Larry G. Overton – Wednesday, August 26, 2015


(I’m writing this to tell my story from my perspective. My wife Beth has posted to her website her own story of the events I’m about to recount, so this is my equal time.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014. A lot was going on in our lives. Beth was busy, as always. She was on call for several clients whose babies were due pretty much any time. She maintained her normal schedule of see clients for prenatal visits, and she was waiting for a new apprentice to arrive.

For my part, I was preparing to leave town, which is unusual. Since Beth became a midwife 16 + years ago, we rarely get a chance to travel. Weeks often go by without the chance of us leaving the city limits of Corpus Christi, never mind South Texas.

Now, I could get out more often if I went by myself. I’m retired, and I’m certainly have no obligations to Beth’s clientele. What woman would want a guy that looks like Uncle Si’s stand-in at her birth anyway?

But I don’t like traveling without Beth. We were married 42 years ago this past April, and have rarely been apart in all those years. I like it that way. And I feel guilty if I get a refreshing change of scenery while Beth is obliged to stay close and readily available for her clients.

But my nephew Colin was getting married, and I wanted to attend, as well visit family and spend some time on our family farm. So although I was disappointed that Beth couldn’t make the trip, I was eager to head up state to the Dallas area.

Beth’s new apprentice, Kendra Lucero, arrived later that day, after all of the prenatal visits were done. We took her out to eat, and then helped her settle in to our garage apartment, where she would be staying for the next few weeks. If the “trial period” went well and Kendra was a good match for her business, Beth was planning on inviting Kendra to be a full time apprentice. Kendra had also expressed interest in a full time apprenticeship, so we were hopeful.

That evening, Beth and I settled in to watch a little TV before going to bed. I still had a little packing to do before getting on the road the next morning, but packing’s not a big deal for me. Boots, jeans and T-shirts are all I ever wear, even on Sundays. Okay, granted, I do have my nicer, Sunday-go-to-meetin’ boots, jeans and Ts, and I probably would take an actual button-down dress shirt for the wedding. Still, packing is a simple affair, so I was saving it for last minute.

As the evening progressed, however, I noticed something disconcerting. As we were watching TV, I felt a strange sensation in my chest. It wasn’t actually painful; in fact, it’s hard to describe it exactly. I felt a pressure, a tightness that, although not painful, was undeniable. If memory serves, there was also a slight shortness of breath.

As we continued watching the program, the feeling radiated to my jaw. That actually in a strange way was reassuring. I had never heard of a sensation in the jaw being anything connected with heart attack symptoms, so I thought maybe I was worrying for nothing.

But then the sensation radiated again, this time down my left arm. I was pretty sure that was a heart attack symptom. Still, I went through a mental debate with myself. “If I tell Beth about this, I’ll never hear the end of it.” So I continued watching the program, and said nothing. And still the symptoms continued.

After the television show, Beth went to the bedroom to get ready for bed. I followed her, but stood at the end of the bed, still hesitant to say anything. But I finally just blurted out, “I need to tell you what I’m feeling.” And I proceeded to describe my strange symptoms.

Her response did not surprise me. It was both emotional and reasonable. As a health care provider who has studied anatomy and physiology, she was aware that these were definite symptoms of a heart attack, and she said so in no uncertain terms. She finished it off by saying “We need to get you to the ER right now!” I didn’t instantly agree, if I recall correctly. But then again, I didn’t fight too hard to stay home, either. And so we went to the ER at Spohn Shoreline, which is just a few minutes away from where we live.

I don’t recall having to wait a long time to be checked out. In that time, I was having second thoughts about even being there. I actually told Beth before they started working on me that I felt like I was just one good belch and bowel movement away from feeling better. Needless to say, my protestations went unheeded, and we stayed.

Soon enough, they began to do the usual stuff: blood pressure, pulse, blood draw, etc. Then they did an EKG. The nurses were helpful, attentive and personable. I wanted Beth with me through as much of this ordeal as possible, and they were obliging. One young lady, I think she was about my daughter’s age, asked about how long we had been married, and just couldn’t get over the fact that it had been 42 years. Sometime after midnight, they confirmed that I had suffered a heart attack.

(To be continued…)