My sweet Nancy

CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay – 8/6/2016

Dear Friends and Family,

Stephanie writing now. Other family members will also update on this site as we go along.  I know many of you are waiting patiently for an update.

Nancy’s current status: She is resting comfortably in the Cardiac ICU at the University of Minnesota Hospital (East Bank). She is sedated now and has been all along. She has a breathing tube and as well as other machines, including one to support her heart. Occasionally she wakes up a little bit, can look at us, squeeze a nurse’s hand, etc. They want her to rest and remain calm. This has been her main job since yesterday late afternoon after they got her stabilized. Tomorrow it is possible they will begin to remove some of her machines. The goal eventually is to remove everything necessary to MRI her heart.


No one knows why she went into cardiac arrest twice yesterday. She does not have a blockage of her heart; she did not have a heart attack..They knew that pretty much right away in the cath lab. So no explanation of why this happened. At least not yet.

The doctors have been very positive about how she is faring so far. Most everything has gone her way, I believe one doctor said today.  I’ll have my niece Tonya (who flew in from the east coast last night) update more about the medical aspects later tonight or tomorrow.  She’s an MD. My sister Cynthia is an MD, too, and has been here a lot yesterday and today with her spouse Kit.

So who else is here? Nancy’s son Dre, who lives in MN now, arrived almost right away yesterday. Nancy’s daughter Tina and her fiancé Jess flew in from Seattle yesterday early evening.  Nancy’s sister Jennifer arrived from California later last evening and pretty much sat up with Nancy all night while several of us caught a few winks in the family lounge just down the hall. Other friends and family have been in and out as well, including Tina and Dre’s dad Bruce. And our Pastor visited Nancy last night.

Tonight Jennifer and I will try to sleep all night at our house while Tonya stays in the ICU room with Nancy overnight. At least until Nancy is off the respirator, I’d like her to have a family member here with her in the room. Comfort for me for sure and, I believe, comfort for Nancy, too. She may not remember later, but she knows we are here now. Nancy’s nursing care here in the ICU is one-on-one. Amazing. Just incredible.

So what happened yesterday? Nancy and I have both had kinda nasty colds all week. Yesterday I woke up after her and she was sitting at the kitchen table working on her textbook. She looked like she was feeling better and reported feeling pretty good. We had coffee together. An hour or so later she was in her recliner in the living room, still working on her puter. She complained twice of feeling nauseated. We talked about that a little. I was getting ready to go out for about an hour or so. Then she said “I’m going to throw up” and came forward out of her chair. She wound up face down on the floor, and I couldn’t rouse her. I could see she was getting blue in the face, so I called 911. That was at 9:45 AM. After opening the front door, I flipped her over and, with the coaching of the 911 operator, began chest compressions. Her color improved almost immediately. The paramedics where there under 10 minutes is my guess. They took over and had to shock her heart 5 times to get it going again, which happened, as I understand it, in the ambulance just as we were leaving the house.

She went directly to the cath lab upon arrival at the U of M Hospital. No blockage found. Stabilized her and moved her to the Cardiac ICU. Around 3 o’clock she went into cardiac arrest again. There was very brief but very furious activity in her room (15 to 20 people in here!), and they got her heart going again. But her blood pressure was poor. So they prepared to take her back to the cath lab. The doctor said they would likely need to put her on a bypass machine to pump her heart for her. But she improved while they were prepping her, so they were able to use an intermediate intervention with a balloon pump up near her heart.  I’ll let Tonya tell you more about all that.

Then back up to the ICU unit by 6 pm or so. They worked to get her calm and sedated and things have been real calm for her ever since.

So we’ll see what tomorrow brings. She is not clear of the cardiac woods yet. Yesterday I thought three or four times, this is going to be the day my sweet Nancy dies. Today my feeling is that she will live. She’s tougher than you might know or think. Pray for her to be strong. Pray there are no insurmountable setbacks. The doctors say this will be a marathon, not a sprint.

More tomorrow or the next day from me. More from others soon, too, probably. We thank you for all your love and support.

Love, Stephanie


Leslie Wattles | Aug 10, 2016 12:09pm
Continuous love and prayers for you all.

Ann Limric | Aug 10, 2016 8:13am
I am so glad you were together that morning Stephanie. You saved your love’s life. My prayers for you both.

Marc Robinson | Aug 9, 2016 11:30pm
Thinking about and praying for Nancy, you, Stephanie, and the whole family. She is such a gentle, loving soul. Wishing you all healing, rest and peace.

Mark Becker | Aug 8, 2016 8:00pm
Prayers for you 2 my friend!

Jennifer Beran | Aug 8, 2016 12:45pm
Continued prayers for healing, strength, and hope! Jenni Beran

Sara Vergeldt | Aug 7, 2016 9:40pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Love – the Vergeldt family

Andrea Gleason | Aug 7, 2016 7:16pm
Stephanie — I just heard about nancy today on my way back from camping from Deborah.I prayed, my whole family is praying. I want to help so please don’t hesitate to get a hold of me for errands, rides, food, yard work, or just coffee. I love you two and hold nancy at the top of my prayer list. I’ll keep checking in with you.

Steffen Foss | Aug 7, 2016 4:47pm
Steph, sending much love and hopeful thoughts of recovery to you and Nancy. Relieved to read her medical care has been so thorough and glad to know she has so much love by her side during this time. Take care of yourselves. XO

Amy Boxrud | Aug 7, 2016 3:43pm
I was so sorry to read this news! Incredible that you were there, Steph, when it happened. Sending love and healing thoughts to you both.

JoAnn Johnson | Aug 7, 2016 1:24pm
Steph – We are in awe of your quick thinking and action that saved Nancy. We are in awe of your strength that has gotten you to this point on this journey. Your beautiful strong spirit and Nancy’s beautiful strong spirit will carry you both on the journey ahead. We are uplifted by Tonya’s report today of Nancy’s continued and steady progress. We love you both. We are holding you in our hearts. Love from JoAnn and Abby

Abby Brogden | Aug 7, 2016 1:16pm
Brave Steph, brave Nancy. All love, Abby

Anne Sabo | Aug 7, 2016 12:55pm
What a terrible shock! I’m feeling so far away right now, but am hugging you both in my heart. Love you!! Thank you so much for updating all of us who care so deeply about you and wishing so deeply for a smooth exit out of this scary ordeal, that the marathon may not be too excruciating.

Terry Aarsvold | Aug 7, 2016 12:16pm
Love and prayers !!!!

Dolores Peters | Aug 7, 2016 11:41am
To Nancy and all of those standing watch at the hospital: I hold you in my thoughts. Please know that so many others of us are standing watch, too, no matter where we are physically. Thank you for these updates. DAP (as Nancy knows me)

Susan Donohue | Aug 7, 2016 10:59am
What a blessing you were together in this terrifying ordeal. The universe loves you both so much. I agree that Nancy will soon be on her way to the next healing step. Know that I join your friends and family in sending all my love, faith and support. Here for you always, with love.

Chris Molyneux | Aug 7, 2016 9:52am
Nancy is in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the details.

Patricia Sween | Aug 7, 2016 9:21am
So pleased that you are seeing some stabilization and that so many friends and family are there. Thinking of you all with love and concern.

karla jean miller | Aug 7, 2016 9:12am
Dear friend, please know that I am wrapping Nancy up in prayers for strength, stamina, healing light and love. And for you, I pray that you can be held in the strength and nurture of others who care for both of you so much. You have beautiful family and friends at your side, remarkable medical care and so so much love that will carry you both through this marathon.
With much love,

Shirley Fasching | Aug 7, 2016 9:05am
Sending loving prayers for strength and courage throughout the upcoming days to both of you.

Kristo Sween | Aug 7, 2016 8:58am
The Swingles are sending prayers and positive thoughts! God is with you.

Barbara McCauley | Aug 7, 2016 8:43am
May God’s Holy Spirit surround and protect you dear Nancy!

Elizabeth Ankeny | Aug 7, 2016 8:37am
Praying for Nancy and for the circle of care and love around her. And has been said before, Stephanie, thank you for saving Nancy’s life! We know Nancy is strong and she has the best of care. May this be a day of grace and miracles.

Marcia Swinney-Shay | Aug 7, 2016 8:21am
Sending love, prayers and strength to both of you.

Debbie LeFever | Aug 7, 2016 8:00am
Thank you so much for the updates. I have known Nancy through grade school and on up. My prahers and thoughts go out to all.

Marte Hult | Aug 7, 2016 7:21am
Thank you for posting this update. So glad for you that you have family and friends with you at this very scary time, Steph. We send all our healing thoughts, prayers and love to you all.

Risa Shaw | Aug 7, 2016 5:58am
Sending so much love and strength to Nancy and to you Stephanie. And to the entire loving family with you both. Keeping you all in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. Xoxo Risa and Sharon.

Terry Kenck | Aug 7, 2016 12:59am
Praying constantly. Love to Nancy and to you all. Thank you Steph, for the update. May God grant you all the strength to continue in hopefulness.

Adria Ali | Aug 7, 2016 12:33am
Sending thoughts and prayers for Nancy and the family.

Gail Miller | Aug 7, 2016 12:32am
Thank you for the all the details. We are all praying for you all.

Jan Ellertson | Aug 6, 2016 11:59pm
We know how strong of a will she has???praying for you Nancy. Thank you Steph for saving her life….

Judy and Mark Tande | Aug 6, 2016 10:39pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Elaine Kinnard | Aug 6, 2016 10:38pm
Sending positive thoughts and prayers for our dear Nancy! And renewed strength for everyone who is caring for her. Love, Lain

Kari Dorer | Aug 6, 2016 10:20pm
Thanks for the update, Steph. We’re holding you all close to our hearts. Lots of hugs!

Mary Moen | Aug 6, 2016 10:14pm
Praying for you all!