He had no symptoms leading up to the episode and if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of some incredible first responders (Thank you Allen and Tiffani!!! See the news story here) and an AED in the nearby vicinity, he wouldn't have made it. After several shocks from the AED, my father regained a sustainable heart rhythm and was rushed to St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. After a rough night of being sedated and intubated, he stabilized and regained consciousness the following morning.
The doctors concluded that his heart is plagued by severe coronary artery disease, onset primarily due to genetics (my grandfather and great-grandfather had similar middle-aged heart attacks and heart disease). The situation could not be mitigated by stenting/angioplasty measures and would require bypass surgery. So on September 2, he was flown via Life-Flight to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, WA.
Once arrived, it was determined that his lungs, which had sustained heavy infection and were filled with fluid due to my father aspirating during the heart attack episode, would need to rehabilitate before bypass surgery could occur. After about a week, my father’s condition improved enough that open-heart surgery became possible. Thus, on September 11, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery under the incredible care of the cardiac surgeon team of Sacred Heart Medical Center. He was discharged from the hospital without any significant complications on September 17 and now resides at home in College Place, WA, where he is on the slow path to a full recovery.
Those that know my father can easily say that he is a soft-spoken man who is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed. As the son of missionaries, my father grew up in several Central American countries where his parents had managed, and in some cases, started secondary education facilities, until he moved back to the United States for his senior year of academy. This instilled in my father at an early age the drive to help others less fortunate than himself, work hard, and find creative solutions to solving everyday problems. Since 2006, my father has reconnected with old friends in Guatemala and manages to return once or twice a year to build churches and other infrastructure to enrich the communities where he grew up.
In Walla Walla, my father manages the stain shop for his brother at Bechtel’s Woodworking and volunteers as a sound system operator at his home church.
We are so thankful for the incredible outpouring of love and support from our many friends and family! Now that the procedure is completed, my parents are in need of some financial assistance to get them through his recovery. Insurance has taken the massive brunt of all this, but it has left my parents with a sizable deductible to pay and my father unable to work for several months (leaving them with no source of steady income). My parents have always been so incredibly giving of their time and possessions to those in need, but right now they’re stretched thin financially and are in need of help, especially as medical bills have begun rolling in. We appreciate any financial assistance you may be able to provide—every little bit helps. All funds raised will go directly to my parents for medical bills and essential living expenses. If you are unable to contribute financially, but would like to help out, consider making a meal for my parents (sign up on MealTrain). If you would like to stop by College Place for a short visit and wish them well, they prefer visiting hours between 5 and 7pm.
The world almost lost an incredible man on August 31. By the grace of God, some amazing first responders (Allen & Tiffani) and a fabulous medical team, my father has been given a second chance. Thank you all for your help in making that possible.
- Linda Mensink
- Susan Plunkett Emil Doyle
- Teliesha Batuik
Organizer and beneficiary
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