Journal entry by Stephanie Fay —
Dear Family and Friends,
Nancy’s ICD (her internal defibrillator named Fiona) began giving Nancy’s shocks around 3 AM the night before last (March 18th). I called the paramedics, and we came by ambulance to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, just over a mile from where we are staying in Scottsdale. We’re here in Arizona spending time with my sister Elaine and brother Brad and their spouses Dave and Lisa.
On Saint Paddy’s Day, Nancy and I had an active day, doing our water aerobics thing in the morning and then spending 4 or 5 hours outside watching professional women’s golf in the afternoon. Then we went to a St Paddy’s day gathering at Brad and Lisa’s thru the evening. All seemed just fine when we went to bed around 11:30 pm. A few hours later, Fiona fired, waking us both us. Nancy was conscious this whole time; it took us until the second shock a few minutes later to really grasp what was going on. I called 911. She was transported the hospital ER where they quickly discovered she was very low on potassium and magnesium.
Within an hour or two, they admitted Nancy to the cardiac ICU. Her device continued to fire off and on all morning. At first Nancy would pass out very briefly and was not aware of what was happening and didn’t feel the shocks. But she was awake for the last several shocks, and clearly these were very painful. She had been told they would feel like being kicked by a horse and she reported that, indeed, they felt just like that. 🙁
Medically she was having PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) leading to ventricular tachycardia. Then a shock to get her heart back in normal rhythm. So Fiona saved her life over and over again. By mid-morning, the electrophysiologist doctor in charge decided they needed to intubate her in an attempt to control the arrests and give Nancy relief from the pain of the shocks. All that went well, and she’s been resting and sleeping quite continuously ever since. She wakes up enough to answer questions with nods and head shakes, and eventually, with yes-no questions, we are able to figure out what she wants. Though she won’t remember any of this, she is aware in the moment and clearly recognizes that family is here with her, responds to her nurses, etc. Every time I ask her if she is comfortable, she nods her head “yes.” And, thankfully, she had her last shock about 2 hours after going on intubation/sedation. So her last shock episode was around 1:30 PM yesterday. Fiona gave her over 30 shocks! Yay Fiona! But, seriously, Nancy doesn’t need any more of those for a good, long long while.
My family was here with us all of yesterday, and Nancy’s sister Jennifer flew in from California around 6 PM. Tina and her spouse Jessica and Andreas and his girlfriend Greta arrived by midnight, Tine & Jess flying in from Seattle and Dre & Greta from Minnesota. The kids stayed at the hospital overnight with their Mom while Jennifer and I got some sleep. Jen & I are now back at the hospital waiting for the docs to round while the kids get some sleep. My sibs and in-laws have been working logistics of places to stay and all that. So we are extremely well looked after!!
Like the U of MN cardiac ICU, the nursing care here is amazing. Nearly 1 on 1 patient coverage and very attentive. And her main electricity doc (“Doctor Z”) is super on top of things. I’ll try to send another update on her status after the various doctors see her today. Indications yesterday were that she would be on the ventilator with sedation for 2 to 3 days.
Both Nancy and I thank you for your outpouring of love and support. Yet again. As she recovered at home in August of 2016, Nancy loved to read thru the comments posted on her CaringBridge site, always crying and even laughing a little. So feel free to type away, smart off or however the spirit moves ya! 🙂 And, of course, please spread the word about Nancy to other family and friends.
Much love from Scottsdale! Hoping for a restful day ahead for my sweet Nancy.
Sheila Hoffman|Mar 19, 2018
Such scary news, Stephanie, but relieved to read you sounding so positive about everything. Glad she is receiving excellent care. Sending love to her and you and all who gather around her there! –Sheila and Art
Donna Dingle|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy – get well soon! Thinking of you and Stephanie!! Good healing thoughts coming your way.
Jane Summers|Mar 19, 2018
Wow. So sorry to hear this but very thankful that Fiona took her job so seriously. Will keep you all in my prayers for healing. Much love.
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy – So glad to know that Fiona did you well, and that she’s stopped for now so you can rest and hopefully find a steady path back to health and retirement fun. Kathy
Rob Lubke|Mar 19, 2018
Stephanie…I know that she is in the best possible hands. You both are in my prayers.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 19, 2018
Hello Nancy and Stephanie! Thank you for the posting with details. Fiona is a trooper! Keeping it up until Nancy could take over :). I am glad that Nancy is resting and able to answer questions. Saying lots of prayers for comfort and healing — missing you. Lotsa Luv — Ann
Connie Ford|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Your spirit of adventure overachieved again! Knock it off! Seriously, prayers, hugs and immense gratitude for Fiona, Stephanie and the rest of your loving family are coming your way.
Pat Herrington|Mar 19, 2018
I will keep you all in my thoughts. Good job Fiona and Nancy you will need to kick someone back when you are feeling up to it! Get rest and get well!
Patricia Sween|Mar 19, 2018
Stephanie and Nancy – sending love, prayers, and good vibes to you! Thanks for any and all updates. And, Nancy, in a word…Uffda! Hoping you are soon back to your sweet self!
Brad Wahlberg|Mar 19, 2018
Wow, Nancy! What a wild way to end St Patrick’s day? So thankful Fiona did her job, maybe the gelling of getting kicked by a horse is to remind you of being alive! I’ve been kicked by a horse and felt the opposite. (Sorry If too soon for a small humorous attempt).Thanks for the update Steph, as always, my thoughts are with you both!
Lynda Hirschboeck|Mar 19, 2018
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about this, but am glad that you were in such a good place if it had to happen. Wishing you both all the best, and hurry back. We miss you here, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the retreat in April.
Bo Aylin|Mar 19, 2018
Sending warm, healing thoughts your way, Nancy! Hoping you’ll be back out enjoying the Arizona sun very soon!
From all of us at PrairieView.
Susan Hadley|Mar 19, 2018
Steph and Nancy,
I heard the news from Kit–and now from Steph. So glad you are in expert hands and care. My prayers are with you and the family.
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
Kjære dere! Så fryktelig dramatisk. Men fantastisk at Fiona var på plass og klar til å gjøre jobben sin! Tusen takk for din grundige og modige rapport, Stephanie. Masse kjærlighet og tanker fra Biri, Norge!
Pamela Itzin|Mar 19, 2018
Well my dear, many blessings (amidst the curses), WOW. Thank goodness for Fiona, but yes, she can go on vacation now. Sounds like your med team is wonderful, thankfully you were so close to this quality care. Be well soon! Sending love and a big hug.
Sigrun Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
Now again! Good you had Fiona. But it must have been a chock to you too Stephanie. Seems that you have good care and medical help. Best wishes from Asbjørn and me. We will tell family about your stay in Arizona. We will think of you good people.
Jonathan O|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and positive energy to you both. Our hearts are with you. We are flying back to Minnesota tomorrow and will be ready if there is anything we can do for you. We are glad that Nancy is being well cared for, and we hope you can all get some rest. Warm hugs—Jonathan (and Eric)
Carole Vergeldt|Mar 19, 2018
Get well soon Nancy
Peter Spuit|Mar 19, 2018
May Nancy receive the very best care, and may that care return her to good and stable health. And May Stephanie, and all who love Stephanie receive support and assurance in these hours and days. God’s peace be with you.
Margaret O|Mar 19, 2018
So happy she’s in good medical hands–and that she had you, Steph, with your presence of mind to call 911 right away. Sending much love!
Deborah Padgett|Mar 19, 2018
This was shocking news in my Monday email! I panicked a bit as I re-opened my Caring Bridge account after so long. I am so sorry Nancy is being repeatedly kicked by this horse (but I’m also grateful Fiona is there to do her essential job!). Michael and I will be holding both of you close to our hearts and we’ll be hoping for a speedy and full recovery. I’m glad you were close to such good care. Lots and lots of love to both of you.
Roberta Lentz|Mar 19, 2018
Thoughts and prayers. Please continue to let us know Nancy’s progress. Love the name Fiona! Thanks Fiona for saving Nancy’s life!
Lori Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
I love you Nancy and sending prayers and good thoughts your way.
karla jean miller|Mar 19, 2018
Oh Stephanie! Holding you and dear Nancy in love and light. Sending healing thoughts and gratitude for Fiona.
Nancy Haddorff|Mar 19, 2018
Amen for Fiona! Thinking of you both and sending lots of love and light to you! Please let us know if we can help in anyway, although I am flying to Minnesota from March 20-27th.
Pat Saltsman|Mar 19, 2018
Love to both of you. Give her a big hug from me. Thank you for keeping us posted. Prayers for both of you. Thank goodness Fiona was awake to take care of her!! I love the name Fiona..
Jillian Hiscock|Mar 19, 2018
Love you ladies lots. Thinking about you constantly and glad you’re surrounded by such amazing family and friends.
Pete Newburg|Mar 19, 2018
Healing and love from the Newburg house!
Brian Cote|Mar 19, 2018
A friend recently commented about another friend whose had 3 or 4 tragedies in his family, in his short 18 years of life: “God, what the heck?” As good a prayer as any, I suppose. The Brian and Karen Cote family will add others to the mix for ya’ll, Nancy and Steph.
Janet Scannell|Mar 19, 2018
Good going, Fiona! I’ll be thinking of you both. I hope Nancy heals quickly and well. Tell Nancy that I said: some people tour the baseball stadiums across the country; she’s the first person I’ve heard of who is trying to collect hospitals across the country.
Karen Duzenbery|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! I am praying for you and will spread the word to family. Stephanie, thank you for the thorough recap. Korliss is flying out today to AZ with a friend not sure where they will be but I will get the word to her about Nancy.
Kristin and Jean Kristin and Jean|Mar 19, 2018
Thanks for letting us know! I like that Fiona. Sounds like she is a bit of an over achiever. Sending you love and prayers for healing in the days ahead.
Jan Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
So glad to hear Fiona did the job. Love and prayers to you for a speedy recovery. We are all cheering for you from the northwest 💓💓💓
Julie Baumann|Mar 19, 2018
Dear Nancy, the Baumann-Shinefields are sending healing prayers your way. We are going to Scottsdale on Sunday for a week of spring break. Hope to see you and Stephanie then.
Daniel Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
Love ya Aunt Nancy, Aunt Steph, and fam! Glad she’s surrounded by family smiling at her. She’ll tough this out and come out on top as usual. Let’s get her better so she can watch Blazers outlast the T-wolves in the playoffs! 🙂
Mandy Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
Scott and I are thinking about you all and send our love. We are glad the kids made it to Arizona and that Stephanie was so on top of the situation.
Carl Hokanson|Mar 19, 2018
Love and prayers for you all from the Hokansons!
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, we are with you in spirit! After you two are through roaming, I am hoping for more Como Park aerobics and a Trivial Pursuit contests🌝. Seriously, rest and let your family and friends (which number in the thousands), shower love and care on you. We love you both❣️
Elaine Kinnard|Mar 19, 2018
We are thankful to be here with Nancy and Steph. Praying for a full recovery for her 💗
Anne Sabo|Mar 19, 2018
Thank god for Fiona. Though being kicked by a horse 30 times sounds like medieval torture. You are my hero for still smiling, Nancy. Love you!!! And thank you Steph for again being there for her and yet again doing the right thing right away. Thanks for posting too so we can keep you close in our hearts. Love you both! <3 <3 <3
Jeanne Eberhart|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Stephanie,
I’m so sorry to hear of your health crisis, Nancy,. I’m glad you had Stephanie there and that the cardiac healthcare is so superb in Scottsdale. It was two years ago, early May, 2016, that I too had a cardiac episode— mine required replacing my aortic valve. You give us all courage. I will keep you in heart and mind until you are out of there, though it sounds like a fine place! You and I will keep on truckin’ for Andreas, Jacob, ‘Tina and Noah—and of course for Stephanie and Jerry.
Shelley Picou|Mar 19, 2018
WOW! Sending you love and prayers. Glad you are surrounded by lots of family. Much love, Shelley and Tony 💕
Jen Larsen Newburg|Mar 19, 2018
We are sending you so much love and strength! You are in our hearts and minds, and we are so glad that you have excellent care.
Marsha Foss|Mar 19, 2018
Thank you for keeping us all informed. You are both in my laps (swimming laps for you with extra energy). Love, Marsha
Mary Lundberg|Mar 19, 2018
UFFDA Nancy!!! I am so thankful for the amazing medical care and Gods healing grace you are getting!!! Blessings and love, Mary
Linda Silver|Mar 19, 2018
I love that you call your ICD, ” Fiona”! When Spence had an early model in the early 90s, it was the size of a pack of cards in his belly. When that thing went off it was indeed like getting kicked by a team of horses. So glad that Fiona was alive and kicking! Love to you both, Linda
Liz Hawkinson|Mar 19, 2018
Prayers and warmest wishes for your healing. Glad the kids are with you and Steph. Love to you all!
Lisa Webster|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying for you! Love you lots! Sounds like you didn’t miss much in last night’s Gopher game. I was too tired to stay awake for a 9:30 game. Checked the score this morning. Ouch!
Kari Lipke|Mar 19, 2018
Joanne and I pray for your strong recovery, Nancy.
Gloria Betcher|Mar 19, 2018
I’m relieved to hear that Fiona did her job and that Nancy is resting well, Stephanie. Even though I’ve never met your lovely wife, I’ll be sending positive vibes from Iowa to get her on her feet again. ~~~~~~~~ There are so many better ways to spend time in Scottsdale!
Tara Daly|Mar 19, 2018
Thank heavens for good friends like Fiona!! I am Glad you are there and in such good hands… medically and with family! Our thoughts and prayers are with you… keep up the good work, Fiona!
Su Smallen|Mar 19, 2018
Goodness Gracious! Thank you Stephanie for posting this and for being there – again – to call 911. Nancy! I’m glad you are in good hands, and you have family around you. I hope you get good rest, and heal! A prayer and a hug for each of you!
Lynn Kier|Mar 19, 2018
I bow down to FIONA!! Thank you for the update. I am grateful she is surrounded with so much love. HUG
Debra Taylor|Mar 19, 2018
Sending healing wishes to Nancy. You are both blessed to have each other to take such good care of the other.
Judith Tande|Mar 19, 2018
It seems like just yesterday that we were all at the zoo in San Diego and you were telling us how wonderful it was that Fiona had never had to activate! We’re so sorry that you both had to go through this but glad that you’re in such good hands medically and surrounded by loved ones. Sending love and prayers to you.
Randi Jeeps|Mar 19, 2018
Sending lots of love to you all. What a lovely big extended family…including the shocking Fiona! Keeping you all in our thoughts and wishing you all the best.
jeb media|Mar 19, 2018
So very sorry to learn that Nancy is in the cardiac ICU. I am guessing that means you haven’t heard the latest basketball news. So here it is: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State won their opening round NCAA tournament matchups Friday and Saturday to advance to the Round of 32. My Terps fell to NC State and Baylor beat Michigan. Your Gophers saw their run come to an end after a 101-73 loss to second-seeded Oregon Sunday night in Eugene. But that was the best finish for you in nine years. Ohio State plays Central Michigan tonight. I’m guessing they will make it to the Round of 16. I’m hoping Nancy will be able to watch the Elite 8 , Final 4 and Championship game. Sending lots of love and healing energy to you both.
John Eric Rolfstad|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Steph—Thank you for the detailed information on Nancy’s condition. Thank God for Fiona! I am so glad Nancy is getting top-notch care and being surrounded by family. I hold you both in my heart and in my prayers.
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Mar 19, 2018
Sending prayers for healing and hugs your way. Take care. Thanks for the update.
Susan Donohue|Mar 19, 2018
Well that’s a helluva way to finish your winter vacation! Not so relaxing. It must have been frightening for you both. I am so sorry, Nancy. You are in the best of care, and loving arms. They will get it all figured out and you will be on to your next adventure. Meanwhile, Fiona is my new hero. Much love and many, many blessings on you. You are in my thoughts.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 19, 2018
Startling events! Wow! Dear precious Nancy, know that you in our prayers, on our hearts! Lovingly, Barbara and Gary
Joan Haan|Mar 19, 2018
So grateful Fiona is “faithful 💯 “
Sending prayers for strength and healing,
Joan & Phil
Heather Campbell|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Stephanie: I’ve been thinking about you all day. I hope that this all is quickly resolved, Nancy heals, and you can be off exploring and having new adventures. Thank you for the information, as I”m sure that this is an extremely difficult time. Best, Heather Campbell
Marcia Swinney-Shay|Mar 19, 2018
I’m so thankful for Fiona–however painful her shocks may have been. Sending lots of love, prayers, and healing energy your way.
Georg Ann Burns|Mar 19, 2018
Love and prayers to you both and your loving families. I’m stopping short of blaming this on the leprechauns. 😁😁😁. Much love from here.
Claudia Gordon|Mar 19, 2018
Wow! What an unexpected e-mail! Your emotions have gone into overdrive and understandably so. Thank you Fiona and thank you Stephanie! What life savers! My positive thoughts and prayers go out to all of you! ……Claudia
Lisa Cohen|Mar 19, 2018
Amy & I are thinking of you and sending positive energy your way. So glad you were close to great medical care.
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 19, 2018
Way to go, Fiona! When we first started reading your posting we thought, “What an unusual name for a medical device. Those marketing departments are very creative.” Quickly realizing, though, where the creativity lies. Our prayers are that Nancy’s recovery flows as smoothly as Stephanie’s writing. You are wonderful people.
Phyllis and Allen
Melanie Ruda|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying with you this evening and always. A team of two more tenacious, loving, joyful, faithful women would be hard to find. May you both, and all who surround you, receive what you need to sustain you in these challenging days.
Peace and love, Katia and Melanie
Sue Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Love and hugs Nancy! Fiona, you rock! Thank you for the updates Stephanie.
Nonny Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Prayers for healing being offered!! Good that Fiona can take a little rest, but also good that she doesn’t seem to get tired!! May you both be surrounded with love and faith. Blessings to you two, and to all of your gathered family!!. Nonny and Murray
Heather Ferguson|Mar 19, 2018
Hi Nancy and Stephanie, thoughts + prayers to you and the whole family. So glad you were with family, and that your kids/their spouses are there now too. Take care, love to all!
Denise Swanson|Mar 19, 2018
So glad the device works and you are there for her. Glad they could relieve her pain, the horse kicks are for real. Will keep you all in our prayers.
Laureen Schott-Jacobson|Mar 19, 2018
Sending prayers for healing and a quick recovery.
Steffen Foss|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and hugs to you both! I am always thinking of the two of you this time of year as the WBB tourney kicks into gear. Such fond memories of watching games together and enjoying great company. Best wishes for a quick and successful recovery, Nancy.
Lori Best|Mar 19, 2018
So grateful for such amazing medical technology and good care. Sending prayers of healing, patience, and smooth/swift recovery….
Brenda McKinney|Mar 19, 2018
Thank you for flagging this on Facebook. Sending positive thoughts and strength. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.
Tara Daly|Mar 19, 2018
Love and lots of prayers from Dolly and Gary as well… they couldn’t open the caring bridge page so I read it to them and will keep them updated and they will keep praying!!
Kim Hegge|Mar 19, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Nancy is a stubborn Norwegian so I think things will be fine. Vikings rules!
Erica Kragerud-Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Sending lots of thanks for technological advances and more prayers for continued healing Nancy! Sending strength and patience to Stephanie, the nurses, doctors and all those taking care of you too!
Dolores Peters|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! It’s not good to scare the stuffing out of us on campus. Hugs & kisses from the DH Team! We–and anyone else on campus who’s gotten the news–are all thinking of you and Stephanie and your families. I hope you get the OK from the docs soon. And please tell Fiona the over-achiever that she should behave herself. Here’s to a clean bill of health very soon! Dolores
Maria Kelly|Mar 19, 2018
Peter and I are thinking of you both and hope Nancy is back to full strength soon. Team Mostly Goats has many more rounds of trivia to win and we need her!
Love, love, love, from Michigan.
Kelly Kloos|Mar 19, 2018
Thinking of you! Sending healing prayers and hugs your way Nancy.
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 19, 2018
Thanks for letting me know about Nancy. So glad Fiona is watching out for her but tell her to just hang around and give her a break. Hugs to both of you. 😷😧💉🚑🏥get better soon! Kathy
Martha Morrow|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and healing vibes from St. Peter . Nancy, I really had fun watching the Norwegians do so well in the Olympics🎉
Anna Rustad|Mar 19, 2018
I was surprised to see this post, and thank god for Fiona! I hope for continued healing and comfort, no more shocks. All of my love to you both.
Nancy Montgomery|Mar 19, 2018
Oh, my gosh! Thanks for Fiona! Give her our love. How thankful we are for the wonderful medical facilities and the staff that are caring for her. Our love to you, too, Stephanie, as you care for the love of your life. We love you. Nancy and Chris
Jan Yaeger|Mar 19, 2018
Hi Nancy – It’s Bruce’s cousin Jan, sending lots of good thoughts from Alaska! I am happy to hear Fiona did her job but I hope you and she can get back to a more peaceful and comfortable co-existence soon!
Terry Kenck|Mar 19, 2018
Dear Nancy, Praying for your quick and complete recovery and stunned by news of this episode. You are such a special person to me; I always love the family events when our paths cross and we get to talk a little. I am glad you have so many of your beloved family right there with you. My Dad went over to be with your Dad today , he told me, as we all wait for further news and hopefully good news of your recovery. God bless and hold you close. Love , Terry
Elaine Kinnard|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying for you, Nancy!
Dana Whitford|Mar 19, 2018
Sending healing thoughts and good energy your way! You still owe me a visit when you are out here!😄
Andrea Nixon|Mar 21, 2018
Thank you so much for the account and updates, Stephanie. Our love to you both!