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On June 12th I had a heart attack and emergency triple by-pass surgery. Thank all of you who prayed for me and my family during this scary time. A special thanks to Ron Montgomery and BBQ Bob. You guys went above and beyond!
Here's what happened,
So, on July 12th I suffered a severe heart attack and underwent an emergency triple by-pass. Iím still getting phone calls from people who are just finding out, so I thought I would share exactly what happened.
I was in Tullahama, TN preparing to cater a corporate picnic that weekend. I was very fortunate to be close to a hospital. I was also very fortunate that Jan, my wife, was with me. Normally, itís just me and Rocco and he canít drive yet. When I first knew something wasnít right, I woke Jan up after feeling a rush of pain and numbness go across my chest and into my arms. It was around midnight Friday morning. I told her to get me to a hospital fast. I knew what was happening immediately. I hadnít felt bad, other than being tired a lot, prior to this.
Once we got to the emergency room in Tullahoma, they hooked me up to an EKG machine. About five minutes later, the nurse said, ďcall med-flight, heís having a heart attack.Ē At that point, I thought I might not make it. They needed to get me to the closest Cath Lab, which was in Murfreesboro, TN, so I took a helicopter ride and was in the hands of a surgeon who attempted to stint my blockage. He was unsuccessful. Any further attempts would have damaged my heart. So, they immediately took me to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, which is one of the top cardiac care centers in the country.
On Friday, I underwent a triple by-pass. They harvested veins from my lower left leg. After surgery, I didnít fare very well. I contracted pneumonia and stayed on life support for three days. Evidently, I wasnít doing very well. I woke up and began breathing on my own by Monday night. On Tuesday, they took they took me off the ventilator. After that I began a rapid recovery. I was taken out of ICU on Thursday and put in a regular room. On Friday the 19th, I got to go home. I canít tell you how painful the ride home was.
I have a nice scar on my chest along with metal wiring, where they opened me up, and five nice smaller scars on my lower left leg. Iíve done everything the DR. has told me over the last few weeks during my recovery. Iíve not picked up a cigarette, Iíve eaten right, and Iíve kept up my walking schedule. Iíve lost a considerable amount of weight and donít have any clothes that fit, but I feel great.
Last Thursday I went back to Nashville to see my Cardiologist for a follow up. The Dr. told me Iím way ahead of my recovery schedule. He released me to go to Columbus, OH in two weeks to conduct a couple of cooking demos for Southern Living. I still canít drive or lift anything, and wonít be able to for a while. He said complete recovery should take about four months, with my chest taking a while longer to heal. My chest still hurts quite a bit and when I cough or sneeze, it hurts as bad as it did the day when I got out of the hospital.
Thank all of you for your prayers, phone calls, messages, and cards. Theyíve been a real inspiration and kept me looking forward.
Some of you have done some extraordinary things to help me during my illness. I canít thank you enough. Nobody and done more than my wife Jan. She kept the Southern Living tour going for two weeks in DC and Chicago without me, while my daughters stayed home a took care of me. They have all helped me get to where Iím at today. Iíve still got a long road ahead of me, but Iím on way to being back!
Thanks so much,
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