Thursday, January 12, 2012


around 6pm at work on Monday I received a call from my friend Laura Stanfield.  the nurse in her seeped through and she started talking really slow.  preparing me like a child.  Carolyn...yeah...was out running today...yeah...and i don't know all of the details yet but...ok...i know she had a 15 minute down time and they did CPR...oh God...she had a massive MI in her LAD...ok...she is at Cone...on ice and on a vent...oh got it? LAD, iced, vent, 2900 at Cone...i got it, ill call you as soon as i get off.

i left Alamance and headed to Cone.

  i realize if you are not a medical person a lot of this makes no sense, but to an ER nurse the words 15 minute downtime and CPR do not sound good and do not usually result in a positive outcome.  there is a process where after/during a MI (heart attack) we put ice on the patient to preserve cellular function, and a ventilator means a machine is breathing for them. 

  there she was, alive. Jay was there talking to the nurses. Leslie, Brandy and Lois were there. we checked her toenail polish, made sure she shaved her legs and decided she needed lip gloss but would have to settle for chapstick because that's all we had. we also made sure her teeth were intact because sometimes teeth can get broke in the process of intubation. trust me Carolyn would expect this of us.

i would skip all of the gory details if i didn't think they were necessary to see God at work.  Carolyn is a runner, though had not been running for several months.  she went out for a run and a nurse riding by saw her collapse and started CPR.  EMS arrived and took her to Cone, her initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation and they shocked her once into sinus and saw the MI.  they bypassed the ER and went straight to the cath lab where they saw her LAD was blocked, they placed a stent, put her on ice and a vent.

meanwhile Jay (her husband) was at home wondering why she had not returned from her run and began calling 911 and the hospitals.  he soon found out there was a Jane Doe that matched his description.  another one of those ER nurses worst nightmares.  being a Jane Doe.  no one knows who you are, you are nameless, storyless. 

some will brush this off as just another medical phenomenon.  she was a ticking time bomb.  if she had not went out to run that day,chances are this could have happened in the near future in her sleep or at home alone.  if a nurse had not been riding by, CPR would have been delayed or never started.  EMS shows up and does their job with excellence. cardiologist ready to open up the blocked vessels. 

this is Carolyns job.  this is what we do.  we are the team that's waiting for you when you have an emergency.  its procedure.  we know what to do.  we focus.  we follow the steps and save lives.  but when you are not the nurse, when you are the patient or the patients family and friends its no longer protocol, its not procedure; its personal and it shakes you.  you cant focus.  you feel too much pain. 

God doesn't make mistakes. if He was ready for her to go He would have allowed it.  but He has plans for her.  i cant help but envision Him saying..."ok people this is your chance, make me known.  i hear your prayers.  make me famous. not for My good, but theirs."

i cant brush this off as phenomenon.  too many things fell into place, the odds were not good. yet she is thriving today.  i wish i were a numbers kinda person and could do the statistics and calculate the probability of all of this falling in to place and give you a number but im not that smart. though im sure you would reasonably be able to say it was not luck, it was God.

***** i included the wikipedia explanation to help you see why it was important to mention the MI involved her LAD****
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A widow maker is a nickname used to describe a highly stenotic left main coronary artery or proximal left anterior descending coronary artery of the heart.
This term is used because if the artery gets abruptly and completely occluded it will cause a massive heart attack that will likely lead to a sudden death. The blockage that kills is made up of platelets streaming to the site of a ruptured cholesterol plaque. Even a small amount of plaque in this area can (for a variety of poorly understood reasons) rupture and cause death; bypassing chronic blockages or trying to open them up with angioplasty does not prevent heart attack but it can restore blood flow in case of a sudden blockage or heart attack. An example of the devastating results of a complete occlusion of the LAD (Left Anterior Descending) artery was the sudden death of former NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert.
From the minute a widow maker hits, there is a five-minute window of time to get to a hospital or receive emergency care[1

So...may all praise and glory be to God.  the creator of the universe, Carolyn's creator.  your creator!


  1. So well written Casey. Carolyn is so blessed. My sister, whom was the same age as she, wasn't so lucky when she had her MI. Prayers continue for Carolyn and family, friends and her co-workers. She is a great nurse and maybe this is just one of her rewards. It is coming back around to her.

    1. well written...... thanks for writing it

  2. Beautiful. My prayers are with her, with all of you. God is awesome!!!!! (from a friend of Sheri O's)

  3. Casey you did a beautiful job! God is good all the time!

  4. Oh Casey, now I am crying- I just can't get over what Carolyn and family have gone through and the road ahead- I can just see you guys checking her toe nail polish....... I hate I am so far away- Carolyn is a sweetheart- wish I could be there to do something for her-