"Dede's Walk With God""
On the evening of April, 18, 2002, I was up late
as usual working on my Christian web-site. Dick
was laying back in his recliner waiting for me
to come to bed with him. We have always been
very close through the years and most of our
marriage we have been together 24/7. It is a way
of life that we chose because of our immense
love for one another.
At about 11 p.m. Dick came to me and said,
"Honey, look at my feet. They both were swollen
about three times the size they were normally.
Having had some nursing, I knew immediately he
was experiencing Congestive Heart Failure. I
called the ER at one of our local hospitals and
took him there immediately, as soon as his
oldest daughter arrived to watch over our five
The nurse noticed he was very short of breath
and took his Sat. levels right away. They were
only 86 and normal is 90 and above. They put him
on oxygen to bring him up to normal. We sat and
waited to see a doctor, for over two hours. When
the ER doctor finally came in he never touched
Dick physically in any way. He took a look at
his feet and advised him to go see his regular
Dr. on Friday, the 19th.
Dick's reg. Dr. was not in, *Thank God*. Dick
was seen by another wonderful doctor, Dr. Brian
Moran. He took one look at Dick's feet and
diagnosed Congested Heart Failure. He put him on
Lasix, told him to go home, get his feet
elevated for the week-end and come back on
Monday to have a heart ultra-sound. We did this.
On Tuesday we are both very worn out so we lay
down to nap and not thinking good, we turned off
the phone, so the ringing would not wake us.
After we woke up, we noticed there were 4-5
calls on the answering machine. They were all
from Dr. Moran's nurse, Bev. She sounds frantic
and says, "Come to Finley Hosp. immediately for
a CT-heart scan. We did this and were told we
are headed for Madison University Hospital Now!
Dick wanted to wait a couple weeks and was told
No, you have to go now!
I waited at the hospital with Dick till they
could get an ambulance to transport him to the
Madison hospital. I was told I would have to
drive down by myself. I had to come home anyway
and make housing arrangements for our five
foster children and pack some clothes and I had
no idea what we were facing or how long we would
be in Madison. I packed three outfits. That was
a joke, as we ended up being there three weeks.
In the ambulance they gave him meds. to lower
his blood pressure as they thought the heart
aneurysms would burst in route to Madison. They
lowered it to 70 over 40. It was kept that way
until they were able to do his surgery, on the
following Friday, April 26th. We spent the whole
first night in the ER room. The next day Dick
was transferred to an ICU unit, (24th). He would
wait there until his cardio-vascular surgeon
could clear a full day schedule to do just his
surgery. They said it would take approx. 6-10
hrs. which is normal. They had no idea what they
were about to find when they opened him up.
On the evening before the surgery, Dr. Robert
Love came to talk to us and explain what would
be done during the surgery. It was so scary just
to listen to the details, as this is something I
had never even heard of before. He mentioned
taking all the blood out of Dick's body and he
would be on by-pass. That I understood. But,
then he started saying how they would put his
head in a bucket of ice to preserve the brain, I
was getting a bit weak and shaky.
It is only yesterday May 1-07, that I got
complete information on that procedure so I
could explain it fully, in detail. That is one
of the reasons I am rewriting Dick's testimony.
This procedure is called *Induced Hypothermia*
It allows for a temporary death, so it can
suspend cellular functioning without ending it.
This surgical technique was explained to us as
*It kills you before it saves you*
You are legally dead for the length of time you
are under induced hypothermia. None of this was
explained to us before Dick had his surgery. The
Dr. probably thought we could not handle all the
gruesome details and he would have been so
Dr. Love said it was going to be a long day, so
try to relax as much as possible. He said after
the surgery they re-insert his blood and start
the heart again. According to Dr. Love, this
hypothermia procedure had been used since in the
1950's and with great success. He told Dick he
had about 2% odds of living through the surgery
but if he didn't have it, he could have 1 day to
6 months, if he was that lucky. The aneurysms
would burst and he would be dead instantly.
The surgeons later told us it would have taken
7-10 years for Dick's aneurysms to have grown to
the size they were and they measured 9 & 11 cm.
They said Dick was a walking time bomb just
waiting to explode. Praise God for His goodness
& unconditional love, that they were found when
they were and not any later. Dick chose to have
the surgery...... I was terrified that when he
left for surgery the next morning that it would
be the last time I would see him alive, but Dick
remained so peaceful and calm and he told his
son, Mike and I to go get some sleep so he could
get some sleep. I checked him a few mins. later
and he was fast asleep, peaceful as could be.
Dr. Love told me that when I kiss him before
surgery in the morning to make it a good one as
it probably would be the last.
Dick told me later the reason he chose the
surgery was because without it he was going to
die and he had faith enough that he felt God was
going to save him. How's that for a strong faith
in God? I always thought my faith was strong,
but now I know mine still needs work. Dick said
he had no doubts what so ever that God was going
to save him. Dick has always been a very private
person, very silent and keeps things to himself.
I always knew he believed in God but I had no
idea his faith was this strong.
The surgery took from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. We
prayed all day and wandered the halls of the
hospital. I made several calls to Jimmy, our
wonderful friend and my web-master for my
Christian site. He had notified all of what we
were going through and had asked for prayers for
us. What a blessing in our life Jimmy has been!
Well, God answered those prayer requests. We
were told by Dr. Love that if by some miracle
Dick survived the surgery, they didn't feel he'd
make it off the ventilator. Four to five days
later, God took care of that problem also. This
is another miracle as Dick had been told for
over 20 years that his lungs were shot and he
should quit smoking. He had his last cigarette
right before they loaded him in the ambulance to
head for Madison, University Hospital.
After Dick got off the ventilator, he developed
pneumonia. This turned out to be a little rough
but he made it over that hurdle. After that it
was extremely hard for him to get phlem up by
himself so they put him on an IVP machine to
help inhale some meds. while it rattles your
bronchial area and upper chest, keeping
everything loose and loosening up the rest that
has already adhered to the walls of his lungs.
We now have to be careful for the rest of Dick's
life not to let him come in direct contact with
sick people as this would compromise his weak
During his day of surgery, Dr. Love told us
after they opened his chest, they were at a loss
for words as his biggest aneurysm just kind of
jumped out at them. They had a video going and
took pictures that were given to us so we could
see how horrific this whole procedure was. The
biggest aneurysm was right on top of his heart.
It was his main coronary aorta. The second one
hung in the arch where the aorta swings to go to
the lower part of your body. They said there was
a third one at one time that somehow had seeped
itself dry. The dry blood and tissue was
evidenced on top of the main one. They were
amazed that it just hadn't burst as everything
in his chest was squeezed in so tight, it was
hard to so the surgery.
During the surgery, they put his head in the
bucket of ice, the (induced hypothermia), then
removed all the blood from his body, put him on
by-pass. Dr. Love explained they were keeping
his brain alive by cooling it. But: this could
only be done for up to 40-45 minutes at the very
most without causing major brain damage. They
used it for 40 mins. on Dick. He explained there
would be some psychological changes anyway. That
would be okay as long as he lived.
They put in a whole new man made coronary artery
graft, installed a new metal aortic heart valve.
They repaired a hole in his heart that should
have closed shortly after his birth, but never
did. Dr Love told us later that he would have
rather done a complete heart/ lung transplant on
Dick, than to have put him through all he had
endured during the surgery. When Dick was
brought back from surgery, I hardly recognized
him. He was all ballooned up like the Pillsbury
Dough Boy. They had 9 IV stands with 6 prongs on
each and all the prongs had something hanging on
them, except two. There were 6 bags of blood and
only our Precious lord knows what else. Many
bags of antibiotics also.
During Dick's three week recovery, he got A-fibulation,
where the heart beats uncontrollably fast. They
had to use the paddles on him twice to get his
heart regulated. We were told this can be very
dangerous if they could not have gotten his
heart back into rhythm. It could also be life
threatening. God got that under control also.
A lot of work for God! Not on your life,
folks.... He's a great God and He alone can do
anything you can ever imagine. I felt my faith
being tested many times during the three weeks I
spent in the hospital with Dick. I cried many
tears and prayed many prayers, not only for Dick
but for all the families there that were going
through one crisis after another. I saw 5 people
die while I was there. It was a scary experience
and my heart ached for those families. Every day
that Dick was alive I praised and thanked God
more. He had 12 weeks of healing to do and by
the power and grace of God, he is doing
wonderful today. Don't get me wrong, we have
experienced some hurdles along the way. He was
on oxygen 24/7 for a few years. Now he only
needs it at night and during the day if he is
going to do anything physical. He hasn't had to
use it much as he doesn't chase me around too
much any more. No energy!
Folks, please believe me our Loving Father in
heaven is alive today and He still performs many
miracles. If you have not accepted Jesus
as your personal Savior, don't wait.... Go to
Salvation page now.....
Read it, take it to heart,
you are never promised a tomorrow....
God is the answer! There are NO exceptions!
Do not take our Loving Heavenly Father for
He is always there for us, Just ask!
It's that simple!
People walk away from God, He never walks away
May God Bless & Guide You Always!
Written by Delilah (Dede) M. Haas
Revised May 2- 2007
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copyright © 2007 Bruce DeBoer