Yesterday Mac did nothing of his normal routine. He got up early, sure. But he didn't go out to check the garden or the trees, he didn't shuck corn for the guinea hens. He said he didn't feel all that well and wrapped up in fleece blanket, lay back in his chair. I took his temperature, it was 97.4. He didn't have much of an appetite, in fact ate nothing all day, just nibbled. He had one cup of coffee and the rest of the day drank lemonade. I was concerned about him but whenever I asked how he was, he would only say that he felt some better. At 9:30 he announced he thought he would go to bed. At 10, I followed. At 2 a.m. I felt him get up and sit on the edge of the bed. I asked him if he was okay. He asked for his nitro spray and I got it for him. By 2:30 a.m. I had called 911 and gotten an ambulance on the way. When he had gotten up to get a drink, he collapsed into unconsciousness on the living room floor. I could not bring him around as hard as I tried. After 911 I called for my son Wallace to come help me. He finally came around but had no idea what had happened to him. Wallace let the squad members in and within a few minutes they were on the way to the hospital with him. Wallace, seeing I was in no shape to drive took over those duties. We made it to the ER seconds behind the ambulance. While on the road he had been given two medications to bring his heart rate down from the 200+ beats per minute. Having gotten him converted, he was awake and fully responsive by the time they let us back with him. But suddenly, while the nurse was checking his vitals, he went into a full blown seizure that I knew was serious because she lost her calm and began yelling "I need help in here guys, send me a Doctor stat". His face was grey, his eyes were wide open with pleading and his entire body was stretched out as if some unseen forces were trying to pull him apart. To say that Wallace and I were now in a state of panic is an understatement. I was begging God to help and telling Mac at the same time, we're here we're here.
Okay, this is where we were on November 18th, 2010. Funny, it doesn't seem to have been that long ago. I was sitting by his hospital bed after several harrowing hours in the ER and found I couldn't concentrate enough on anything but him. Wallace had brought me my laptop after he made a flying visit to the house to bring me clothes other than my night clothes. I sat in the world's most uncomfortable recliner, laptop in front of me and determined to make some sense of the past few hours. I failed miserably. He moved, I stopped. He groaned, I stopped. He called my name, I froze. So, putting the usually comforting laptop away and any idea of expressing my feelings about what was going on, I concentrated on his condition. The Cardiologist came in and expressed complete puzzlement over what might have occurred but offered any manner of tests that might offer an answer. By this time the children and grandchild and minister had arrived and Mac was converting to his John Wayne persona. "I'm fine, nothing going on here, I have work to get back to, leave me alone blah blah blah". The blah blah blah is where I quit listening to him and turned to the doctor and asked about the importance of having yet another catherazation even when he had passed a stress test with flying colors not three months previously. "If he were a family member of mine, he wouldn't leave here without it" pretty much sewed it up for me. Meanwhile, Mac was busy pulling the stitches out of my resolve. Finally I looked at the drawn faces around me, my older son in particular (he had been in the ER with me at the time of the unexplained seizure and near death experience, after all. "I need some help here, guys, " I demanded of them. Wallace looked at his father, his face pale his voice determined. "Dad, you don't understand, I thought we were watching you die." That did it. Mac simply laid back and gave in to our demands.