About 6 years ago, Todd Hitchcock was diagnosed with a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation also known as A-Fib. Over the years he’s had numerous shocking and ablations to the heart from his doctor in Topeka, Kansas to try to keep him in sinus rhythm with no success, within days he was back in A-fib. On Thursday November 9th Todd Hitchcock was sent to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri to undergo a Maze procedure to correct his A-Fib before anymore damage happened to his heart. His surgery lasted around 5.5 hours and the doctor said he did really well. On Sunday November 12th he was moved out of ICU and to a regular cardiac floor where his wife Cherie sat with him while the healing process began. Todd also got to call and talk to his daughters Brittany and Meghan that afternoon for the first time since surgery and everything was looking great except for his deflated leaking lung, a slight complication from the procedure. At around 6:30pm Cherie was in the room with Todd while he was watching tv and he was trying to convince her to leave to go get something to eat. Cherie insisted that she stay and she would eat when she took the shuttle back to the hotel. Not long after she noticed Todd coughing and yawning loudly twice. She jumped up and asked if he was okay and got no response. Todd was confused and couldn’t communicate while trying to get out of bed. Cherie immediately pressed the nurse calling button and said “HELP, I think he’s having a stroke” the emergency response team all came running and his heart rate got down to 32 BPM. They took him to CT scan and it was confirmed that he had a stroke due to a blood clot on the left side of his brain. They were able to successfully remove it through a vein. He got moved back to ICU and got 3 chest tubes put in to help with fluid and air around his lungs. His whole upper body, chest, arms, face and neck are all swollen due to air. His eyes are also swollen shut because the air from his lungs moved up and had to go somewhere. Todd’s mobility on his right side is weaker than the left. However his speech is a different story. He can’t always get the words out he’s trying to say and he gets very frustrated. However anybody who knows Todd wouldn’t be surprised to know that his clearest words are F bombs. After another CT scan, they found out that Todd also has some swelling in the brain, which is remnants of the stroke. Todd has a long road to recovery as he is still in ICU, filled with continued hospital stays, physical therapy, rehab, and hotel and food costs for his immediate family so they can be by his side from 5.5 hours from their home. Cherie and Todd are never the ones to ask for help but the first to offer help to others when they need it. Any help to his long road to recovery helps as they are not sure how long Todd and Cherie will be out of work. Family keeps reminding Todd that if he can fight through a war and come home safe, he can fight through this. You’ve got this Retired 1SGT Hitchcock!