Thursday, December 15, 2016

I KNOW THE STATISTICS

My son took this picture yesterday afternoon. 
The entire day for me was incredibly stressful.

Because I KNOW the statistics.
Being an ER nurse was a blessing and a curse.
It was a blessing because this stuff wasn't foreign to me.
It was a curse because I know all the things that can and do go wrong.
As an ER nurse I know just enough to scare me. When I did work at EIRMC I took care of Open Heart patients. I know what can go wrong. I couldn't keep my mind from going to the scary places.
The overwhelming relief and gratitude when the surgeon finally came to talk to us and tell us about the surgery was too much for me. After he left the room I broke down and sobbed and sobbed. 
So thankful. So thankful.
I'm sure there are words in heaven reserved for the angels that would describe what I feel.
I know what I see in the ER when we get a patient that has had a cardiac arrest.
I know the statistics.
I know that even with bystander CPR only about 10% survive. Being neurologically intact is only 8%. 
With bystander CPR and early defibrillation those statistics raise to 30%.
Howie is a miracle. He has beaten the odds by leaps and bounds.
I know what I have seen in the ER.
So if I am little bit (or a lot) over the top on Facebook with every silly little picture or post or every little step forward... it's because I know.
And so when I finally got to see him for the first time after surgery I just had to feel his heart. 
And kiss his heart.
He is my world.
And for my blog, I know there are more posts in one week than I have done all year, but I don't ever want to forget the feelings and the miracles we have witnessed. It has been so amazing. The prayers and fasting and expressions of love.
I have felt the presence of angels and people around us were angels.


And I knew that when Howie is awake and aware enough, when he goes through all the Facebook posts that I posted he will be unhappy.  He's a very private person, in fact the kids said to me, "he's gonna be ticked". Well, for me it was the best way to let people know how he was doing. He has a large family, he works all over the country and we have some of the best friends in the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My First Look

My son took this picture and sent it to his wife. She posted it on Facebook.
My first thoughts upon seeing him, I just wanted to kiss his heart. I was so thankful.
So very thankful.
I couldn't control my emotions one more second.
This man is my world.

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 He was extubated about an hour after the first picture.


He is such a superstar!
He was having a hard time staying awake....that's ok.
Sleep handsome man, sleep.



AT LAST!

I'm finally in control of myself. I think I have held my breath for a week and a day.
We haven't seen him yet. He's in the ICU. We are waiting.
Such gratitude and relief. 
So very thankful.
Thank you so much. All of you. For your encouragement and helping hold me together. And most of all for loving my husband. 
So thankful to a Heavenly Father for allowing us this miracle.
I haven't stopped sobbing. 
Thank you for indulging me in putting this "out there". I think it helped me to hang on to some sanity.
I'd like to say I'll stop posting and leave Facebook alone ... but that would be a lie.
Thank you. 
Thank you.

And We're Off!

The kids crowded into the elevator.
They let me go into the OR holding area where they started a new IV and
gave him some sleepy-time medication.
Then we were banished to the ICU Surgical waiting room.
These kids kept me entertained.
This helped keep my mind off of things.
We are missing Cameron who couldn't be there.

 
Finally an update

They are just starting the 4th graft. They said he is doing well.
 
He went into surgery around 8:30 AM and finally got out around 3:30!
The wait seemed like forever.
 

Nate's Early Morning Workout

Our son Nate Egan came home last night. He stayed at the house in Rexburg so he could go to Teton Crossfit and get a workout in, in honor of dad. He's a muscular kiddo. Always has been. 
I guess he wanted to see if he could outdo the "old man". 
From all reports it sounds like he rocked it.
However I'm told from Jennica Watson Hirrlinger that he may not be able to lift his arms to eat or brush his teeth tomorrow.
Thanks for the comic relief this morning.
Thanks to all the Teton Crossfit family for making him feel welcome and doing a workout in honor of Howie.
Thanks for your love and prayers.
 

Jeff Fullmer's Post

From my cousin's Facebook page:

Thinking of Howard Egan on my chilly snow covered trail run this morning. 
The miles were not as long, the cold not as bitting. The hills not as steep and the darkness lessened. The wind was quiet as the snow glistened in silence. The only noise was the crunching of my shoes against the hardened snow. Howard's gentle voice echoed in my mind and kept me company as I pictured him smiling on a cold dark morning trail run.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet family today Tauna Egan. We will patiently await the good news we hope to come. 
#howardstrong

#HowardStrong

When the members of Teton Crossfit set up the gofundme, we knew that we didn't need it.
We have very good health insurance.....thank goodness!

Anyway, I told Tyler...the one that set up the account....to buy an AED with the money.

Many cardiac arrests occur at gyms.

So we wanted Teton Crossfit to have their very own AED.

With a sudden cardiac arrest the live saving measures are..

Early recognition
Early and effective CPR
And
Early defibrillation.

Those things saved Howie's life.

So in the end they did purchase an AED for Teton Crossfit.

But I loved the people that were taking pictures of them in their #HowardStrong t-shirts.
It made my day!
We love you.
Candice

The people from Howard's work, this was taken about a month after his cardiac arrest.

Nate and Sara
And then these people.....my heroes.
The ones that literally saved his life.
They performed CPR while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
When the ambulance got there they defibrillated his heart. 


I will be grateful for you forever.
 

OK....We're Ready!

Ok. Waiting. 
Showered. Shaved. 
Prodded and poked. 
He should go in at 8:30. 
Surgery to begin at 9:30.
He slept amazingly well.
Me.....not at all.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING

Whew. 
Trying to take a deep breath tonight as we prepare for tomorrow. Besides having this entire past week being surreal..... this past week has been surreal.
17 years ago I worked on this floor that Howie is currently on. 
And more recently Lynsey worked in the ICU where he was and will be again after tomorrow. Actually she worked on the 4th floor as well prior to transferring to the unit.
I remember taking care of patients like Howie. 
I remember helping them prepare for Open Heart. 
I remember giving them the instructions and teaching of what to expect. 
I remember helping them with their chlorhexadine shower the night before surgery.
I remember taking care of various patients in various rooms of this floor.
My heart has been happy that we were able to be in room 426. 
18 years ago my favorite patient was in this room. 
He was my Bishop (ecclesiastical leader) when I was in high school. Bishop Stander. 
He had a heart surgery. I loved taking care of him. And as I recall it was December. 
One morning I went to weigh him and get his vitals and do my assessment. Because 4:00 AM is such a reasonable time to do that nonsense.
Anyway he was getting out of bed to sit on the chair scale and as he turned around his gown came open and he flashed me. 
He laughed and said, " I bet you thought you'd never see your bishop's bum"
I laughed closed his gown, patted his bum and said " and what a cute bum it is". 
We had a good laugh.
We are unsure what time his surgery will begin. 
We have been told 8:00 AM 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. 
However, latest word is 8:30.
Again, I know I have said this a million times, but your kindness and prayers, texts, messages, visits, generous acts of kindness and calls..... so overwhelming. The love and support is almost too much for my heart to take in. 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 
The words just don't seem to be enough.
To my ER family... I miss you. I'm eternally grateful for you for helping me hold it together when my world was crumbling. 
Paula Orr for having the worst job of all. To break the news to me that it was Howie. 
Alan Brower, smartest nurse in the whole world. Smartest paramedic instructor BYU-I ever had. Being the best boss. For being the best home teacher ever. (Consider your home teaching done for the month)
Sorry Tiffany Snedaker, I'm not sure if I tore your flesh or broke your hand when I was hanging on. 
Dr Wells and Dr Anderson.... what can I say? 
Jena Smith Turman and Julie Blaser.... I'm having IMC flashbacks of our many shifts together on this floor so many years ago. So glad we got to connect again at Madison years later. 
All of you are stellar. And I'm proud of the work you do. To be a part of you.
Ok. 
Now breathe.

TOMORROW is the DAY!


Good day! Loves and hugs from so many.
Surgery time changed. TOMORROW IS THE DAY. Right now he is scheduled for 10:00. 
The doctor told us he wouldn't give us a time to be done. Could be 4 hours or 6 hours. He said he is done when he is satisfied with the work. 
We're ok with that.
Madison County Fire and EMS! You rock. 
Thank you Troyce Miskin for the fabulous department you run. I'll love all y'all forever.

The visits and support. 
OVERWHELMING! Thank you thank you!
Cameron and family

Howard's family and Teton Crossfit family

Howie's family

Brad and Howie

Me and Santa



Howie and Ryan
Ryan stood out on the road flagging the ambulance to the Crossfit gym

Dear friends Heidi and Morris
Morris served as 1st Counselor when Howie was bishop

He loved the visits.
It helped to pass the time.

Richard and Howie
They share the same birthday.

Lots of love and support.
These treasures all tell a sweet story.
And as I would drive into the hospital grounds I could look up and see which room was his.
His was the most decorated window.

Howie and Jessie
The best neighbor!

Guen and the boys with grandpa

The Wickerns and Rob
Rob is the bishop that came and sat with me that morning in the ICU waiting room so I wouldn't be alone.
He also gave Howard a blessing along with Matt and then later gave me a blessing.

The bookends.

gofundme

Because we would love to see an AED at Teton Crossfit!
Instead of using PayPal we decided to do a go fund me account since it is more secure and we have had individuals that have said they want to just donate more money. So for every $20 that you donate on go fund me you will get a #HowardStrong t-shirt. After you donate please just let us know what size you need. Tack on five dollars if we are shipping it to a certain location. Thank you so much for your support! Howard is amazing and we are so excited to see his recovery

Crucial Conversations

Update for Tuesday morning 12-13-16.
Lynsey stayed with him overnight and I slept till about 4:00. All I could think about was what was going on one week ago when our life was still normal. Howie going to Crossfit at 4:30 and me getting ready for my shift. 
It feels like a lifetime ago.
I have nothing but profound gratitude for this past week. To go through such utter heartache and despair to the joy I have today is indescribable.
He's been up and showered and shaved. He looks pretty cute in his little gown. I'd take a picture of my view right now as he is sitting eating breakfast.... but I'm sitting behind him.... and he would be ticked.
We have had some crucial conversations this morning. How he pays the bills on Quicken, when they are due, what his passwords are, just stuff I never worry about because he just takes care of me.
I think I feel better knowing all that stuff. But I still want him to take care of me.
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Look at that Smile!

Sweet visit this afternoon from some of Howie's Crossfit Family. They were there. I'm hearing their stories of the events of that day and putting pieces together. 
So much gratitude and love for them. 
LEARN CPR!!! Everyone! It gave me a miracle. 
#Howardstrong

The quilt was made by Jayme Christensen, another Teton Crossfitter.
She wasn't there that fateful morning, but her husband Jacob was and was one of the ones that assisted in CPR.

Quilt with the Teton Crossfit logo.
These heroes also started a gofundme page.
They sold T shirts.
 

Pure Gratitude

 
 
I have the blessing and privilege of working with these heroes on a daily basis. These are true heroes in my book. I admire them for the work they do.
 
How do you say thank you to the paramedics that shocked your husband's heart out of a deadly rhythm? I don't know. But I know I'll love them forever. 
Madison County Paramedics. 
#lifesavers
#Howardstrong
Stan, Kimber, Robert, Howie & Orin

Orin Packard told me that when he arrived on scene, the police officer there told him that he was working on Tauna's husband.
He said "oh great, no pressure or anything"
I'm not sure I could have squeezed him harder.
 
How do you say thank you for the gift I was given?
 



So Many Acts of Service and Kindness

I'll never be able to count all the many acts of love and kindness that have been shown to us.
Gift cards to places nearby to eat.
Food brought into the ICU waiting room.
A fuzzy blanket just for me, it was so cold in the room.
Offers of places to stay.
Things I would never have thought of.

I wasn't thinking about feeding people, but my kids were here the whole time. I didn't have to worry about feeding them or caring for them. It was just there.

A couple of my friends got me a hotel room.
Diane....such a blessing to me. Supportive and loving.
I had no idea that driving the 30 miles to home would just be too much for me.
So she got me a hotel just a few blocks away from the hospital.

Adam and Alisha did too.
For the 13 days Howie was in the hospital, I only went home to get clothes.
That was such a blessing.

There was plenty of space for all of the family that came to stay.

I couldn't think of being that far from him.
Thankfully I didn't have to worry about that.

Tests

Monday morning update. 12-12-16
#Howardstrong
I left the hospital about 10 minutes ago. I've come back to the hotel to get some sleep. 
He rested well last night. As well as a hospital will let you rest. Two hours at time. You know how nurses are.
He's walking the halls at a pretty good clip. At the end of each hall he goes up a flight of stairs. We did that this morning at 5:00. Made him sorta feel like he was at Crossfit.
Today is supposed to have several tests. Carotid Doppler and Venous Ultrasound. There are others I'm sure.
His spirits are good. He is frustrated with himself. His speech is a little slurry and it really gets him anxious. When he has been rested well it isn't there.
His vital signs are heart rhythm are textbook perfect.
We are still looking at Wednesday for the Coronary Artery Bypass.
We are hopeful and prayerful and have faith. Most of all we are so incredibly grateful.
I wish I could squeeze you all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lots of Family and Friends

Update for Sunday. 
He was restless overnight. Oldest son Matt stayed with him last night and I rested in a nearby hotel. 
This morning he went up 6 flights of stairs. #Howardstrong
He's a rockstar. 
We have our handsome grandkids hanging out for a bit and Nate Egan's wife and sisters here as well. 
They think Howie is pretty special.
Me too.
Matt and Tara

Justin hanging out on the bed cause Howie is SICK of it.

Lynsey and Matt

Sara and I giving hugs

"ooh I love him so much!"

Dear friends Mike and Nita and Shelby.

 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Teton Crossfit Family...My Heroes

More tears again as more of the Teton Crossfit family came by. They were all involved in compressions while waiting for the ambulance. 
They saved his life. 
Not many people get to say that. 
Thank you is such an inadequate word.
 They were there that morning. They had all just finished their work-out. Howie was helping Kristen put away her weights when he "went down."
Jacob on the left and Kristen on the right.
 

Johnny the other "old guy" at Crossfit
 
So a very tender and inspiring story about Kristen.
She was a radiology tech student and was doing her clinical rotations at Madison Memorial.
So I knew her from there.
Howie also knows her well, because she always does the 5:00 AM Crossfit class.
 
Two months prior to Howie's cardiac arrest she was at the hospital doing her clinicals.
We had a code blue in the ER and she came down with the xray machine.
We were doing compressions and it had been going on for quite some time.
We knew we were fighting a losing battle but the family didn't want us to stop.
This was someone that was too young to die.
 
After about 30 minutes of multiple healthcare workers doing compressions and being heavily involved in this code, I looked around to see if anyone else wanted to do compressions.
I asked the radiology people if they wanted to do it for awhile.
One of them said they had already done compressions before, but Kristen spoke up and said she had never done it before.
 
Doing compressions on a human body is different than doing it in class on a mannequin.
 
I told her to step up to the bed and do compressions.
I believe she did several rounds.
 
Fast forward to two months later.
She was the first one to start compressions on Howie.
 
She told Howie that because she had been given the opportunity to do compressions during that code two months earlier, she had the confidence to start compressions on him.
 
We believe that this was one of the tiny little miracles and gifts that added up to the big miracle of Howie's survival.