Mike was born and raised in Stillwater, MN, where most of his family still resides. He was born with Legg Perthes disease, which after an early childhood of casts left him with an elevated shoe and brace. This syndrome created understanding towards others and their needs, and that empathy started his future career in orthotics. He has been an orthotic and prosthetic technician for 31 years, and has been with Hanger, Inc. for the past 13 years. I told him once over the phone, "You're an inspiration to those children", and he replied, "No, they inspire me, each one of them holds my heart in their hands."
The medical teams plan was an open heart surgery where the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Once the surgery begins, blood vessels are taken from another area of the body, often the leg, and grafted onto the existing heart vessel before and after the blockage. A quintuple bypass requires more vessels than any other procedure, so multiple sites may be used. These vessels are then used to detour blood around the blockage on the way to the heart, with the blood literally being routed around (bypassed) the blocked portion of the vessel. Once the vessels needed for the grafts are harvested, the chest portion of the surgery begins with a sternotomy, the incision that opens the chest and divides the sternum (breastbone) in half to allow the surgeon access to the heart. The procedure is most often performed "on pump" using a cardiopulmonary bypass machine to temporarily do the work of the heart and lungs, allowing the surgeon to stop the heart and perform surgery without the constant movement of the heart beating.
Mike found the love of his life early, married her, and together they cherished raising two children to be strong members of society. In doing so, the kids found their niche in the world and travelled far from home to follow their dreams. I've tried to use those same ideals in raising my own children and I hope that someday I can feel just as successful in parenting. Now, Mike and his wife moved into the second phase of parenting, simply standing by, being there when they call, and doing all the things we all set on the back burner. Mike loves the outdoors, working with his hands, fulfilling his "honey-do" list, and singing in the church choir. He is a longtime volunteer for habitat for humanity, and plans to continue that when his heart heals.
Mike is now at home healing, and his wife works part time to stay by his side. Medical bills are filling their mailbox, and I'm asking friends, family, and those who understand his need to help lessen the financial burden. Let's give back to someone who has given so much; let's hold his heart in our hands.
I do not know Mike, myself but do know his sister Jenny and have sent the email that we spoke about. Take Heart (pun intended) you are part of loving family and many friends who know about the generous kind man you are.
I talked to Mike tonight and he was hesitant about telling me about his most recent visit with his doctor for a check up, but I forced it out of him. It seems as if healing might take longer than expected as the incision sight isn't healing quite as it should. He has been instructed to lift little and rest. Please continue to share this, friends; the medical bills are overwhelming. Thanks to those of you who've already offered support, know that it is appreciated beyond words.