My name is Cindy Sherwood. I'm the youngest daughter of three children (one brother and one sister). I'm 34 years old, divorced, and the mother of a wonderful 9-year old daughter. I work for the Navy as a software engineer in San Diego. My hobbies are my computer, playing piano, reading, and jetskiing. I also enjoy volunteering time as an alternate Girl Scout co-leader for my daughter Brownie troop.
My dad and I were always very close - I was always "Daddy's Little Girl" growing up. He was my inspiration and motivation to attend college. My values and ideas regarding the responsibilities of citizens stem from his work with the Military Police (US Army), while Mom was the big influence on my family values and morals.
My father moved out of state shortly before my daughter was born. When that occurred, our visits with each other became infrequent, but we tried to keep in touch through phone calls and cards, especially on special occasions. At the same time, cards, letters, and phone calls were few and far between. Dad & I were both alike in this respect [grin]. We both traveled a lot with our jobs and frequently missed each other when calling. But we both knew that we had a close and special relationship with each other. Nothing I accomplished in life seemed complete until I told Dad about it. No major career decisions were made without his advise.
It's been a little over a year now that I lost my father to two ruptured cerebral aneurysms. One at the brain stem, the other somewhere in the left frontal lobe, or something like that. An aneurysm was the last thing on our minds, as he was scheduled for surgery to be placed onto dialysis the day he died. Dad was funny, peculiar, though, as we didn't even know he was scheduled for dialysis surgery. I can just hear him now saying "I didn't want to worry you. I wanted to wait and see if things turned out OK before telling you." That was Dad. Always calling afterwards to tell us he'd been admitted to the hospital but was out & doing well again. Unfortunately, this time, there was no "afterwards". And I'm very sad about not knowing. I would have been there for the dialysis surgery had I known. I would have been staying at his house the night the aneurysms ruptured.
Over this past year, I've tried reading as much as possible on aneurysms and kidney failure. Ultimately, I believe, it was both that killed him. Dad had high blood pressure from smoking. It was the high blood pressure that was causing his kidneys to fail. Additionally, the high blood pressure had caused partial blockage (20%) of his left ventricular vein & he had just begun taking medication to dissolve the blockage. It would take 2-3 years for the medication to completely dissolve the blockage, but Dad was well enough, even with the damaged kidneys, to wait that period of time rather than have an angioplasty.
At first, I tended to wonder why his aneurysms weren't detected beforehand. Now I know that it's not unusual to not detect an aneurysm until after it's ruptured or begun to bleed/leak. I envy those who have survived to live a life with some normalcy, but am glad my father did not survive his. He lived alone and the aneurysms ruptured, most likely, during the night/early morning hours. His housekeeper found him about 1PM; the doctors estimate the aneurysms ruptured about 8-10 hours earlier. He went into a deep coma immediately and never regained consciousness.
When the aneurysms ruptured, eventually, his kidneys completely failed. Because of the time it took for him to be admitted to the hospital, and due to his heart condition, the doctors opted not to place him on dialysis. They also indicated that he was not a good candidate for brain surgery for the aneurysms because of the failing organs. So, there was never really anything the doctors could do to save him. And, ultimately, it was smoking which killed him.
I bless the Lord for the time he gave us with my dad. He was given a second chance in life back in the 1967 when he was almost killed during the Vietnam War and I was only 3 years old. Three Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Medals, & numerous other decorations and awards. He was buried with full military honors. Every evening at work they play Taps (I work for the Navy), so every evening I hear the final resting song played for my father. His memory & legacy will live on through his children & grandchildren.
God bless all of you.
Beloved Daughter of
Lowell W. Johnson
30 Aug 37 - 24 Mar 97