Late last Tuesday night, I got one of those phone calls that no one ever wants to hear: my dad was being rushed to the hospital. Details were few at that point, but all I knew was he had passed out and was unconscious. I made the hour drive from my house to Saint Joseph where he is at almost 2 in the morning. Throughout the night and into the next day we learned that he likely suffered a massive heart attack. He had never regained consciousness and they had him in a coma while they performed cold therapy. Cold therapy is where they cool the body down in order to protect the brain and internal organs when there is a lack of oxygen. The process takes about 10 hours to cool down, then they have to hold him at that temperature for 24 hours before they can begin to warm him back up over 16 hours. The process is time consuming, but it was the most important procedure they could do. Unfortunately, throughout the time he was on the cold therapy there were other problems he was facing. First, his blood pressure kept dropping and no medication seemed to help. Add to that the fact that his oxygen levels were dropping and he was facing a severe uphill battle. After meeting with the doctor on Thursday and discussing the reality of the situation, we decided that they had done all they could do. We gathered around his side as he peacefully slipped away.
While the loss of a family member is never an easy thing to endure, there are several things that we can be thankful for:
- He was healthy all his life. My dad never had any major health concerns in his life. A month ago he was diagnosed with Diabetes, but he had gotten it under control and was feeling better than ever.
- He got to do everything he wanted. My dad wasn’t going to wait until retirement to enjoy his life. Throughout his life he was an avid outdoors man, hunting and fishing every chance he got. He also raced snowmobiles and drag cars. He had a full life doing the things he enjoyed.
- He went quickly and peacefully. He never regained consciousness after the heart attack, so he never felt any pain or discomfort and his passing was very peaceful. I’m so glad that he never had to endure any pain or a long, difficult recovery.
It just goes to show how terribly fragile life is and how important it is to make every moment we have count. We’re all grieving in our own ways and he will definitely be missed by a lot of people. I’m glad that at times like this God has placed people around me to support, comfort and care when times are rough.