I don't know what her Mothers Day plans were, but I know they didn't include emergency open heart surgery! Sallie began experiencing severe chest pains on Saturday the 13th, and was admitted to the Munson Cadillac Hospital. A CT scan revealed several tears in her aorta. Sallie was rushed to Munson in Traverse City.
A Physican's Assistant had the unfortunate responsibility of informing her of the seriouness of her condition. The surgery was very risky, but necessary to save her life. While Dan (the PA) was going over the seriousness of the situation, Sallie smiled at him and said "You're job is to deliver bad news , and doom and gloom isn't it" and tilted her head back laughing. After hearing of the next steps and what her chances were she looked at her best friend, Audrey VanAlst, and they both realized they may never see each other again and tears of love and memories overwhelmed them.
The surgery lasted around 7 hours. Sallie did suffer a stroke during the operation which has left her vision impaired. Sallie stayed in the Cardiac Unit amazing everyone with her strong, steady recovery. After a week she was released to finish her long recovery process at home with her daughter Maria by her side. Sallie is feeling positive and confident that with time she will regain full vision back in her eyes.
While the surgery saved her life, Aortic Dissection is a lifelong disease and Sallie has been diagnosed with the worst kind. Her arteries are dissected throught her body making them tissue paper thin and susceptible to rupture at any time. Doctors have told her that she can never do strenuous excercise again. Of course Sallie hopes these limitations will not affect her ability to run and play with her grandchildren, Ralphie and Grace.
Sallie is the sole provider of income in her home. Sallie is a self-employed, home-based therapist serving at-risk children and their families. She is extremely energetic and passionate about her work, and many people depend on services she provides. Returning to work will take time. Any additional stresses could ignite her disease and ultimately take her life.
Those of us who have known Sallie since we were kids remember her as always being ready to move and groove to get things done. She has always looked to improve the lives of others through support and humor. Sallie is a kind and thoughtful person and very humble about asking for help.
I cannot think of a better way of showing Sallie how much we think of her and to let her know how special she is in our lives. I am hoping that members of the Class of '80 could donate $80.00 in honor of Sallie, an extraordinary graduate of our class. Any financial support from any donor will be greatly and humbly appreciated during her time of recovery. Sallie asks that you not donate any monies that you cannot spare.
Thanks to all who have called, texted, emailed, etc. Sallie wants to thank everyone for their continued prayers and positive thinking in support of her recovery.
A Life Long Friend
- Mark Mitchell
- Peter Wohlfeiler
- Christine Tunney
- Denise Tracey
- Celeste Thompson Hummel
Organizer and beneficiary
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