Saturday, December 3, 2011


Tuesday, Steinvic packed up and went to Cbus for work. And I went to work, and it was an ordinary day.

Tuesday night, we got our first snow. Light, wet, and short-lived, Houdini discovered yet another thing about the change in seasons: if Fall generates free treats in the form of leaves, Winter brings free treats in the form of delicious snow.

It was after 8 and I'd sent Steinvic (by phone) a photo of Houdini's paw prints in the snow and after a while, checked for a reply and I saw that he'd tried to call twice. My ringer was off.

I called him back. Twice. Straight to voicemail. Something told me that something was wrong. I called a third time and a woman's voice answered, "Hello?"

Whaaaaa??? What the... and then I realized it was his cousin, Kay. Kay was talking a mile a minute and I said, "Wait...slow down..." and then listened as she explained that Steinvic was in the emergency room. She and her husband had run into him at the local pub and Steinvic said he didn't feel good and hadn't for a few days. (He didn't mention this to me!) And now he really didn't feel right and was worried. After talking about his symptoms, they took him around the corner to the firehouse where Kay's husband works.

Talk about miracles...Kay's husband is an EMT and a firefighter. After giving Steinvic an EKG and checking his blood pressure, they found his BP was extremely high and they - and a friend at the firestation - convinced Steinvic to go to the emergency room. He didn't want to go at first...was worried I'd try to drive in the snow, thought he should just go to his other cousin's house (where he stays when he's in town) and rest...but they said that he HAD to go.

When Steinvic got to the ER, his blood pressure was 223/120. This is, as we learned from the kind doctors and nurses, is the point at which people stroke out, have heart attacks and die.

So...about 15 minutes after getting the scoop from Kay and Steinvic and freaking the hell out, I was in the car heading for Columbus. Meanwhile, my folks were on their way to our house to pick up Houdini. Steinvic said, "Don't come...there is nothing for you to do." He was worried about me driving in the night and weather. But there was something I could do...I could sit with my best friend, who hadn't spent a night in a hospital since birth.

You know, you can make it from West Chester to downtown Columbus in an hour and eleven minutes if you want to.

And there I found my husband, lying in a hospital bed in the ER, hooked up to machines. I said, "This is not something I ever want to have to see again." You see, once, long ago, Steinvic had a brief bout of gout. He'd never had it before, and hasn't since. But at the Urgent Care, the doctor told him his BP was elevated. Steinvic decided it was because he'd been in such pain, and dismissed the idea. So...really, this has been brewing for some time. Plus, there is family history of high BP and heart attack, so it's in his genes, too.

We are so lucky... so fortunate that Steinvic ran into Kay and her husband, that he agreed to go to the hospital, that he didn't have a stroke or a heart attack. Steinvic could have died. Every time I think of that, I can't believe it...

And he is fine now. Steinvic is a smart man. He filled his prescriptions, bought a BP meter for our home and has been checking and recording it every day, and made an appointment with a doctor here in town - he hasn't had a doctor in ages - for Monday.

He promised to get this taken care of and to look out for his health. Steinvic keeps his promises.

The doctors mentioned several times that high blood pressure is the silent killer. You can go about with high blood pressure and not notice much of anything until it's too late. Some of the warning signs are blurred vision, headaches, feeling light headed and feeling nauseous. Aside from the blurred vision, most of those symptoms are things you might feel with a common cold.

So, the next time you're in the drugstore or near a firehouse, consider getting your BP checked. Firehouses - and I didn't know this before - offer this service for free, and so do most Walgreens.

It only takes a minute, and it could save your life.

I don't know what this world would be like without Steinvic, and I pray with all my heart I never know.

Very, very fortunate...

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