Captured by Karen | Many Thanks ...

Many Thanks ...

March 01, 2012  •  4 Comments

So many of you know that for the past week my life has been turned upside down.  For those of you who don't know, the morning of February 21st, my husband, Leo, went into cardiac arrest while at work.  We think he had a blood clot from a wrist surgery he had done a week prior to this, because he is a very healthy, thin, athletic, and young man.  Anyhow, his heart stopped for about ten minutes.  There just happened to be a police officer nearby.  There just happened to be a defibrillator in the office.  My husband was shocked 3 times and then began to barely breathe again on his own.  The good news is that he made it!  He is healthy with no brain damage.  He did have to get a permanent defibrillator put in - kind of like a pacemaker.  So I wanted to get some of my thoughts out, and since I have a brand new blog, here they are.

I am so thankful for:

  1. Timing - he wasn't driving, sleeping, or by himself.  This happened in front of another person so he got immediate help.
  2. Mr. Mike Hardy - Mike is the president of my husband's work, Agapito Assoicates.  Mike and my husband were having a conversation when Leo arrested.  He immediately made the right decisions, called 911, and began helping.
  3. Gary - Unfortunately I don't know his last name, but he is another engineer in Leo's office.  It was Gary's idea to get a defibrillator for the office.  Every business should consider investing in one!  Hopefully it will never be needed but when it is needed, it saves lives.
  4. Officer Marshall Dixon - Officer Dixon just happened to be nearby looking for a stolen U-Haul trailer.  Once the call was dispatched it took him 26 seconds to get to my husband and use the office defibrillator.  He went above the call and duty and saved my husband's life.  He is a true hero and I can't wait to meet him in person to thank him properly.
  5. Defibrillators - they save lives!
  6. EMT's - they shocked my husband 2 more times, did CPR which kept the blood flowing through his lifeless body.
  7. St. Mary's Hospital - wonderful staff, technology, facility, ... can't say enough!
  8. Hypothermia Therapy - a newer technology that helps heart & stroke patients have less/no brain damage.
  9. Nurses - all of the nurses who cared for my husband.  They even cared for me and helped me through this in so many ways.  They are genuinely interested in their patients and care deeply for all involved.
  10. Dr. Thomsson - the Intensivist that helped me & Leo while he was in the Cardio Vascular ICU.
  11. Dr. Duffy - the amazing cardiologist who was with Leo from the ER to checkout.
  12. Dr. Garmany - The other amazing cardiologist who put the defibrillator into Leo's chest.
  13. Kelly Clarkson - this may be a little weird, but those of you who know me know that music is a huge part of my life.  Every time I turned my radio on last week, Kelly's song, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" was always on and helped me stay positive.
  14. Facebook - Facebook allowed me to post updates so that I didn't have to make a million phone calls or write a bajillion emails explaining the same thing over and over again.  It also showed me how many people who love me and my husband around the world.  All the comments from my friends, family, and even people I don't know made me feel like they were with me holding my hand as we waited.  Very humbling.
  15. My children's teachers - they have been very supportive with my kids - letting my son call me during the day to check on his dad, letting them write about what was going on and share with the class, helping them make cards and letters for their dad.  It all helped them deal with this very hard to understand disaster.
  16. All my friends, family, and staff & students at Redlands Middle School  - the encouraging words, prayers, and thoughts.  The offers to help, the cookies, meals, flowers, cards, and gifts were so helpful.  They all have inspired me to be a nicer person.


This may sound cliche, but please know that life is precious and very short.  Love everyday.  Remember what really matters at the end of the day.  Know that miracles DO happen.

Lastly, I am also very thankful that my husband, Leo, is a fighter, has a strong will, and came back to us.



Photo by Tanya Pearce of Redhawk Photography


Diane Lucero(non-registered)
Karen and Leo, so glad to hear things are going in a positive direction. Times like these are so very scary. The emotional, mental and physical toll on a family is beyond description. Gary and I prayed often for all of you. We especially appreciated reading your updates to find out what was happening. Thank you for taking the time. Know that we love you all and we will continue to pray for you.
Very beautiful Karen, know I love all of you!
Jordan Alvillar(non-registered)
Oh Karen! This is a wonderful blog. Makes me a little emotional (I am 100% woman...). So happy everything turned out okay for your family. The Alvillar's were very worried - your family has been such a great part of our lives and we're always willing to be there for you in any way that we can! XOXO.
Heather Graham(non-registered)
Beautiful. You, your words, your family, your heart: BEAUTIFUL
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