Yesterday I left home at 11:45 with Alex, Jackson and Bryce. Shannon and I are doing a bible study with Julie once a week. The boys had haircut appointments scheduled at 2:00.
At 12:53 Chase called my cell phone and said in a shaky voice that Papa Joe (Shannon's grandpa) was lying on our garage floor but wouldn't say anything to him. His eyes were open.
Shannon immediately took off for home. I stayed on the phone with Chase and told him to get a piece of paper and pencil and had him write down our address. He knows this information under normal conditions, but I wanted to make sure he wouldn't forget it. I told him to hang up the phone, then call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher would help him through the rest. I gave the boys the check for their haircuts, then left for home (13 miles).
When Shannon arrived home at 1:04, Papa Joe had no pulse and was blue. As Shannon began CPR, Papa Joe took a big gasping breath, but remained unconscious.
When I arrived home, about 5-6 minutes after Shannon did, Papa Joe's truck and Shannon's car were parked out by the barn. I assumed the ambulance had been there and left already, but as I approached the garage I saw Shannon doing CPR on Papa Joe. I lifted his head up off of the damp garage floor, and he was able to raise his head and was moving his tongue, but he wasn't able to squeeze my hand. His eyes were wide open and unfocused. Shannon continued CPR.
A few minutes later the ambulance arrived. The ambulance crew loaded him up and left for Marshalltown. They picked up a couple paramedics outside of Gladbrook. Shannon followed them to the hospital, and I stayed home awhile to get the kids settled in.
Chase was shaken, but doing well. The 9-1-1 operator kept him on the phone until the ambulance arrived, which I'm thankful for. She kept telling him not to look out the window in the door, and to keep the little children away. I made some phone calls to Shannon's uncle and cousin, but they were both at work. I was able to get ahold of a friend of Papa Joe's, and he knew where they worked and was able to contact them. I also called the school to let them know the boys most likely wouldn't be at basketball practice. Grandma Shirley was able to get the boys to their haircut appointment and then home. Chase opted to skip basketball practice, but Jackson wanted to practice.
When I arrived at the hospital, Papa Joe was getting a CT scan. He was conscious, but not speaking clearly. Amazingly, within about 10-15 minutes he was speaking more clearly and moving his arms and legs pretty well. He was quite nauseaus, and got very emotional when he found out it was Chase that called 9-1-1 to save him, but overall made great improvement within a relatively short period of time.
Apparently Papa Joe had come over to work on the snowblower. Shannon had gotten it attached to the tractor, but hadn't put the belt on yet. Papa Joe remembers backing the tractor out of the barn, then the snowblower fell off. He drove the tractor to the driveway, then walked back toward the barn to get the snowblower. Chase says that's when he first noticed he was at our house and saw him out in the yard by the snowblower. We think Papa Joe tried moving the snowblower (VERY heavy) to the driveway, and something happened. He has no memory of coming back to the house, just backing the tractor up from the barn.
Colton found him inside the garage by the entrance door to the house and told Chase.
The CT scan showed no bleeds, and his labs showed very elevated potassium levels, but his enzymes were relatively normal. They at first suspected a stroke, but now are leaning more towards a heart attack or some type of arrythmia that caused his heart to stop. They admitted him to the ICU and will run a bunch more tests today. Papa Joe, of course, thought he was ready to go home by about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
I'm very proud of Chase and Shannon. They kept their heads in a scary situation and literally saved Papa Joe's life. They're my heroes. Papa Joe has been the "rock" in Shannon's life, and would be greatly missed.
Shannon was able to get to sleep after about an hour of Xbox 360 to "decompress", and slept pretty well until about 6:00am. He got up, went the the fitness center (he has NEVER done that in the morning), and just got back. He's feeling better now and is getting ready for work. I've been awake since 3:00am.
Please continue to pray for Papa Joe, and for the rest of the family as we assess the needs that he may have and make arrangements to care for him.
"Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Proverbs 17:6