I have a story like so many that are posted here. My father died tragically unexpectedly in December of 1994 (he was only 42). It was mid way through my senior year in high school. My father was in relatively good health. He was not a smoker, but he did work 2 full time jobs to support a family of 6 (He was a post high school math teacher, and a postal supervisor at nights) which I am sure carried a lot of stress, and lack of sleep. He had just earned his Masters degree in Mathematics, so he was excited about his first teaching job. We lived in a small town in western PA.
About my father. He had complained of lower back pains from the time he was in his late teens. The doctors always dismissed it as work related and such (he was at that time a mail carrier). My father never pursued it further medically, for one reason or another. As for his family background, I believe his father died at the age of 37 of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and my fathers grandfather also died at the age of 37 of the same thing. Well, when my father made it past his 37th birthday, we were elated. And then it just went to the back of our minds (perhaps a little too far in the back).
Well, my father developed diabetes in late 1993. And he started to have kidney problems (thought to be associated with the diabetes). He then began to notice that the back pains were getting a lot worse. I remember the day that I drove him to the hospital that cold Wednesday in December. He was in pain, he went to the doctor, came home, and said the doctor wanted him to go to the ER and be admitted. At this point they had no clue as to what it could be. I believe they thought it was kidney stones (again). Anyways, I remember it well because even though I had my license, my father still always liked to drive, and not "give up the wheel". But he was in so much pain, I drove him and my Mother there. They admitted him right away. And they were trying different tests, x-rays ect. with no results or diagnosis. Finally, after being in the hospital over night. They came in and said that he would be scheduled for exploratory surgery Friday morning 6:00 AM.
Well, at 1:00 AM (5 hours prior to the scheduled surgery) Friday morning, we receive a frantic call from a hospital nurse on the floor that they need my mother there now. I get up, and I drive us there. We were immediately met at the elevators by a few nurses and doctors. They explained, that something "went wrong" all of a sudden his BP dropped, and his heart rate dropped, and they tried CPR for over an hour, but he was not responding. And that after 1 1/2 hours of resuscitation efforts, the gave up, and he passed away.
I do not remember much, I remember collapsing in shock and fear, but little else. I do remember going into the room a few hours later to say my Goodbyes to him. I remember how peaceful he looked, sort of like the way he looked when he took a Sunday afternoon nap in his recliner. But what was odd was how his abdomen looked. I looked almost like he had gained 50 or more lbs. in his abdominal area.
It was a very hard time. I remember when we received the autopsy results, and they stated that he had died from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. They were not even looking into that as being a possibility for his pains. And it hurts to think that he could still be here, if it would have only held up a few more hours, or if there were cardiac specialist there who could of thought to look at that as a possibility. But I have realized that it it was God's will, he needed him.
He died 4 days before my 18th Birthday, back in December of 1994. I am now 25. I have attended college (the college my Dad and I went to look at together the summer before he died). I earned my BS in Criminal Justice. I married a wonderful man, and last year we had a baby boy. We named him James, after my father.
It is very sad when I sit and think about my father not being here to enjoy my son, and that my son will never know my father. But I hope that through photos, and stories he will get to know him when he is older. I hope I have made him proud.
I now have developed health problems. I have had lower back pain for over 2 years. All CAT scans and X-rays show that all of the discs look good, and vertebrae are in place. And now I am getting somewhat concerned for my health. I am planning to go to a cardiologist this summer for further tests.
I pray that I do not have the same problem...but I know that if I do, and it is caught early enough, I can recover. I have faith. And I wanted to say thank you to the other people and families that posted. It is great knowing that I am not alone.
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