A full day in an hour and a half


Want to know what happened at the beginning of Trenton’s second heart transplant adventure? The following is my Facebook post from that day, FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, before we knew what was really happening:

May 21st, 2014

I had lunch planned with two friends at noon. I spoke with one at 10:30. At 11:11 my phone rang and it was Trenton’s number, but his friend, John, talking and sounding desperate. “Mr. Cary, Trenton collapsed! His head hit the ground and he’s bleeding from his nose and mouth! I have called 911 and an ambulance is coming! I’m sorry; I didn’t know he shouldn’t have been running!” I gathered my thoughts, broke the news to Valerie and drove us to Children’s Medical Center while she talked on the phone with the paramedics transporting Trent.

The hospital

We arrived at 11:35. I had texted my friend about why I would miss lunch. He called me at 10:40 (more about this call in a moment).

Aside from a few scrapes on his knee, a small cut on his temple and a little dried blood from biting his lip, the fall didn’t damage Trenton much. EKG/echo/blood work/etc. do not yet indicate specifically what happened, whether he began running too suddenly (the nerves of transplanted hearts have been cut so the heart does not respond with faster pumping of blood when the person begins strenuous exercise) or whether there is more to it. They are keeping him at the hospital tonight and will do a heart catheterization tomorrow to learn more. That means Valerie and I are back in our hospital roles. She stays all night on an uncomfortable vinyl sofa while medical staff interrupt sleep every fifteen minutes; I drive a lot.

Ever the comic

I admit pride in the way my kids have developed their humor, even the disturbing humor. Trenton said he was thinking about taking a selfie in the ambulance, but was afraid the paramedics wouldn’t appreciate it. Then, after spending a few hours in ER, we were told Trenton would be moved to a room, but still there nearly two hours later, Trent was getting restless. Finally, when the person arrived to wheel Trenton to his room, I teased Trent, asking if he was sure he wanted to leave the ER. He said “Yes, I’ll be back some other time.”

The friend…

Now, back to that phone call. My friend (name withheld until he chooses to share) told me that after we hung up, he arrived home, got out of his car and noticed the door to his home was cracked open. Stepping inside, he saw EVERYTHING in shambles – electronics ripped from the wall; the oven on; things torn; things moved. Then he heard a small noise in the house. The person who had broken into his home was still there, came around a corner and charged him. My friend, who has had military training, fought the man for about 45 seconds, was able to take him to the ground, knee him, and get him into submission to a point where police could be called. Police arrived, guns in hand, in three minutes and took the man into custody. Icing on the cake: my friend still made lunch at high noon.

This was the very beginning of transplant #2. We had no idea it would be diagnosed as a heart attack. We certainly did not expect Trenton would “flatline” twenty-four hours later, or that he would be transplanted exactly ten days after this post.

In spite of life’s heart attacks and flatlines, I’m Still Thankful.