Winter 2001-2002 seemed exceptionally cold and snowy. I had a sense of excitement and euphoria about the coming year. I was just sure it would be a good one, a turning point for our business, that Robert’s ironworks would thrive and that all would be well. I have never quite trusted that gut instinct since then.
Winter seemed to last forever…with a big snow just before early spring. One night Robert announced that he had something terrible to tell me: that he thought he had a heart condition and was having chest pains. We went to the hospital, walking because he was so sure he would be kept in, and they did an EKG but diagnosed him with acid reflux, prescribed medicine for it, and said he would be fine. He continued to feel pain in the morning but we totally believed the diagnosis and figured he had acid reflux from laying down at night.
Round about narcissi time, on the first truly beautiful day of spring, the weather finally cleared, and we prepared to go out to work. It was a couple of days past my birthday. Probably around the 20th of March. Robert was getting ready to load some tools and suddenly passed out in the garden…I found him just sitting up on the path after he revived. He adamantly refused to go to the hospital, saying it had to just be a reaction to the acid reflux medication combined with his anti depressants and so on. With me filled with deep anxiety, we set off to work and as we passed the hospital I again implored him to stop but he refused. A few blocks he later pulled over by Black Lake and said he was dizzy and tried to light a cigarette, but his left hand was shaking and he started to pass out. I got out of the Jeep and started hightailing it back to the hospital, sure he was having a stroke. I flagged down a passing car who called 911 with a cell phone, and the paramedics soon arrived and took him in an ambulance. He had had a heart attack, which turned out to be not serious enough to call Life Flight but the hospital did keep him in for 3 days hooked up to moniters.
My social email list from Seattle helped me so much at that time, with list members telling me stories of how their loved ones had recovered after heart attacks.
Robert’s diagnosis was that it had been a mild attack, but tests revealed other medical conditions.
Meanwhile, for his six weeks of recovery, I kept on bussing to work because no matter what, I had to keep the business going. I felt like an idiot for not being able to drive.