Here's a letter I wrote to a friend last night.
I wanted to share something that happened in our lives a little over two weeks ago. Mark was in the States for a missions conference in Dayton, OH. On Friday night (the 24th) he was playing basketball with a group of guys, one of whom was my younger brother, Dan. While going up for a rebound, Mark collapsed. The only thing he remembers is that for a second he was not able to catch his breath. He did not have a pulse and was not breathing, so the guys playing ball with him went into action. Two of the players were doctors, unbeknownst to Mark, and they began CPR immediately. The church gym where they were playing had a defibrillator and they used it to bring Mark back after 3 or 4 minutes of chest compressions. He woke up as they were putting him into the ambulance which took him to the hospital. He stayed there for a couple days while they did tests. Apparently, Mark had had a minor heart attack a year before but he didn't know that’s what it was. The damage from the heart attack (scar tissue) caused the arrhythmia.
The hospital outfitted him with a Life Vest (a fancy little wearable defibrillator), and on Tuesday morning, he set out for the 15-hour car-ride home with my brother who had graciously sat by his side through the whole ordeal.
Wednesday morning, I drove Mark to the ER at a hospital about 8 minutes from our house. God had arranged the whole transfer in a miraculous way. One of Sam’s friend's parents are both doctors (his mother is Mark’s rheumatologist and his dad is a pediatric cardiologist). They found out about Mark’s collapse and called me right away. Dr. Chetaille made phone calls to the hospital in Kettering and to a cardiologist here. That cardiologist accepted Mark’s transfer, and the hospital was waiting for his arrival on Wednesday morning.
He was in the hospital for a week and a half, getting various tests and procedures. Tuesday a team of cardiologists were able to unblock the artery that caused the arrhythmia (a four-hour procedure). We were excited that that was possible, as the doctors in Dayton said it was not and were not able to do it. The doctors think that they took care of the problem and say that Mark's heart looks really good, but they still offered him a internal defibrillator as a back-up. We decided to take it as I know we would all be stressed beyond measure every time Mark would go on bike ride or play a sport (which he LOVES to do). That operation happened last Thursday.
He came home on Friday and is doing well. He's really tired, but I think that is totally normal. He has 5 weeks of rest so he should get a LOT of reading done in the coming weeks!
This has been such a scary, stressful, tiring 2 weeks, but we see God’s hand in all of it, and we are mostly just grateful.
With a full heart,
Soon to come: All the little, ways we unmistakably experienced God's love before, during, and after April 24th.