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Monday, April 18, 2011

Life, You Better Appreciate It!

The one thing we all usually take for granted is our life.  We don't give it a look except when a crisis arrives and even then we don't really give it the time of day.  We just live.  Well, I am one of those people that doesn't delve too far into the meaning of life, philosophically speaking, but I sure did this last week.

My fiancee, Ramona, wanted to seek out a new waterfall up near Malakoff Diggings Park.  She loves waterfalls and we have done hikes to find them so she can take pictures.  She and I took off on her birthday last Thursday to find the Humbug Creek Waterfall.  We drove in my four wheel drive Dodge Ram up Highway 49, turned on Tyler Foote Road and headed for the boonies.  On the way I pointed out the medical clinic on the right which serves  the people of the Ridge.  I said my friend Tim Callaway had helped put that clinic into reality.  Little did I know that clinic would be as important as it became later.

We traveled to Malakoff Park and kept on going up the Cruzon Grade, a dirt road that was uphill all the way.  We ran into one tiny waterfall and we then kept going.  Well, the snow is still thick up there and the road became really muddy.  I was concerned about getting stuck way out there and there did not appear to be any cell service.  I had to back down the road because there was no wide spot and I was finally able to turn around after about a half mile.  We then decided to return to home and we were traveling through the Park when Ramona started complaining about chest pains.  She was experiencing a tightness in her chest and both arms were in pain down to her elbows.  I knew we were a long way from help and I was trying to stay calm for her and reassure her she would be OK.  She even had me pull to the side of the road to say a prayer.  Well, I was on North Bloomfield Road through the Park and it is really narrow and twisty.  I was being cautious but traveling more than the speed limit.

I finally reached the intersection with Grizzly Flat Road and I had to decide whether to go left towards Nevada City or right to the clinic on Tyler Foote.  I had never traveled Grizzly Flat Road and so I decided to go to the clinic.  I hauled us as fast as I could over the gravel road.  I also was transporting Ramona's dog, Robert in the back of the truck.  He was great as he laid down most of the way in the bed.  Well, I finally got to the clinic and rushed Ramona into the front desk.  She was taken into the back and a physicians assistant went to work immediately.  He gave her aspirin and then nitroglycerin to help her heart.  They called the ambulance from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and they got there after about a half hour.  During the wait, the North San Juan EMT's came and helped Ramona as best they could.

The ambulance transported her to the hospital and I followed them until I had to turn off and take the dog, Robert, to my home.  I set him up inside and went to the hospital.  They did a bunch of tests and determined she in fact had a heart attack.  On her 55th birthday!  They then transported her down to Mercy Med in Sacramento on J Street.  She was there for two days and the staff and doctors ran many tests and did a angioplasty? on here heart.  That is where they cut a hole in the main artery in the groin and send a camera up into the heart.  I am amazed at this stuff.  Well, they finally decided a piece of plaque must have broken loose and jammed a artery in her heart and caused the attack.

All of this has given her and I a new look at life.  It can go in a few seconds and it never returns once it is gone.  Her kids and grandkids came to see her of course and all that love from them is really what life is all about.  She is home now and resting.  She will be on a medication regimen for at least a year but in my view her still being alive is a good trade off for having to take a few pills.

So maybe this will be a wake up call for others.  Ramona's artery's were photographed and they were clear of cholesterol and impediments.  The doctors were amazed she had this attack because it usually happens to people with constrictions.  She is so lucky because if she did have restrictions she probably would not have made it.  We both thank the clinic and the emergency people for saving my girl. All the doctors and specialists did a fine job and we are both so grateful. Life, don't ever take it for granted anymore.


  1. Todd,

    Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear that Ramona is home and resting. Please keep us posted on her progress. We need to live life while we have it!

  2. Dear Todd,

    I'm relieved Ramona is recovering well. Good that you made time to pray.

    I didn't know about that clinic, but God Bless the doctors, nurses and staff that serve our remote communities.

    --John Galt

  3. Thanks John. The people at the clinic were very helpful. I have always had great respect for those people that doctor to others. They were even saying I could bring her dog Robert into the clinic to keep him calm. Wow!

  4. Thank the good Lord for the kind treatment of Ramona, and for the message to the rest of us. Todd, you did good in taking care of Ramona, and you did well in sharing the experience. Thank you.


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