want to lose my FB license.

Doctor didn’t have to tell HIM twice. The Heart attack was on November 7th, so we’re sitting about a month outside his “incident”; which as a digression, I HATE that word, but it seems to be the pop culture vernacular, so I’ll go along with it….He’s been asking the doctor when his heart would be strong enough to partake of Nesquick, and as a personal testimony, if chasing me around the house is any indication, I think he was ready two days post ICU….On Friday, not having any other excuses to offer a very eager Merrill, the Cardiologist said, “If you can climb a flight of stairs, you can have sex….” to wit Merrill responded, “My home office is upstairs. Thanks Doc”. The textbook example for Cialis, Merrill had to ask his doctor if his heart was strong enough for sex…it’d be funny if it weren’t true or tragic.

Men are a guarded breed. Being the hunters and gathers in society, they have to be very careful what they show the outside world, lest they be seen as weak and someone else try to steal their very lovely red-headed wife…LOL. I’ve been with Merrill a very long time…I’ve seen his heart….his heart is sexy….that’s the part men don’t get about women, we don’t care about the deep blue eyes, the perfectly sculpted chest, the money, fame power….Shoot, I have money, fame and power (not really), but what I want is MERRILL….what any woman wants….is Merrill. A man can be sexy by just sitting on the floor and playing with his kids and puppy….so Little Sisters….The Nesquick Gets Better as the man becomes less aware that he’s showing his heart….it’s a comfort thing, a trust thing, a commitment thing to show his heart. Every wise woman knows that the best way to win or unfortunately destroy a man, is through his heart….Hmm, I guess it IS the most powerful force in the universe….There’s something spiritual about the heart….and his heart is beautiful….I love you Doll. Gotta go. Now that he’s legal, I’ve been hiding. I’ve only come out for bathroom breaks,….and to take care of my kids. I sleep standing up….! He’s like a predator…watching, patiently waiting for me to be in a position of weakness so he can pounce on me and overpower me with his manly show of strength…….GOD IT’S AWESOME….Oh don’t judge me…sex is better when you make them work for it….but not too much….he has a bad heart you know…we have to save his energy for more important things….like playing with his kids, his puppy, and his wife. Oh here he comes…excuse me….”Why no officer, I don’t have my license. Is there anyway we could work this out?”…..REPORT THAT….Be Blessed.

Remember you set the Tone, you ARE the Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those whom cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Sunday.

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It’s Not My Fault

Taken the night before the MI...Sigh.
Taken the night before the MI…Sigh.

You know what the doctor said. Stop….I don’t….I can’t…Oh forget him. Come here“…..YEP….I’ll leave it right there.


It’s not my fault. I don’t think they intend for you to listen to them anyway. It’s probably more of a suggestion, (after all they had to know Merrill wasn’t going to listen right?), than it is a hard fast rule, and if I keep telling myself that, I’ll be okay….I feel terrible, but I couldn’t help myself. He was looking sexy, except for the beard which I hate, and it had been long enough. What do you want? I have a test today, and they say the best way to prepare for a test is not to study (although it helps) but to, you know, drink some chocolate milk before hand. Do you know what’s sexier than watching a man with his kids? Yep, Almost losing him….It’s Not My Fault….if loving him was wrong, then I don’t wanna be right….I mean I do but..Oh…you know what I mean.

So I have this friend at school, who swears by her method of getting an A..on the test. She says one has to, um, you know, the night before a test. It’s the last test before the final, and I could leave nothing to chance. Come on, Don’t Judge Me, just Friday I was mulling over the possibility of quitting…hell about 100 of you contacted me that day to tell me not to do it, so I must, you know, before the test if I am to utilize all available resources. Even as I write this, I can feel some of your disapproving smirks, judging me for contradicting the Cardiologists orders…but remember something…I’m married to Merrill….did you really think….he was going to listen to the doctor for a long time? Do you know how important this test is to me?

So afterwards, as I was contemplating getting a bowl of Count Chocoula, his belt went off, and I PANICKED! OMG, what’s going on? Ohhhhh, I should have never, ever done that….I should have listened to Cardio…..I should have quit school….are you okay Doll…..where’s my phone? He wakes up (yes he was asleep)…looks at the belt…it’s transmitting data…PERFECT. So now, someone in D.C. is going to see the pattern of a steady heartbeat…lub dub….lub dub….lub dub………lubdub,lubdub,lubdub….do you think they’ll know? I mean, can they tell? Probably….so the question is will I get in trouble and be arrested? Can I go to jail for this? How does one go to jail for THAT? I didn’t think to think about THOSE consequences before….”Your Honor, It’s Not My Fault. He was looking pretty good, and frankly, I had missed him. Besides, you can only grab my ass so much before I have to respond…I mean I am madly, deeply and in love with him…I NEEDED HIM….I NEEDED HIM to be normal again”…so I’m going to need an attorney I think…sigh. Okay, gotta go. While I feel you’re judging pursed lips, it’s all good….it was…all good. I’m aware that this is going to be reported….report away…so worth it….guess I’d better start studying now….Where’s Merrill? Be Blessed.

Remember you set the Tone, you ARE The Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those whom cross your path today. With you Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Monday.

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That’s What You Think Ronnie


“It feels weird doesn’t it?” Ronnie to Merrill

“Yes, I HATE it”….Merrill

“Me too Doll. Me Too”…Sigh

It’s self-righteous; which in The Community, is a sin. I mean, you wouldn’t think it. After all, self-sufficiency is the backbone of the Bible right? NOPE, and anyone whom tells you different is selling you a Gospel long obsolete. Now, I’m not going to get all Christian on you, because Charity isn’t limited to The Community, but I am going to let you all in on a little secret. The battle between the Lord and I has always been “sufficientcey”. I am and will always be sufficient in my own power..Ronnie 3:16…LOL, That’s What You Think Ronnie….I can dish it out, and actually enjoy it, but I (nor Merrill apparently) can take it.

Okay, so blah…blah…blah…he had a heart attack, and blah…blah…blah…he lived. Big Deal. Well yes, it is a big deal, but we’re talking about the Charity of family and friends here, not the miracle of the Heart. We’re talking about people reaching into our lives, seeing what we needed, and just moving forward with “HELP” or “Assistance” for the prideful….Ahh, and there’s that word….HELP. It denotes a sense of helplessness, powerlessness….WEAKNESS. There’s a lot of #irony in this world, but the greatest Irony lies within the acceptance that we were always weak…it just took some longer than others to realize it.

Um, okay. If I miss anyone, ANYONE, know that I love you, I adore you, I appreciate you. Merrill and I have been overwhelmed with the great support of our family and friends….it’s just been so hard because team MVP has alwasy been The Rescuer….not The Rescued….Pink is more my color….Anywho,

  1. To those whom prayed, kept vigil, and stoked the Faith when we were too distracted to pay attention, thank you.
  2. My two good friends, who lost husbands to heart attacks, I know this has been very painful for you, and I know you wish nothing but holy and good for Merrill. I cannot imagine your pain, although I think I can try…I don’t want to. You both have been my rock in this…and I’m so sorry my story has brought fresh pain into your life. Forgive me for causing you more pain. I would NEVER EVER do that on purpose.
  3. I’ll call this guy out by name, because what you don’t see, is the behind the scenes messages (sometimes daily) making sure we’re okay, and have all the information we need…Thank you James….you’ve been so much of a comfort and help to us.
  4. My Publicist, Best friend, Cheerleader and Friend, Jen….I got more food in my fridge than should be legal, and I should not have any issues feeding the kids for the next few months. Shoot, when you’re down, this girl has your back….So, thank you….I have no stronger words….I can go kill some Walkers for you, but even then, that wouldn’t be enough.
  5. ATA Mommies, MAN ya’ll roll deep, but I know this….I’m an ATA Mommy too….I’ve taken part in some nefariously secret missions….Trust me, you don’t wanna step to any of us, because like the Ft. Benning Rangers, you never fight one alone…remember that!
  6. My Nursing School Friends, who’ve sat and listened, cried, laughed and kept me caught up on school. The drop date is Friday, and yes, it has occurred to me….sigh….we’ll see, but with these people on your side, it makes the decision to stay a lot easier.
  7. To the COD (Council of Doctor) who showed a great deal of Grace….Trust Me….Lots of Grace….Thank you. Thank you.
  8. Church Family, Brethren Friends….I feel the prayers….we may not be done, but that’s the thing about prayers…it’s a bottom well…The Pit that never ends….Thank you.
  9. The men on the basketball court, the U of I team, Carle, the Medix, all of you whom were on that floor a week ago today, and physically saved my husband’s life….I owe you a debt I’ll never be able to repay…but we’re gonna try with a steak dinner…..as soon as Merrill can eat that again.
  10. Never last, never least, to God, Christ, The Holy Spirit…and all things good things that come from them. The power of life and death still rest within His Discrecion…..Thank you Daddy…Thank you.

That’s What You Think Ronnie….I never really has us pegged for immortal, just healthy. Irony…sigh. The prayers have been easy, the help has been appreciated, but understanding that we needed those things? Well, that’s a bigger, more bitter pill to swallow. We’ll get there, and one day, we will be someone’s guide through the world of Fear….The Fog of Doubt…The Haze of Dispair….sounds like a Princess Bride monologue….I have to run, fasting blood work for Merrill, but I wanted each of you to be known and thanked, so that thousands of people can read what you did, and rejoice…and be glad…with us. Be Blessed.

Remember you set the Tone, you ARE the Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and Mercy to all those whom cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Monday.


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The Day Before












Originally posted on 4/3/16….How little we knew then.


I can’t right now. I have a test to study for. Can’t you do anything to help me?” A frustrated Ronnie to Merrill on November 6, 2016.


The Day Before….


Early in my writing career I shared a story about a man who had collapsed in front of me at Wal-Mart. He was gone before his body even hit the floor. I watched his death with complete helplessness, because there was nothing I…even as a EMT….could do for him. Never really understood the nature of heart conditions….until I did. I’m getting ahead of myself.  He caught my attention in the can isle with his sweating and breathing, then the collapse….I know now it wasn’t my time to save him, it was his appointed time to die, but it doesn’t make it easier. I worked at a dealership where the retired Service Manager had returned for an oil change. He went to the Customer Service lounge to wait for the work, and the world, to be done, and died there 10 minutes later. On a Clinical Medic rotation, we were called to a home for a “well persons check” because his daughter had not heard from her father in several days. What we found in the upstairs bedroom explained why. The Day Before….Christ tells us to be ready, because HE will come like a thief in the night. I KNOW this….Y’all can’t hear me….

I see the sun has risen in California, and while my North facing bay window has been replaced with a back yard view of leaves and roses, I can dig it….I’ll adjust. I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately, but really, you can’t blame me…some things, (i.e. experiences) you don’t forget. Ya know, most of my Loves knew they were going to die and were thusly prepared. I wonder if the man in Wal-mart had a pre-clue…no, probably not, because I saw it on his face….He was caught off guard. There have been a few others I knew who death caught off guard, they were here, and then they weren’t….the shock of their loss is soul numbing…..they hurt the most……Some I KNEW had their passport, others I wasn’t too sure….Mortality is a funny thing, because many falsely believe that there will be a sign pointing to their personal return of Christ…..There are no signs, and there are no warnings…..Today, you need to do two things: Apologize, and get your affairs in order…..

I could walk out my house RIGHT NOW, and DIE. Then yesterday, the day I had a huge argument with Merrill, would be known as The Day Before. I’d leave him with the memory of me saying, “I’m so sick of YOUR SH*T’“. I’d leave him with two babies, three kids and the memory….the horrible, painful memory of him trying to figure out what exactly he did wrong…..My age gap is in the precious position of watching friends and loved one die, too soon. For you see, we are at the apex of Family History, Cancer, Auto Accidents, and sigh…Suicide…..Is today my Day Before? Is it yours? God, I hope not, but If so, I need to make amends with the man I call My Life…..The Day Before….make your amends everyday, that way you’ll be ready for THAT DAY….The Day Before…excuse me while I go and apologize….Where is that chocolate milk? Be Blessed.

Remember you set the Tone, you Are the Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those who cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmation complete, enjoy your Sunday.



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