It wasn’t until the finish work inside started and someone added up the corrections made in the area, and were alarmed by the total amount and felt there was a problem. We were called and at great expense conducted an exploration of the soils under those walls. It was discovered that while the excavation stopped at what appeared as the same material as the surrounding, it was in fact very different. Those walls were built over an ancient lake that had been filled in with volcanic ash from a long ago eruption. Over time the ash decomposed into a collapsing silt, and as the building was built, the silt would compress. The greater the load placed on it, the more it collapsed.
Small things individually may not seem like much, but when they are all connected and the total effect measured, it is incredible. This is where I find myself now.
In the end (or at least the end at this time), what seemed like a small “episode” was anything but. At the time, it wasn’t even close to the experience I had with the mild heart attack I experienced in Alaska six years ago. It did seem to be a warning though and one that should be attended to. I was relieved when Laurie called and said we had someone else to drive. Before leaving the office I had a couple of missionaries give me a blessing. The ER staff didn’t seem to be too alarmed by what was going on with me, to the extent they wouldn’t put a name to it. It didn’t rise to the level of a heart attack, and may have been something else.
They suggested I should see my doctor. Meanwhile, President Russell and Laurie were seeing to it that I didn’t overdo it and were constantly asking for updates on how I was feeling. I rested over the weekend and only felt a little discomfort when climbing the two flights of stairs up from the basement we call a mission office. That only showed for a couple of days and by the time we went to the appointment, I hadn’t experienced any more.
The cardiologist listened to my heart and said he normally would do a stress test first, but he wanted to go straight to the angiogram and scheduled one for the next week. On the evening before the angioplasty, I asked President Russell for a blessing and we had a rich experience under his voice. A lot of the things he said one would expect. The procedure would go well, the doctors and surgeons would be guided, and I would fulfill my mission. In practice, when the cardiologist got in and looked at what was there, he went out and talked to Laurie. He told her that there was significant blockage and they had called in the expert surgeon. The surgeon had just finished up with another case, and walked right in from that, just as the cardiologist got back to me. He went in and removed approximately 3 inches of blockage in the Right Coronary Artery that was at 100%. They had to use two of the longest stents to open the artery (a total of 3”). It all went smooth and with no problems. It is note worthy that this surgeon is the only one in the State of Oregon who is authorized to do this particular procedure, and he just happened to be there ready to go when I needed him.
When they reported to Laurie, and the next day to me, they used the exact words President spoke that night before. They also commented on how they didn’t know how I survived the warning, it should have been a widow maker. Because of the high dose of blood thinners, they had to close the hole in the artery in the groin the old fashion way. They put a huge C clamp on the spot, and over the next two hours, the nurse slowly backed off on the pressure. They then required me to lay still on my back as they monitored to spot for the next two hours for any leakage. Finally they allow me to move, and eventually to sit up and then stand up.
As I consider all that happened over the past weeks, I have come to realize the magnitude of the love we receive from our Father in Heaven. The mercy He shows to us and the care we receive from Him. I am grateful for all that had transpired, the priesthood and worthy bearers, and grateful to be able to continue and complete this mission with my sweetheart. There is no doubt there is a loving God and He watches over us.