We were doing just fine on Tuesday. There was a heat wave with sunshine and temperatures in the high thirties. I drove into town for feed and to mail a bag of seed orders then drove home. In the drive, I met Will on the big bulldozer. He’d told me he was going to widen the driveway’s snowbanks and cut a couple dead trees next to the drive, so they didn’t fall across it in a windstorm. He moved over and I went on home, another 3/4 mile.

I was doing housework when he came in, looking terrible! He was as pale as a ghost and kind of staggering. I quick looked for blood and there was none. He was sweating and said his chest was giving him awful pain. Oh oh; heart attack! I asked him if he could get to the car or if I should call an ambulance. Meanwhile, I gave him an aspirin to chew, which is first aid for a heart attack. He said he could make the car, which was parked right outside the door. I helped him in and headed for town 13 miles away. Stop reading now if you’re a police officer! (I was doing 80 and made the hospital in 10 minutes.) Yes, I did drive safely, other than speeding. I knew an ambulance would take at least half an hour to get together and get to our house, so I chose the fastest way to get him help.

The doctor agreed with my diagnosis and the crew started installing IVs and an EEG. They tried to order a helicopter life flight but freezing rain was forecast and the choppers wouldn’t fly. He needed to get to Duluth, to the big hospital as soon as possible. Finally, an ambulance loaded him up and headed south with sirens and lights flashing. Whew!

I’ll admit I was scared; I remembered losing my late husband, Bob, 16 years ago to a brain aneurysm. But I had things to do before going to Duluth. I drove home (at the speed limit), stuffed wood in the fire, did minimal chores, let the dogs out to potty and headed for Duluth.

When I got there, they looked his name up on the computer and couldn’t find him! Boy, was I really getting scared. But finally, they did, and he had already had a heart cath and was in his room. One artery was completely blocked, and he has 30% blockage on another. But the good news is that he is fine and able to do what he wants to, except for lifting more than 50 pounds for a while. He’s scheduled to get the second blockage taken care of in a month. I’m pretty relieved!

Will after his stent was put in, his artery cleaned out, feeling much better. Thank you God!

The one downside is his blood sugar was elevated so the doctors want him to cut down on the sugar intake (as in 6 cans of Pepsi a day!). And he’s such a Pepsi addict! But he’s being a good boy and is switching to water, instead. And I’m no longer leaving out cookies, bars, and other sweet goodies for him to snack on all day.

So, we’re home and pretty normal. But it sure made us remember to count our blessings and value every single day. — Jackie


  1. As a retired doctor with years of ER experience, I can tell you that you did EXACTLY what needed to be done. Your home treatment and getting him to a medical facility promptly could well have saved his life. And I’m sure if any police office would have encountered you, they would have given you an escort to the hospital with lights and sirens blazing. Bless you both.
    PS – You well know the two of you are too precious to lose!

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about Will’s heart attack but so very grateful for him and you he is doing well with a treatment plan in place. I’ve wondered reading your blog how far away you were from a hospital and thought emergencies seem like a long way to treatment. I grew up on a farm and I enjoy reading your blog even though I don’t garden right now I look forward to doing it one day just not anywhere near the scale you and Will do as my husband is not the farmer kind of guy! Prayers for you and Will!

  3. God is good to us always. So happy to know that Will is ok, and to know he is willing to make the needed changes. Y’all are the perfect team..and a team needs both teammates!
    I had just received a big (for me) seed order from you, when l had surprise heart surgery in Jan, so l may be saving most of them for next year! What is the best method of saving seed for next year? God bless both of you and your family.

    • Mary+Morgan, I wish you a speedy recovery! You can store them in a cool, dark place where they will last a year (some, such as carrots and onions lose viability quickly.) Heat and humidity will deteriorate your seeds. So, to increase the storage life, I recommend placing the container in the freezer where they will be good for about about 10 years. Avoid the fridge because of the humidity and the fluctuations in temp from frequent door openings.

      Leave your seeds in their original packets and put those into an airtight, freezer-safe container (I use a mason jar, but even a freezer-type ziptop bag will work). When removing from the freezer, do NOT immediately take the seed packets out of the container! You need to let them thaw completely inside that container to prevent condensation on the seeds from the humidity in the air.

      It may be overkill, but I wait overnight, or a day. However, if you’re planting all of them right away, then this doesn’t matter. Frequent thaws and re-freezing is not good for the seeds, so I divide the seeds into smaller containers, grouping those that get planted at the same time and leaving the others in the freezer until needed. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with info, but I wanted to be thorough enough to answer any questions about the process.

  4. Jackie & Will…God bless you both. Doesn’t matter when you loose your “nerves of steel” as long as it is after the event. He is so blessed to have you. Glad the angels were looking over both of you. Take it easy and know our prayers are with you.

    • Thank you so much. Yes, angels were looking over both of us. They kept Will from falling off the dozer and helped him get home.

  5. A quick side note to my prior post. My husband drinks water with a squirt of lemon juice in it to help with dry mouth problems at night- sometimes in the day too. The lemon, no sugar added, helps with the dry mouth and seems more refreshing. We buy bulbs of lemon and refill it with bottled lemon juice.

  6. Heavens! What a scare! I’m sorry this happened. But at the same time it may be a blessing in disguise. Because you were able to catch it quick enough, do the right things and get to the hospital you prevented a worse situation from happening later. This was bad but no treatment and later attack would have been worse. I’m grateful for this outcome. My husband and I will be praying for Will and you. Hugs to you both!

    • Thanks so much, Cat!! I agree. This was so much better to have happened the way it did, when it did. It made a quick fix out of a potentially deadly problem.

  7. My mom always said” panic after, not during” Glad Will is ok, sorry you guys had to go through all of that. My thoughts and blessings are with you guys. God Bless.

  8. So glad you were able to get help so quickly and that all sounds like it will be well. Prayers for you both.

    • I figured I could make the drive to the hospital in 10 minutes or so and it would take the ambulance crew that long to get ready to roll out, then another 15-20 minutes to find us. He has a check-up on Thursday, but everything points to a full recovery.

  9. Our prayers are with you and Will. It sounds like he may have had an angel watching over him. The aspirin was a very good idea.
    When I did not see a second blog from you this past week, I was a little concerned but figured you were just really busy with seeds.
    I am sure that Will will heal well with such a good caregiver. Both of you take it easy (or at least easier) for a couple of weeks.
    We just started (December, before Christmas) having to watch sugar with my husband’s sugar level being too high. We have always eaten very healthy, whole wheat everything, lots of vegetables and fruits from the garden but age seems to make things change.
    Both of you take care of yourselves!

    • We will, Charlene. I’m sure he did have an angel watching over him, prodding him to make the decision to drive the bulldozer home instead of walking. But Will didn’t listen to the angel telling him to call me! (He argues with everyone!!!) lol

  10. Oh my! Sorry you all had to go through this. Giving thanks that all is doing better. Will pray for a great outcome for the next surgery also. Deb

  11. “And we know that in all things God works for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”. Apparently God’s purpose for your husband on this earth isn’t finished. God continue to bless you both. You are needed in this world.

  12. Oh, Jackie, what a horrible shock! You kept it together and did what you needed to do instead of panicking. You are a strong brave woman! I’m so glad that Will is doing well and everything’s okay.

    Wishing you both all the best!

  13. Jackie, so sorry for your husbands heart problems and so fast. Thank goodness for remembering about the aspirin. Two years ago in late July, my husband was stubborn and worked outside in the heat to cover over a spot in our yard with cement. Two other fellows came to help. But the heat was too much for Dan and he had a heat stroke, which still affects him to this day. Glad Will will improve and things will be better.

    • I’m sure glad I remembered the aspirin too! These things happen so fast! I’m sorry your husband had a heat stroke. That’s hard on a person.

  14. I am so glad that you had the wherewithal to suspect the heart attack and had the sense to get him to the hospital ASAP! I’m guessing that it won’t be long before Will is back up and around and finishes cutting down those dead trees!

    • There wasn’t much suspecting involved!! The symptoms were so evident and the pain excruciating. I agree with you; he won’t be sitting around very long. He’s already back up on the tractor. (The doctor said it was ok.) Maybe the tree cutting might wait a day or two.

  15. I’m so sorry to hear of Will’s troubles. You did all the right things and kept a cool head. I know how hard that can be in an emergency. I’m sure he understands the limitations on what he can do is for his own good. And pepsi is easy to live without. I quit smoking and mountain dew after my heart scare. It isn’t easy but it can be done. Y’all take care and God look out for you.

    • He’s being a very good boy. He, also, quit smoking 17 years ago and there are hardly any Pepsi cans in the recycle.

  16. So glad you and Will are both OK! That must have been a scary drive to the hospital — thank goodness for your nerves of steel. Y’all keep taking good care of each other!

    • We will, Gail. I’m okay in an emergency but fall apart later on. My “nerves of steel” turn into lukewarm oatmeal.

  17. Dad had a silent heart attack. Ended up with a pacemaker and a total of 3 stents. All delayed the surgery he originally needed then COVID-19 hit full force. I look at these “events” as he and Will’s numbers weren’t up yet.
    Yeah, six Pepsi’s in a day isn’t good for someone in the absolute best of health. A cup of coffee/tea or two are a better option (for the caffeine). And water will help him stay hydrated – from what I’ve experienced, dehydration can be an issue as people get older.
    Fifty pound weight restriction is higher than I expected. Do take care and may you not have any more bitter cold days (which you likely will have some but one can wish).

    • Yes, one can wish! But spring is coming, sooner or later. He knows the Pepsi wasn’t good for him, but we all have our habits. He doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs; that was his big hang-up habit. But now he’s changing it.

  18. You are very blessed. I lost my husband unexpectedly three and a half months. All alone here on the farm. If I don’t push the “ what if’s” out of mind I’ll go over the edge. Everything is God’s plan, I suppose.

    • Nothing I can say will make you feel your loss less, just know that someone is thinking and praying for peace in your spirit. Although God’s plan can sometimes be hard to understand, He truly does have you in the palm of His hand. Remember the good times and keep your chin up.

    • I’m so sorry, Jody. The same thing happened when I lost my late husband, Bob. And we were new on the raw homestead. I was caretaking my elderly parents and 14-year-old son. Then, got cancer. So, I totally hear you. Hang in there and know you have a lot of BHM folks who are your family, praying for your peace.

      • I know. I read your book. And I started it again for inspiration. You are one of the toughest women I know, and I was so glad I met you. Thank you!

  19. Jackie – holding you both in our prayers as we know God is still in the. Miracle business – glad to hear that God gave will the strength to get back to you from the fields, that you were able to stay calm enough to know what to do and that things are going so well. Blessings – the Cothren family

  20. so sorry to hear this but glad there was a positive result. I recently did the Follow the Ambulance with the Spouse trip (again) and can say its never a fun trip. Will keep you in prayers. We are also seeing improvement here (stroke this time) and looking forward to a return to home.

    • I’ll add you to my prayer list. It’s pretty scary, isn’t it??? I’m glad your husband is doing better.

  21. Glad to hear the happy ending!! FYI we cut sugar in all baked goods by half and you honestly will still taste the sweetness! Maybe this will be an easy change so he can continue to enjoy homemade goodies!

    • We’re working on it, one day at a time. His blood sugar wasn’t sky high, approaching Type 2 diabetes, but the cardiologist told him less was best for his heart. We listen to the doctors.

  22. Gosh Jackie I’m so glad Will is doing well now. Him coming in pale and chest pain I’m so glad you don’t fold until after and were able to get him to ER. I have been reading your blog for at least 10 years if not longer. I love reading about your farm escapades. Please both of you stay healthy. I had to completely quit sugar about 3 years ago and lost 20 -25 lbs. I only drink water anymore. Its hard to quit but it can be done. I’m not diabetic either. I lost my husband in October from covid. It hasn’t been easy but my son lives with me and helps out a lot. Take some good rest time now, spring is right around the corner. May God be with you, Praying for you both.

    • Life can sure have its ups and downs, can’t it. I’m sure Will can adjust to much less sugar, and it’ll be better for both of us. I’m glad your son lives with you and can help out. That’s a huge blessing!

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