Out of the blue, Elder Munn's and his wife stopped in to visit on their way to a family wedding. It was like the years had not separated the "Elder's". It was fun to go down memory lane with them as they talked about their missionary days!!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
After a visit to a local cardiologist John said, “Well, they’ve discovered I do have a heart after all.” That is so like him to find humor in an unsettling situation.
In January, John started having what we now refer to as “episodes”. He was suffering from chest pains, lack of oxygen, and tightness in his arms. He was miserable, and we were frightened. In February, he went into emergency with severe pains that he could no longer ignore. After an EKG the doctor’s released him saying they couldn’t find anything. A week or so later, we were back in the emergency room. This time he stayed for three days: doing a stress test on a treadmill, a nuclear medicine test and countless other tests. They still couldn’t find anything so they diagnosed it as esophageal spasms and sent him home. We then began treatment through his gastrointestinal doctor who prescribed nitroglycerin for the episodes.
At first we thought it was under control but the “episodes” continued in frequency and intensity. After nearly three months of horrendous pain and anguish—and the fact that John was taking up to 14 nitroglycerin tablets a day, his doctor suggested we go back to a cardiologist. So we made an appointment and waited with anticipation for that day. We had been praying feverishly for someone to diagnose him correctly, as we had already done research on line and knew that we were dealing with Angina!
On Mother’s Day, we weren’t sure John would make it to Monday. I found him in the bedroom sobbing and unable to move. We begged the Lord for help and thankfully, we did make it through the day, had a wonderful dinner at Karen and Travis’ and went home to await our appointment scheduled the following morning.
Monday, we decided to mow his first job before our appointment but I had to do it; John was completely out of it. We rushed home, changed our clothes and got in to see the doctor as soon as we arrived at his office. He came into the room, introduced himself, glanced at John’s chart and said he didn’t think it was his heart. John and I looked at each other stunned and feeling helpless. Why wasn’t anyone listening to us! After two minutes with us, the doctor tried to send us back to the gastrointestinal doctor but we were adamant, so he agreed to do another stress test. Knowing they wouldn’t find anything unless John was in the middle of an “episode”, as soon as the doctor left the room, John got down and did about 10 push-ups. The nurse came back in, hooked him up and put him on the treadmill. Within a few short minutes, he started having an episode. The nurse took John off the machine and left the room. Seconds later the doctor, now visibly shaken, said we had a serious situation and rushed us over to Kadlec Hospital for an angiogram. The doctor said that, during the angiogram if he could fix the heart issue at that time, he would. Otherwise, John would need surgery.
As John and I waited for him to have the procedure, the nurse walked him down the hall to use the bathroom and I heard someone say, “Hey, I know that man. That’s John Cornett.” A moment later, a young technician came in to our cubicle and introduced himself as Michael, one of John’s former Sunday school students in our Kennewick ward. Of course, John remembered him and it was a fun reunion. It wasn’t until later that evening when we witnessed God’s hand in bringing Michael to us. After his shift ended, Michael came to visit us in John’s room. With tears in his eyes he said, “Brother Cornett, you have no idea how close you came to dying today.” He then said he could get into big trouble telling us this, but he wanted us to know what had gone on during the procedure.
Michael and another LDS man were the technicians helping the doctor with the angiogram. The doctor was in the middle of putting the stent in when they flipped the image on the computer screen and he noticed something the doctor hadn’t. There were seven lesions and had the doctor completed placing the stent in, it would have caused a massive stroke because it would have blocked the blood flow from the main artery. The doctor quickly removed the stent and opted for a double bypass.
As Michael finished telling us this, he choked up. He said, “Brother Cornett, when I was your student I was struggling as a young man. I just want you to know how much your lessons meant to me. I drew strength from them, and the way you taught them. Now that I teach, I use that same pattern of teaching in my own lessons.” The spirit bore testimony to all of us that Michael was here at this moment to save my husband’s life, just as John had saved Michael’s spiritual life over 16 years ago. It was a powerful moment between them and I’m so grateful to have been there to feel that spiritual connection.
John had a successful open-heart (double by-pass) surgery and is recovering miraculously. He is strong and determined but still needs to take time and allow the internal healing to take place. We are so grateful for second chances.
John and Katrina...not taking life for granted.