Tag: Sudden Death Cardiac Incident

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 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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