Nancy came off the ventilator by mid-afternoon. She’s doing great with that — and her voice is nearly back to normal already. About an hour ago they removed the balloon pump supporting her heart. Also flying colors with that! She’ll need to rest motionless and easy on her back for 6 hours while the insertion site heals. Tomorrow morning, she’ll be able to get out of bed. Yay! Due to her remarkable recovery, she only spent around 60 hours on the ventilator — her shortest stint ever with that ol’ machine, as best I recall.
From what I’ve gleaned from the doctors so far today, she will likely remain in the cardiac ICU until at least Tuesday. The Monday ablation is now up in the air. The electrophysiologists are concerned they won’t be able to locate the area where the PVC originates because, yet again, it has completely disappeared. And there are risks in trying to induce the PVCs, they say, including inadvertently starting another “storm.” Ablation or otherwise, Nancy will get a NEW Fiona, most likely on Tuesday. The battery life on Fiona the Defibrillator is under 6 months now. High time for a new one! And she will upgrade to one with two leads into the heart instead of the single lead she has now. Both Nancy and I are relieved the new ICD will have several fresh years of battery life. But will this one have a NEW name??? How about some suggestions, all you clever folks out there? 🙂
That’s it from here at the hospital this evening. Nancy is just winding up a sweet phone conversation with her sweet Dad. She’s off all pain medications now and having a few vivid though happy dreams when she dozes off. I’m asking the universe and all interested parties for a calm and restful night of sleep for my sweet bride tonight.
And the same to all of you out there following along. Nancy wants me to read to her from these Caring Bridge posts now. A fine and fun way to bring this astounding day to a calm close.
Much love from Nancy and Stephanie
Nancy M. | Dec 15, 2019 So happy to hear that Nancy is doing so well! What a time she has had. She has a great support system with you and all of her family surrounding her with love. What an important part of recovery: Being surrounded by loved ones. Know that Chris and I are keeping you in our hearts.
Su S. | Dec 15, 2019 Here’s a name suggestion: Cordelia. Cordelia is a feminine given name. … The name is of uncertain origin. It is popularly associated with Latin cor (genitive cordis) “heart”, and has also been linked with the Welsh name Creiddylad, allegedly meaning “jewel of the sea”, but it may derive from the French coeur de lion “heart of a lion”.
Michelle F. |Dec 15, 2019 So glad to hear she is off the ventilator; those look scary, but of course we are grateful for such equipment. A name that comes to mind for the new one is Frida.
José M. | Dec 14, 2019 So happy to hear that progress is being made. My thoughts are with you both everyday for a speedy, healthy recovery. Sending you both virtual, energy-filled hugs!
Colleen A. | Dec 14, 2019 Fabulous news!!!
Hanna E. | Dec 14, 2019 P.S. Regarding the new name: Panacea, goddess of the cure by medicines and salves. Love,Hanna
Amy B. | Dec 14, 2019 Thanks for these updates. I’m so glad Nancy’s situation continues to improve. Thinking of you both and sending love from Northfield. Regarding the new name: Maybe something Norse this time around…How about Frigg?
Patricia S. | Dec 14, 2019 Such good news, you two!! The prayers and good vibes are still coming your way. They’re sent with bunches of love and hugs from us!! 💕💕💕
Susan D. | Dec 14, 2019 So relieved and thrilled to hear this good news. Very happy for you both. Every day I ask the Universe to guide you and keep you both safe. I am kind of liking Scarlett for a name. Some fierce beauties did that name proud. Sending all love to you both, always.
Barbara T. | Dec 14, 2019 Nancy you are one strong woman with a legion of followers. You are missing another arctic blast. Hope they find the spot Fiona doesn’t like. I vote for Charlotte, one determined heroine.
Debra T. | Dec 14, 2019 I’m glad Nancy is improving. And much faster than anticipated? How great! Thanks for the updates. As far as a name for the new Fiona, in keeping with the hard F sound, perhaps Pheobe. Or, some dictionaries say a meaning of Cora is “heart”. Greetings to you & Nancy. 🧡💜💛💚💙
Kari O | Dec 14, 2019 Sean let me know what was going on, so I read up on the latest and greatest adventures. I am so sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like things are heading exactly where they need to go, which is back to a normal and healthy Nancy with a device that is doing its job calmly and quietly in the background. As you well know, Greg and I are also members of the club. It sucks. You never know when it will happen or even if it will happen. And in your case, in what state or country it will happen! Reading your posts, Steph, it reminded me so much of all the positives. It reminded me that you can find joy anywhere if you have the right people with you. And that you can have joy in life despite not knowing what happens next. Thank you so much for that! Much love and hugs from Kari, Greg, and twins PS, Greg will no doubt be formulating a sassy comment once he gets up to speed on the latest posts, stay tuned!
Vicki O. | Dec 14, 2019 Good Morning, Great to hear of Nancy’s progress. You’re both in my thoughts and prayers.
Deborah P. | Dec 14, 2019 Good Morning you two! Such impressive progress. I’m grateful for your spunk and resilience. I’m thinking the name RITA MAE might fit. As in Rita Mae Brown (strong, smart, funny, tough and won’t take any crap. ) I’m retreating in silence today at Shambala Center. You can bet I will hold you as my dear one. 🙏💕
Jeanne E. | Dec 14, 2019 We are so glad to hear things are progressing so well and so quickly. How nice that “Fiona” gets to retire after time well-served. Jeanne and Jerry
Pamela I. | Dec 14, 2019 My dear Nancy, you really are a Wonder Woman and I couldn’t think of a better name than Xena for your new device. But it will be fun to hear other suggestions and final answer. Keep moving forward; won’t walking feel marvelous!! Stephanie thanks for the prompt updates, I eagerly anticipate reading these and wrapping prayers around your words. Sending my love to you both.
Kari D. | Dec 14, 2019 Yay! Thanks for the update!
Betsy E. | Dec 14, 2019 For the new defibrillator, how about Xena, as in Xena, Warrior Princess? Because that is the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Nancy and her journey with her heart issues. Love to you both, Betsy
Mary C. | Dec 14, 2019 So happy to hear the good news!
Ann D. | Dec 14, 2019 Atta way, Nancy!! Show ’em how it’s done! So happy that you are making great progress. You’ll feel so good when you can get up and walk around again! No running! ♥️😊🤗
Maria K. | Dec 14, 2019 Way to go, Nancy! Team KellyLargenKelvakis is rooting for you!
Lynn K. | Dec 14, 2019 Great news. Thank you.
Liv D. | Dec 14, 2019 So happy to read the good news! How about Flo as the new name?
Denise S. | Dec 14, 2019 Yay, all this news sounds good. Will keep up the prayers for a smooth ICD update. Rest and get stronger.
Terry K. | Dec 13, 2019 Hi Nancy and Stephanie. So happy you are improving! You are so brave ! You are so often in our thoughts and prayers and conversations and you have many cousins cheering you on! You are very much loved! ❤️Terry
Sandi P. | Dec 13, 2019 She’s a tough nut alright! So glad things are going well and she is on the road to recovery. We’ll continue to keep you both in our thoughts and prayers.
Nancy’s tour of large American city Cardiac ICUs continues… and she, once again, is on the her remarkable road to recovery. Although she is still supported by the balloon pump in her heart and the ventilator, her trajectory today, according to the various doctors rounding on her and her main nurse (Erin), has been only positive.
She’s been busy writing to all of us here on a small whiteboard, her clever sense of humor and pure joy in life visibly intact. It’s a sight to behold!
Here’s the current plan. The electrophysiocardiologist (EP doc) wants to do an ablation on Monday to eliminate the PVC that is the precursor to Nancy’s device storms. His lab is over at the main hospital at the University of WASHINGTON, and so the plan is to move her from Harborview over to that hospital later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, Nancy’s main job is to continue her recovery. So one step at a time here. But things are looking up, and I’m feeling quite positive and hopeful.
Thanks for all of your sweet and supportive replies! Once she’s more alert, we will enjoy reading your responses together. Nancy will so enjoy reading them (and replying!) when she’s able to use her computer again.
Tina and Jess are here again today, of course. Nancy’s brother Jeff drove up from southern Washington and stayed with Nancy at the hospital overnight last night. My sister Elaine and brother Bradley flew in from Arizona last night as well. And Andreas and Greta (the newlyweds!) flew in this morning. And Nancy’s longtime friend Kari Lipke paid an afternoon visit as well. All such wonderful people who show up for us over and over again. We are grateful!!!
Much love to all! Nancy & Stephanie
Joan L. | Dec 13, 2019 We met at the wedding last weekend (I am Chrissie’s high school friend from So CA), and are all on the Nancy team! Lots of prayers and good wishes for restored health and good healing are being sent toward Seattle, Nancy, and hugs all around for your family and loved ones there supporting you. ❤️
Mark & Barb E. | Dec 13, 2019 Sorry to hear the trouble you’re having but glad things are improving. Sounds like you’ll be out of the hospital soon. Hugs!
Denise S. | Dec 13, 2019 Sending prayers and thinking of you. Much love to you both.
Kelly K. | Dec 13, 2019 So glad to her your on your way to recovery Nancy! Keep up the good work and I will continue to send you healing thoughts, prayers, and hugs.
Susan H. | Dec 13, 2019 Much relieved about Nancy’s progress. Love and prayers to you both.
Kim H. | Dec 13, 2019 Great news! You all will remain in my thoughts and prayers for a great recovery!
Jonathan O | Dec 13, 2019 So glad that Nancy is recovering, that you are surrounded by love, and that you are in the care of excellent professionals. Sending love and thoughts of healing. May the procedure go smoothly and effectively. Much love!
Nancy H. | Dec 13, 2019 Tremendous news! Continue to heal and be well. Hugs to both of you – love Nancy and Jody
Judith T. | Dec 13, 2019 So glad to hear that you have so much love and support there for you both! Sending virtual hugs and prayers!
Jeanne E. | Dec 13, 2019 Thank you so much for the beautifully written update. Everything is so well-explained, with warmth and gratefulness in every word. How can I will Nancy strength, patience and humor when she has so much of her own?
I met Nancy in the 1980s and early ‘90s at St. Olaf College. My sons, Jacob and Noah, were born at about the same time as Andreas and Tina. I remember what they felt like in my arms. Though we moved to Philadelphia (Go Eagles!) and now Boston, we cherished Nancy’s Xmas letters and admired her pioneering work on Norwegian language textbooks. Through the years, we enjoyed reading FB updates too. Her humor, gentle wisdom, kindness, and love of family were always evident.
In a kind of coincidence, Nancy had her first heart incident a few months after I had one. (A sudden and traumatic—to me—need for an aortal valve replacement.) When I read those 2016 CaringBridge reports of her recovery, as beautifully written as these, I knew it was the same Nancy I had known. You are blessed to have her and she, to have all of you.
Right now, I can hear the happy and kindly laugh, which made our every Northfield, MN gathering a better one, just as I see her beating every last one of us at Scrabble. These sometimes happened concurrently. Did I mention we also admired her brains?
Love, Jeanne (and Jerry), Jacob & Noah
Kari L. | Dec 12, 2019 So loved seeing you today, Nancy — especially the twinkle in your eye. ❤️
Eric S. | Dec 12, 2019 Awesome news. Thanks for keeping us updated!
Liz H. | Dec 12, 2019 Good, good news. Nancy, you are resilient! You are loved. ♥️
Ann D. | Dec 12, 2019 Very encouraging news 😊. Sending love and healing thoughts.
Stephanie F. | Dec 12, 2019 U of Washington is where she is moving, NOT Minnesota.
Su S. | Dec 12, 2019 Hi Steph- thanks for the good news! I’m really glad you and Nancy are surrounded by family and friends. More prayers and healing thoughts on the wing.
Andrea G. | Dec 12, 2019 Love to you both. Praying for Nancy’s road to recovery. I am thinking about you so much and wish I could give you both a huge hug… sending them from afar. Love, Andrea ❤️
Vicki O. | Dec 12, 2019 Hi Steph, sorry to hear about this. We just got back to AZ. The best to you and Nancy. Keep us posted.
Maria K. | Dec 12, 2019 I can visualize Nancy writing little quips on that white board. Her bravery (and Stephanie’s!) continues to amaze me. If you have to travel a rocky road, how wonderful to have your team fall in with back up and so much love. You got this, Nancy, and we gots you!♡♡♡
Kit H. | Dec 12, 2019 I’m so relieved to hear this. I’ve been thinking about all of you and sending my love. Kit
Susan D. | Dec 12, 2019 My goodness, dear friends. Soon you will be enjoying the sun in southern California I hope that day comes quickly. You are both in my prayers and in my thoughts. with love always, susan
Michelle F. | Dec 12, 2019 Does this mean you are flying to MN and when? Thank you for keeping us updated. You have both been on my mind and heart all day! Love you!
Liv D. | Dec 12, 2019 Absolutely delighted about the positive news!
Robin K. | Dec 12, 2019 Such positive news. Hoping the progress continues. Love you both tons!!!
Pamela I. | Dec 12, 2019 Really good news. Give Nancy and yourself a loving hug from me. That woman is a wonder! BTB Claire’s “train car” for a class project had the Wonder Woman logo drawn on it. The train to recovery.
Mary Ellen E. | Dec 12, 2019 You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care Nancy.
Hanna E. | Dec 12, 2019 Thank you for the positive update! I am happy to hear she is in good spirits, and will continue to send positive healing thoughts. Love to you both!
Yes, “blowy” is an actual word — I just looked it up! 🙂
Nancy continues to do well with her recovery — lots of walks to regain her strength and getting out and about on errands, appointments and so forth, too.
Last week we knew Nancy had appointments at the U of M on Monday and Wednesday but we actually went over there for 4 days in a row — Monday thru Thursday. Overall, every appointment was heartening. Such compassionate cardiac doctors and device nurses. Here are a few of the things we learned:
Nancy had an echocardiogram to check on the strength of her heart both generally and after sustaining those 52 Fiona shocks. Her ejection fraction is 65% — this is excellent! Nancy does not have heart failure. Nor does she have CAD (coronary artery disease). Nancy’s heart issues are purely electrical in nature. This why her original event was called a sudden cardiac arrest, not a heart attack (or MI). Her “plumbing” is good! This heart issue remains purely “electrical.”
Nancy is taking a pretty heavy duty antiarrythmia drug called Amiodarone. She was on it during her first hospital stay, but they weaned her off it before discharge. This time she remained on the drug at discharge. Her electrophysiologist here, Dr Roukoz, wants to wean her off it again slowly — over a period of months. This drug has some side effects, so it’s not terrific for long-term use, especially in someone as young as Nancy, he said. Meanwhile, he ran some baseline blood tests, and Nancy had a breathing test, too, to establish a baseline for her lungs. So they will monitor all that closely.
The PVC (premature ventricular contraction) that led to all the ventricular tachycardia (which led to the Fiona firings) is now only present in Nancy’s heart rhythm ONCE per hour on average. This is a good thing! However, this also means that having an ablation to try to stop this particular PVC is not a possibility. It has to be present in order to ablate it. Dr Roukoz said doing the procedure with those few PVCs would take hours and hours! Meanwhile, he is having Nancy wear a fancy, newer type of Holter device for 48 hours to gather all the information he can about her heart and this particular PVC.
Dr Roukoz talked to us extensively about potassium. Nancy’s potassium and magnesium were very low at hospital admission for both cardiac events. He wants her to continue to take a potassium supplement and to eat a potassium-rich diet and stay well hydrated with water and electrolyte drinks. He said that some people are very sensitive to low potassium, and that likely Nancy is. And he wants to reduce this “trigger” to her PVCs as much as possible.
Dr Roukoz has advised no travel for at least 3 months! Nancy may get a special dispensation to fly out to Portland for her Dad’s 90th birthday party in June, depending on how she’s feeling and how things are going. Roukoz especially doesn’t want her to travel after any Amiodarone reductions. The next step down of that won’t be until mid-July. So, there’s a good chance we won’t be leaving the state of Minnesota for much of 2018, which, aside from one summer trip to Norway and a few trips to see family that we’ve had to postpone, is okay with us.
Nancy and I are both tremendously relieved to be home, back in the capable and compassionate hands of her cardiac caregivers, and just 7 miles away from the University of Minnesota Hospital!
Both Dr Roukoz and Dr Bartos (her regular cardiologist) indicated that Nancy’s long-term prognosis is very good. They expect her to make a full recovery and, over a period of months, get back to her full and active life.
In the short term, both Nancy and I remain quite anxious about another Fiona storm coming over the horizon. But we (and the docs!) know a lot more about her storms now. Dr Roukoz said he would recommend intubation and sedation as soon as possible after the very first shock if it were to happen again. He and Bartos feel that part of her storm cycle was the normal surge of adrenaline causing additional heart irritability. So sedation would interrupt that cycle quickly — and also give Nancy relief from Fiona.
Nancy’s also taking a beta blocker called Metoprolol. This is a very common drug for heart issues. They doubled her dose during and after this hospital stay, and it appears that its side affects (lightheadedness from lowered heart rate and low blood pressure) may be affecting Nancy a few times per 24 hours. Dr Roukoz said that he could lower that dose as well if she continues to have issues. It’s certainly affecting her quality of life at the moment and, since feeling lightheaded and nauseous was a precursor to both her big events, it’s just generally alarming.
Folks often have a PTSD reaction after their ICDs (Fiona) go off, even after just 1 firing! So Nancy is going to talk to a health counselor about that and other concerns beginning next week — with a fellow who works right out of the cardiac unit there at the clinic. Nancy says she has a few trust issues to work out with Fiona.
I plan to follow up with a Health Partners psychologist who uses EMDR to help folks with traumatic experiences. I went to see him a handful of times after Nancy’s initial cardiac arrest. Beyond the EMDR process, I found it really helpful to talk to him in minute detail about the morning of Nancy’s arrest — what I saw, did, felt, etc. I imagine we will approach Nancy’s Fiona storm in much that same way.
Nancy and I are so relieved to be home. Did I mention that already? Neither Nancy nor I are ready for Nancy to be by herself yet so we’ve arranged for a friend to spend time with her on several mornings each week while I get a workout in and run errands.
We want to thank you all for your outpouring of support. We’ve had a few spontaneous soup and salad deliveries — thank you for those! For the most part, we’re up and firing on all daily life fronts. If we need anything, we will definitely ask! Over the coming weeks, I know Nancy will want to see many of you locals face to face. As will I!
Like all of you, I’m grateful my Nancy is alive. She is a medical miracle with a miraculous will to live.
Patricia Sween|Apr 14, 2018
We’re so pleased that Nancy is on a good path to recovery. Your thorough report was most appreciated, Stephanie. You both are doing the right things. Love and hugs to you!
susan Donohue|Apr 14, 2018
Oh, Stephanie, what a thorough report of such a complex condition. Trying to take it all in and understand. The important thing is that you are on top of this with amazing doctors you trust who are taking all the right paths to manage this condition. Sounds like all his advice will help. Could it be so simple as potassium levels?? The next few months will show more. Meanwhile, a good idea to talk to therapists to help cope with the events. Very traumatic. But so much promise ahead! Thank you, thank you!
Barbara Taylor|Apr 14, 2018
Thank you for a thorough update. I am available for respite visits Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Feel free to call. Good to see you both at the rec center Friday. Know the outlook is good as you are in good hands and do as told.
Margaret O|Apr 14, 2018
I really appreciate being able to know all the details–and am so relieved that Nancy’s prognosis is positive! It was great to see you guys in Northfield the other day. Love you both!
Claudia Gordon|Apr 14, 2018
I am sitting in my sunroom this morning in St. Paul, trying to bask in some rays of sunshine???……BUT…..your note brought the ‘sunbeams’ to me! What a beautiful blast! Spring WILL come after all and Nancy and Stephanie will make it happen!
Gail Klemm|Apr 14, 2018
Such an uplifting and detailed report – I am one who always appreciates information, so thank you, Stephanie! I have been thinking of Nancy and you, hoping the trip home went smoothly, and that everything was continuing to improve. (Apparently, all but the weather!) Love and peace to both of you.
Lori Ellertson|Apr 14, 2018
Thank you Steph for a detailed explanation of what you and Nancy went through! Love you both to the Moon and back and your in my constant thoughts and pleadings for good health from here on out!
Terry Kenck|Apr 14, 2018
Thinking of Nancy so often and praying for a complete recovery . Thank you for the detailed report, Stephanie….what a blessing you are to Nancy. Really words seem inadequate to express how grateful I feel that Nancy is so well, despite the big challenges that remain. I am on my way to take care of my 20 month old amazing granddaughter…as Nancy knows…also named Fiona! 😃 Maybe the name Fiona means BLESSING! Wishing you joy! Terry
Kari Lipke|Apr 14, 2018
So glad for all the healing, and all still to come!
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Apr 14, 2018
Thanks for the thorough update. Glad to hear the prognosis is good. You’re in good hands at the university. Prayers for continued healing both physically and emotionally.
Jeanne Eberhart|Apr 14, 2018
Stephanie, I enjoyed reading your detailed narrative and read it to Jerry, first because I had my own heart incident a couple of years ago; and second, because he’s worked in pharma for 25 years now. Amiodarone is said to be an extremely effective drug, even after all these years, but does, as you say, have some weird side effects. My robust 90-year-old aunt has been on it from time to time and she says the same thing.
I’ve been on Metroprolol since my valve replacement, and it does agree with me. I’m on 50mg. I remember Nancy having very low BP in the old days, so maybe this is a factor—or maybe not. It does take some doing to get my heart rate up when I exercise!
I like your idea about the PTSD and the EMDR. It’s so caring of you to think of that. I may research that myself.
I believe Nancy and I are FB friends, so please Message me anytime, either of you, to say hello or to ask about any drug Jerry might have worked with.
Su Smallen|Apr 14, 2018
Wow so much good. I know EMDR is effective. Any time you need me to come over, give me a call. Oh, maybe not today, sorry. I can’t even see my neighbors house at the moment (to be fair, his house is white). Lots of love -Su
Patti Pherson|Apr 14, 2018
Positive, life-affirming thoughts and prayers being said for your continued recovery and rest period. Funny how life has a way of kicking us in the arse to remind us to slow down, breathe deeply, hug wholeheartedly and enjoy each precious moment as a gift! YOU are a gift to the world, woman! And Stephanie, you are most definitely a gift to Nancy and those of us who love her!
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Apr 15, 2018
Sorry I missed your visit to campus – would have loved the chance to give a real hug instead of this virtual one. Glad to know that you are back on the path to health. Kathy
Sveinung Skjesol|Apr 16, 2018
Well, now I’m crying 🙂 Thank you, Stephanie, for what looks like full disclosure, it is both comforting to comprehend the help you are receiving, professionally and in your network, and amazing to read about all of your well-advised strategies.
Bummer that Norway is bumped to another year, but we’ll cope!
I think you already thought about this, but I think that even for yourself, this documentation will be valuable. If you are like me (and you might just be, a little, those Hegge genes and all), you think now that you will remember all of these details forever. But you won’t.
Pilgrim Lutheran Church|Apr 16, 2018
Stephanie, thank you for your detailed report. Nancy, so glad you are better and have such great doctors! We missed both of you at the women’s retreat this weekend. Take care and looking forward to seeing you both.
Anne Sabo|Apr 17, 2018
Yes, thank you for updating us so well. When feeling so helpless and far away, I really appreciate being able to follow you both on Nancy’s way to full recovery and, for both of you, the processing of this hugely traumatic episode. It’s great to hear you’re getting such good care, being followed up carefully by professionals, and supported and helped by friends in the community. I did not know you were planning a trip to Norway this summer; what a bummer you’ll have to postpone it, but then I really look forward to seeing you when you do make it over here! Hope you’re having a lovely birthday celebration of LIFE and our special NANCY today! Love you!
From Nancy’s rather small but wonderfully ordinary hospital room. They discharged her from the Cardiac ICU late yesterday. Such good news and progress!
“The kids” are flying home this morning after a week of supporting Nancy in innumerable important and life-giving ways. Time for them to return to work, naturally. Our niece Tonya has been poised all week to fly out from Maryland at a moment’s notice — and so she will arrive PHX this evening. She was an immeasurable help to me and to us in August of 2016 when Nancy had her last “event,” as we sometimes call it. I’ve rented an AirBnB starting tomorrow. That will be our “basecamp” here in Scottsdale, and the place where Nancy will go after discharge to get up and running again.
After spending quite a few nights in Nancy’s room, I will focus on being at the hospital during the day now as she works her way towards discharge. Planning is fluid but we do have a framework that we are working with now. Her electrophysiologist down here (Dr Zuwani) wants to see her in his office on the Monday or Tuesday after Easter. Once Nancy’s gets the green light from him to travel and Nancy feels strong enough, we will fly home late next week. I’ve booked first class tickets (insured!) on Delta for Friday, April 6th. Very flexible on that timeframe however. And I haven’t ruled out the possibility of flying home via private jet. My brother Brad is exploring those options.
The Team Nancy crew here has been amazing! What can I say? There’s nothing like family. Especially family like our families. ere they are — oldest to youngest (as best I know! :-). My brother-in-law Dave Kinnard, my sister Elaine Kinnard, Nancy’s sister Jennifer Kraemer, my brother Bradley Fay, my sister-in-law Lisa Fay, me, Nancy’s son Andreas Aarsold, Andreas’ girlfriend Greta Hanson, Nancy’s daughter Tina Aarsvold, and Tina’s spouse Jessica Aarsvold. Ok, “the kids” are definitely out of age sequence! This intensity and continuity of immediate support is overwhelminig — I cry with gratitude pretty much every day over that.
My cousin Sonia Hegge Bar arrived from Fargo on Friday morning. Nancy and I had a long weekend planned with her, staying at an AirBnB near downtown Phoenix. She’s been a great comfort to me these past couple of days, too, and I was able to sleep long and well at our place last night and hope to do so again tonight.
The electrophysiologist group is calling the shots around Nancy’s care, led by Dr. Zuwani. He was the one who came to the Cardiac ICU last Sunday morning and problem solved until Nancy’s PVCs stopped, ending the Fiona frenzy of shocks. They haven’t seen ANY PVCs since late last Sunday. This is a very very good thing!! Dr Zuwani is in close conversation with Nancy’s electrophysiologist back at the U of MN. Dr. Roukoz will take over Nancy’s care once we are home. The possibility of an ablation to stop this premature beat is on the table. This is a decision Nancy will make in consultation with Dr. Roukoz after we get home. We have excellent rapport with Dr Roukoz, and one of the U of MN device nurses I have been in contact with assured me folks with these sorts of arrhythmias come from a three-state area to have these sorts of surgeries there.
Returning to Minnesota will also put Nancy back in the care of her regular cardiologist, Dr. Jason Bartos. He was a fellow at the U of MN when Nancy was in the hospital in 2016, and now he’s a practicing cardiologist in the U of MN Clinics. We’ve seen him in clinic once — this past November, I think it was. We’ll be seeing more of him in the months ahead, I imagine. He’s everything we feel a doctor should be — knowledgeable, compassionate and utterly approachable. We are also looking forward to returning the oversight and care of Nancy’s device (as in Fiona) nurses at the U of MN. A wonderful group of 4 women who we’ve gotten to know more and more thru Fiona’s quarterly check-ups.
Coming out of 5 days on the respirator, Nancy has been a little confused at times. They call it ICU delirium. But all that seems to be clearing as she gets moving about. Moving to a regular cardiac unit helps as well, I’m told. The PTs and OTs are putting her thru her paces daily. From what I hear, these folks don’t take “I don’t want to” for an answer! ery persuasive, very good coaches.
At least 1 if not 2 or more people from Team Nancy have been with Nancy nearly around the clock. Fortunately, both the ICU and this room have a rather comfortable recliner to sleep in. The Team has also given me some precious and essential time to R & R. I’ve spent nearly 2 full days away from the hospital — but don’t ask me which days! It’s all a bit of a blur. Ok, so it’s actually a total blur. 🙂
Some folks comment on how hard it must be to write on Caring Bridge. Not so for me. Here’s what it does for me/us —
A written record of some of the blur for Nancy and I to read later on.
A place for you to cheer Nancy on!
Keeps family and friends in the loop with minimal effort and time on my part.
I am one to want to know what is going on. In turn it’s important to me to share what is going on with others.
The writing is cathartic somehow. Based on the length of this entry, I must have been due some of that!
Notice how I worked another list in there for Nancy? Feeling pretty clever.
Nancy is snoozing calmly at the moment. The OT will be by today to give her a good workout, no doubt. And she’s going to get a shower later this afternoon!
It’s a beautiful day in the Arizona desert. It’s a beautiful day in Room 351 as well. Griff, the physical therapist, just arrived on the scene.
Thanks for your ongoing support!
Love, Nancy & Stephanie
Lori Ellertson|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you much for keeping us in the loop Steph! Nancy has a grand team of family and friends that got her through this! Love you! 💖💞💖
Laureen Schott-Jacobson|Mar 25, 2018
Good to hear that things are looking up. Still sending prayers.
Christine Hanson|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about continued improvements. It’s amazing how family can carry you through stressful times. Thinking of you all. Chris
Gail Klemm|Mar 25, 2018
So, so happy with continuing good news! Thank you, Steph! I know how one day blurs into another, and have been so grateful for the support team – you both needed them! Prayers continue, including this morning at Trinity (one of the many Trinitys attended by Ellertsons in various locales.) After singing at two services – lots of “Hosannas” still in my head, so I will add another for Nancy and for you. Thank you for all of the information – it is cathartic, and it keeps everyone equally informed. That has been so appreciated. Sending love from southern CA.
Hanna Emerson|Mar 25, 2018
Very grateful for your updates, Steph! Love to you both!
Joan Haan|Mar 25, 2018
It’s sunny here, in St. Paul, a fitting day for Palm Sunday and the good reports (reporting).
Blessings and healing from our hearts to yours!
Joan & Phil
PS. It ‘s amazing grace all the support you are receiving from family! Grace and peace to all!
Tamara Holyk Crane|Mar 25, 2018
I read every entry you post. Thank you. Hugs, healing and Aloha to both of you and the crew. There’s no place like home! Wishing you a safe journey. 🌺
Denise Swanson|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear this great progress. Praying all the heart and device issues are addressed and your life goes back to “normal.” Though I am a distant family friend from Nancy’s childhood and “relative,” following her progress and cheering with each corner she turns. Bless you Stephanie for writing and having strength to keep going. Prayers and love to you both.
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 25, 2018
After being away for a week, we can assure you both it is beginning to feel and look like spring is near in Mpls, rebirth! What a wonderful family you have😎. Excited for your return home; no more surfing 🏄♀️ on Mission Beach for a while though!!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 25, 2018
What a beautiful journal entry, Stephanie…..beautiful in content and beautifully written. The love in room 351 is spilling out all over this Palm Sunday. Prayers and peace to Nancy and Stephanie!
Anne Sabo|Mar 25, 2018
In crisis we come closer, or close again, and then even closer. ❤️❤️❤️ Love you. And thank you, for sharing and championing through. A lot of good news in this update, ❤️, and it feels good to be able to picture your hours and days over there, to feel closer with you as I hold you close in my heart. I’ve been keeping Lilly in the loop too. Hugs and kisses from her as well! 😘
Eric Schlotterbeck|Mar 25, 2018
Nancy and Steph, we are so pumped to hear how much progress you’ve made and also your plans to return home. Keep up the great work! Love to you both-
susan Donohue|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for this detailed account, Stephanie. I’m glad it is cathartic. I had to look up ablation though! I am so thankful for the quality of care and experience Nancy is getting both here and in AZ. That comforts me so much, and you are such a good wife to juggle all the living details with the medical details and the emotional frenzy. Looking forward to squeezing you both when the time comes. love, love.
Nonny Smith|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you so much for writing so thoroughly about what is/has been happening. It is a win-win from the standpoint of me (and perhaps others) who long to know how it is all going, and who feel a bit helpless being so far away and wishing we could do more. Maybe the “writing makes it real” , or makes it into a coherent story for you, Stephanie, in much the same way that telling a story out loud does. It is a great relief to hear that Nancy is progressing, that you have such phenomenal family support, and that you can get some time for self-care. May the moment to moment journey go smoothly now. Blessings and love, and continued prayers come your way from here.
Melanie Ruda|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about the continual improvements! Thanks for keeping us updated. We love you both.
Melanie and Katia
Su Smallen|Mar 25, 2018
I’m all for cathartic writing! (Note: not catheter writing.)
Steph you are a planning machine! Air bnb, plane tickets, age-ordering your family…wow. I can’t imagine what your tired self must feel like. I’m glad you’ve been getting more and better sleep.
Nancy, I’m so glad you have been sprung from ICU!
Speaking of sprung, it’s spring-y in MN. I bet you’ll find some perennials already poking up under dead leaves.
The deer have been coming to nap in my yard nearly every late night/early morning.
I’m looking forward to seeing you both, and to helping out.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear the news that Nancy is out of ICU! Yippee! I can feel your sense of calm thru your words and hope you get your bride out of the hospital really soon! Keep up the good, hard work, Nancy! You’ll be back home soon! Can’t wait! ♥️
M Rickard|Mar 25, 2018
Lots of prayers and hugs to you and Nancy. So happy it is going well and all the wonderful medical staff and family support you have! Thanks for the updates.
Barbara Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to update us, Stephanie. This is cathartic for us too. We will be glad to have you home again when team Minnesota can kick into gear.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 25, 2018
Dear Stephanie – thank you for sharing all this wonderful news. Your writing skills are amazing, and love the lists! You and your beloved Nancy continue to be in the prayers of your Pilgrim family. We look forward to more good news, and to seeing both of your beautiful faces in MN in April. Sent from our thankful hearts!
Jeanne Huggins|Mar 25, 2018
Excellent news Steph! So happy for you both! ❤️
Sharon Hinz|Mar 25, 2018
Blessings to you both. Stephanie, thank you for caring so beautifully for Nancy!
Dana Whitford|Mar 25, 2018
Stephanie, your updates are so amazing. I really appreciate them. And even if I haven’t seen Nancy in a long time, she continues to remain special to me and I hope one day to meet you both out here on the west coast, where I can properly thank Nancy for all she did for me and hug you for all you do for her.
Abby Brogden|Mar 25, 2018
You go girls! Steph you write beautifully about what’s going on. So helpful to those of us who are far away physically but not spiritually. We are now back from Mexico and so look forward to seeing you back in MN. We hope to see you so soon!!! A & J
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 25, 2018
Delighted to read so much good news of healing. Wish you a peaceful week with reinforcements, time to rest, and a bright path to recovery.
Debra Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for the thorough updates. I’m sure you will both be happy to get back home so Nancy can recuperate in comfort. Safe travels!
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 25, 2018
That’s wonderful that Nancy is progressing towards getting to be able to go home. Prayers that she will be able to fly on the 6th as hoped. Thanks so much for the updates. I am with you Nancy, I like bullet points also😉
Kristin and Jean Kristin and Jean|Mar 25, 2018
Love your updates. This one especially. Glad to hear Nancy moved to an ordinary room. Sending you healing love.
Heidi Dombek|Mar 25, 2018
So very blessed to get these updates from you Stephanie. The details keep us right there with you, and we are all hugging you both from afar. God be with you, and strengthen you and Nancy.
Kari Dorer|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks again for the update, Steph. SO great to read the word discharge, even if it is next week!
Gloria Betcher|Mar 26, 2018
I hope everything continues to head in the right direction for Nancy. The Team support sounds excellent and I’m sure you can use the help, Stephanie. Take care of the caregiver (you) and your spouse, and look forward to returning home after a more relaxing stay than you have had up til now in Scottsdale.–Still sending positive vibes and prayers–Gloria
Gail Merriam|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks for the update, Stephanie! It snowed here last night, so it’s a little bit more beautiful in Saint Paul right now. You can be grateful she is in sunny Arizona for this. Keep fighting the good fight! Take care of both yourselves.
Nadine sanders|Mar 26, 2018
I add that your excellent writing skills (no doubt honed at that St Olaf place) make your updates easy to read. I am sure you would rather be at Pilgrim Lutheran Easter Sunday, but all the pilgrims will welcome u home when you get there. cheers nadine
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 27, 2018
You’ve written so many pieces of information in your most recent post … and we appreciate them all! So grateful for the progress Nancy is making. And now may it continue at an exponentially rapid rate!
Love and Hugs,
Phyllis and Allen
Docs want to keep Nancy on the ventilator until tomorrow. She had a few PVCs during the night. These did not activate Fiona mercifully. Nurse reports they are looking for 24 hours of only good heart rhythm. I appreciate their cautious approach. Nancy continues to do really well under sedation. More rest, more healing to carry her into tomorrow.
Anne Sabo|Mar 20, 2018
Yes, caution is wise. Sending vibes of peace and patience. And heaps of more love. Fortitude!
Pat Saltsman|Mar 20, 2018
Hugs to all.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 20, 2018
It’s good the doctors are proceeding with caution — keep up the good healing Nancy! We’re rooting for you from the north country! We are with you in spirit. Hugs!
Su Smallen|Mar 20, 2018
Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear the doctors don’t want to rush Nancy’s care. You try to rest, too, Steph!
ANN LIMRIC|Mar 20, 2018
Sounds like she is in excellent care, yours , theirs and beyond. I hope for the best transmission of healing to take place.
I’m with you in stardust💜
marguretta yaeger|Mar 20, 2018
It has been a long time we have been in touch but we want you to know that our prayers are with you. God is right there with you. May you feel His Presence!
dorothy bocian|Mar 20, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you for a restful recovery, Nancy!
Dorothy Brown Bocian
Patricia Sween|Mar 20, 2018
Continuing prayers and sending lots of love to you both! So glad for the good care you’re receiving, Nancy! Thanks, Stephanie, for the great updates.
sandi pettersen|Mar 20, 2018
Out thoughts are with you Nancy and Steph. Harriet sends her love too! So sorry we are missing you this trip. We know you’ll be better soon with all the loving thoughts from friends and family.
susan Donohue|Mar 20, 2018
Cautious is good. Great news that dear Nancy is making fast strides. How fortunate and blessed to be in such good hands there. Sending very positive thoughts and very much love. Please keep posting.
Nadine sanders|Mar 20, 2018
When I opened up this Caring Bridge email, I could not think why Nancy would be in the hospital. Did she have an uncontrollable event of telling Norwegian jokes in Norwegian? I did not know about “Fiona” until reading this update. So Nancy, when your heart is behaving again, do tell some Norwegian jokes in Norwegian. And sing. And laugh. But for now rest surrounded by all your special people.
Cheers, Nadine in Sebastopol
Marte Hult|Mar 20, 2018
Glad to hear that Nancy is resting and that the doctors are being cautious. Thanks for the update. Healing thoughts
Heidi Dombek|Mar 20, 2018
Covering you both with prayer.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 20, 2018
Gosh! What joy to hear this positive news! May God’s Holy Spirit surround Nancy, and Stephanie and all those amazing care-givers! With love from me and Gary . 🙂
Donna Dingle|Mar 20, 2018
I appreciate the updates sending peace and healing thoughts to Nancy. Cautious sounds like a good path to take. Thinking of you both. Donna
Jeanne Eberhart|Mar 20, 2018
Please tell Nancy that Jerry and I are praying for her steady and speedy recovery. As a heart patient, I know the worst fear is to wind up back in the hospital, so I admire Nancy’s grace, patience and good humor.❤️
Claudia Gordon|Mar 20, 2018
Hope both of you have a good night…..peace and prayers for you from me. Love, Claudia
Kirsten Aarsvold|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking of all of you! I’m so thankful that Fiona did her job, and that she’s taking a break now. Lots of love to Aunt Nancy and her entire support crew 🙂
Pamela Itzin|Mar 21, 2018
Spent the day with Claire and Cole and we will be sending some artwork to convey our love and good wishes for a speedy recovery! I so appreciate Stephanie’s updates. Sending loving and healing thoughts and prayers.
Carole Vergeldt|Mar 22, 2018
Nancy continues to be in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for keeping us informed.
Hello again all,Your posts make me laugh and cry, too. I/We thank you!! Like last time, we can hear and feel you all surrounding us from near and far.Nancy has had a fairly restful day on the ventilator today. She’s not as sedated as she was during her last cardiac ICU adventure, so she’s moving about some at times and busy trying to talk to us around her breathing tube. She’s also been smiling often at people when they first arrive.
The good news of the day is that she may come off the vent tomorrow.
The Medtronic ICD tech/nurse was here again this morning. Nancy had over 50 shocks from Fiona. Unbelievable. I sure hope Nancy remembers very little about all that when she wakes up.
The “why” of these heart PVCs is still unknown. Hopefully more will become clear in the days ahead. As they reduce her heart medications and sedation tomorrow, I will be pleading for no more Fionas. Please join me/us in this plea. Or prayer. Whatever suits each of you best. Our resident Fay Family “chaplain” Elaine said a prayer with Nancy earlier today. (Or maybe it was last night — things are a tad hazy!) Nancy clearly drew comfort from her words. And I know she will draw comfort and strength from your thoughts and prayers and pleas as well.
I’ll update again tomorrow at some point. Thanks again for surrounding and supporting Nancy, our families and me.
Gail Klemm|Mar 19, 2018
Checking in to tell you that I am praying fiercely, and to thank you for the update that I just read. I am Nancy’s dad’s cousin, Gail Ellertson Klemm; Nancy doesn’t know me – Kathleen and I are the same age, and I lived in other parts of the country when Nancy and Jennifer were growing up. We Ellertson’s stick together, no matter where we are, and I hope that you can feel the love surrounding Nancy and you, as well, Stephanie. (Take care of yourself, as well, please – I know how mind-numbing and exhausting this can be.) Hugs and love to all gathered there. Gail
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
You know it. We’re over here! Your reports bring across so well who you both are and what you are experiencing. I hope to see you both soon. Hug.
Ingela Flatin|Mar 19, 2018
Stor klem, Nancy! Tenker mye på deg! Håper å se deg snart her. –Ingela
Donna Dingle|Mar 20, 2018
The Swingles are sending all the love your way. Thinking of you both! – Donna, Kristo, Hannah, Austin and Henry
Claudia Gordon|Mar 20, 2018
A prayer and a plea, this first day of spring, is for Nancy and Stephanie. Take care and take heart in the numbers of people who love you both. Love, Claudia
Mona Olson|Mar 20, 2018
Guy and I want you to know that we are praying for your recovery. We were heartened to hear of your hospitalization and all that you are going through. So pleased you have so many around who love you. And that Stephanie is well cared for. Godspeed.
Patricia Sween|Mar 20, 2018
Sending love to you both. We’re heartened by your report of progress. Stephanie, your words carry across the miles. I feel like I’m there with you! And, of course, am in spirit. Prayers going always from us! ❤❤
Dan Beach|Mar 20, 2018
Sending you and Nancy all good vibes and happy, peaceful thoughts. I’m hoping everything goes smoothly.
Lori Ellertson|Mar 20, 2018
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 20, 2018
You are in our thoughts and prayers all day long. I am glad for the progress and anxious for a solution. 💝💖 Lakes
Gloria Betcher|Mar 20, 2018
Keep the good news coming, Stephanie! I’ll keep sending those positive vibes and prayers from Iowa.
Su Smallen|Mar 20, 2018
Hello. Here is a little unrelated news (with prayers for you in the background). Last night, I came home from work late, and there were four deer in my backyard, grazing, under the very tall pine that has warmed the earth and melted the snow beneath it. I did not turn the lights on, even though my goal for the evening was to finish page-numbering my book manuscript. I did this in the dark, instead. The deer decided to camp there for the night! It was wonderful to see their shadows out there along my back fence. At about 1am, (insert drum roll) I sent my book manuscript to my publisher in Ireland. I felt like I better do it while the deer were here blessing me! And I asked them to bless you, too, with the easy vigilance of deer, and the warm life of trees, rooting deep and wide in your body to hold you here on earth.
Nancy Lee Gauche|Mar 20, 2018
Hey Steph, Prayers surround you both. First day of Spring can bring new life in oh so many ways. Drink it in… May Healing Mercies surround you.
Joan Haan|Mar 20, 2018
May Fiona phase out!
Continued prayer and presence from the Haans!
Mary Carlsen|Mar 20, 2018
Sending warmth and love from chilly Minnesota – maybe a heart as big as Nancy’s needs more input from Fiona than the typical human (-: Hoping for good recovery!
Ben Gottfried|Mar 20, 2018
Deb and I are sending our love and best wishes your way! #NoMoreFionas – I’ll get this trending once I share it with my 30 Twitter followers 🙂
Kris Davis|Mar 20, 2018
Sounds like you are on the right path….. Hope that you are out and about delightfully adventuring together sooner than later…… 😀
karla jean miller|Mar 20, 2018
#NoMoreFionas. Spring Joy and Gratitude for Nancy’s healing path! Beseeching the heavens and earth for continued care and strength for both of you!
May Love and Peace persist.
Abby Brogden|Mar 20, 2018
It’s hard to imagine that you two are going through this. JoAnn and I send much love.
Ingrid Urberg|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking about you both! God bedring Nancy…
JoAnn Johnson|Mar 20, 2018
Loving thoughts, many pleas, candles lit in several of the San Miguel churches: all for Nancy and you too Steph. Hoping those great minds taking care of you will find cause soon! JoAnn
Sheila Hoffman|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking of you there at the Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center from here at the Mayo Clinic, Stephanie. Hugs to you and your love there from me and my love here. ❤️❤️
Anne Sabo|Mar 20, 2018
50 shocks??!! And still smiling and trying to talk?? Such a trooper. I just want to squeeze her tight right now! And you too! Thank you for being there for her, and for us, keeping us in the loop. Amen to sending all our pleas, prayers, thoughts, and love your way! You have all of ours! Love you!! <3 <3 <3
Eileen Kjorstad|Mar 20, 2018
Stephanie – Greetings from the Cold North. Elaine posted the Caring Bridge site on FB so just reading all of this. Lynn and I are praying for you both. And blessings too.
Margaret O|Mar 20, 2018
Love, love, love coming your way! I was interested in the magnesium and potassium levels, since they are closely monitoring both of those with me. When I asked why they were important, they told me it was for heart rhythm. I have to take giant horse pills of both every day. Hopefully that will be the underlying problem this time!
Jeanne Huggins|Mar 20, 2018
Sending love and healing hugs to you both!! ❤️❤️❤️
Elizabeth Madson Ankeny|Mar 20, 2018
Our arms of love and faith encircle you and Nancy and those in your circle. When I talked to Emma this morning she valiantly and very sincerely offered to do any “medical language” translating you might need. Hearts and heart challenges are her medical speciality. May this first day of spring bring soft winds, rains and sunshine of healing and health.
Elizabeth and Jay
Heidi Dombek|Mar 20, 2018
The cousins from the Rod Ellertson crew have got your back, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sharon Hinz|Mar 21, 2018
Praying for you Nancy, and your dear family. Sending you love and healing energy!
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!