The Night I Died (Cont.): Lauren’s Greatest Fear

November 18, 2011

My next conscious memory is waking up around 4 AM in the ICU unit of Meridien Park Hospital in Tualitin, about fifteen miles south of Portland.

Lauren (who was holding my hand), Carter, my daughter Heather, and her boyfriend Eli were there with me as was my new cardiologist Dr. Miguel Gomez, the man who had spoken to me before my surgery. Dr. Gomez explained that they had inserted a stent in the blocked artery that had caused the heart attack. I was amazed to learn that the stent had been put in place by inserting a wire near my groin and then guiding it via computer images up into the blocked artery. The stent opens the artery and  is medicated to prevent both infection and rejection.

It was beyond comforting to see my family there with me. Little did I know at the time, but Lauren had already spoken to our other daughters Tabitha, Cari, and Brenna who had in turn booked themselves on planes to fly in that very day from Texas and California.

Lauren has been the absolute love of my life since we first met eight years ago. She is the strongest, most loving, most supportive, and most nurturing woman I could have possibly imagined even in my wildest dreams. And there she was, already having been up all night, having witnessed my death twice, and yet gathering and nurturing our large family ,and still transmitting so much love through her hand into mine that the energy would have healed any heart that ever beat in a human chest.

I also knew, with a deep and remorseful pang that will resonate in my being forever, that Lauren had seen this heart attack coming and had warned me, no, begged me for almost three years to change my eating habits so it wouldn’t happen. I am seventeen years older than Lauren and her only request had always been for me to take better care of myself so we could spend as many decades together as possible. To my eternal chagrin, I had ignored her pleas so here she was, living out what she had often tearfully told me was her worst nightmare. Given this second chance, I am resolved to spend the rest of my life making sure I never hurt or frighten her–or my family– again. Ever.

I was then told that my heart had indeed stopped again on the operating table so I had actually been shocked back to life four times in less than an hour.

I was so full of drugs, and also in a state of shock, that the whole episode seemed unreal. I had died? Really? Sure, here I was in the hospital ICU having just undergone emergency heart surgery after flatlining four times, hooked up to IVs in both hands, heart monitors strapped to my chest, and an oxygen mask around my face to help me breathe. My family looked shocked, drained, and relieved all at once. But I kept thinking: “Really? That happened? But I really don’t feel like I almost died. Really?”

It was only a couple of hours later that the truth really hit me.

A nurse had just changed some of the IV fluids and asked me how I felt. When I responded that it was hard for me to believe everything that had happened, she said:

“Mr. Simon, your heart stopped four times. Ninety percent of the people who have that happen to them, don’t survive it. Ninety percent. You must have a very strong heart…but you also have to understand that you being alive and talking to me right now is nothing less than a miracle.”

(To Be Concluded Next Week)

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas Duff November 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

Written like a true Hollywood veteran… go with a trilogy! :)

Seriously, this is fascinating to read, and your message hits home… hard. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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Cinda Stevens Lonsway November 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

what a story teller you are!

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Lynne M. Harrington-Crick November 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

This is so wonderful, no less than a miracle, truly, that you are still here telling us your story, which by the way is a great inspirational lesson for us all. Thanks for sharing.

I can’t help but add here how much your story reminds me of my second husband, Ney, whom I have been writing continually about since this happened to you. There are so many similarities: Like Lauren was to you, I was to Ney not only age-wise (like I was 13 years younger than him) and he really needed me as much as I needed him after my traumatic divorce of my first husband. He and I shared more in our spiritual beliefs also which meant a lot to me especially now as I reflect back to those days.

I know now more so how Lauren was meant to be the one for you. What a wonderful person she must be to hold that much love in her heart with patience, perseverance, and stick-to-it-tiveness. That for sure is True Love.

Blessings to you all for a happy many more years to come together.
Lynne

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Brian Mills November 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Thank you, dear Stephen for sharing that. You have learnt the lesson to listen and to learn. Lauren intuitively knew what would happen to you if you did not take her advice. Sometimes it is the ones closest to us that see things that we can’t see or don’t want to see. It has been a hard lesson, but with Lauren’s help, you have learnt it.
Long may you live and share the love that surrounds you.
Love and Angel Blessings,
Brian

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Judy Cochrane November 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

What a blessing to be chosen to live! Perhaps you have very important work to do…just think of how many people with heart disease you could inspire if you shift your lifestyle to become super healthy. With Lauren’s support, it is possible. I recently started to do that too and read Marianne Williamson’s Course in Weight Loss…very hard-hitting and tough assessment of why I overate and used food for comfort. Now I am following Dr. Barnard’s 21 day Kickstart to Vegan program …feel great, more energy, dropped weight, cleared my head. (The Indian version of the program is even better…such delicious recipes.) There is so much help and support out there to make a change. I would love to see the movies “Forks over Knives” and “Food Matters” in the SCC. They will wake people up and hopefully help them avoid what you went through, Stephen. Best of luck with the new you! Bravo that you “got it!” Judy Cochrane

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Deborah Koppel Mitchell November 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Stephen!
Just happened to open Facebook tonite and Lauren’s post was on the top of the page–I/We hadn’t heard—Sooo shocking–yet incredible and beauti-FULL you are here with us and able to share this miraculous story!
Big LOVE, HUGS & POSITIVE ENERGY coming your way from Me & Matthew in Santa Fe!

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Sumner M Davenport November 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

Stephen,
The world was blessed the day you were born, and we are all blessed everyday by your presence. I am not surprised that your living through this heart attack is a miracle. You bring miracles to life every day and your time with us is not done yet. Love and healing energy to you, and support energy and love to your family.

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Stephen Simon November 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

Thanks so much, Sumner, for your kindness and support!

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Sidney Peck/CinemaProfound November 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Dear Stephen: The nurse nailed it. It is a miracle, no doubt about it. I can’t wait to see what you do with this new start. After reading a few blogs now, I would encourage you to write, because you clearly have the skill. Again, peace to you and yours. Sidney

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