Volume 126, Number
Former Oberonite writes about heart attack at age 45
Editor’s note: The following article was written by Oberon native Duane Tweten. He is the son of Carol Tweten of Devils Lake, formerly of Oberon, and the late Allan Tweten, who died unexpectedly from a heart attack at the age of 51 in 1983.
BY DUANE TWETEN
The day started out pretty much exactly the way I had anticipated. I awoke about 5 a.m. just like a normal Wednesday except today I didn’t have to go to work. I started the coffee brewing and ate some breakfast while I finished getting the last minute things ready to pack in the cooler. I had hooked the boat up to the Scout the night before and had all the fishing gear loaded, including the brand new life vests that were bought just a few days prior. I bought the boat over a year ago and finally found time to get it registered and licensed. It was Day 1 of a five-day mini-vacation and I was going to spend it at the lake fishing and boating with my wife, Becky, daughter Vanessa and two of my granddaughters.
The plan was to take two cars in case anyone wanted to come home early, so I decided to head out before the rest of the gang and get the boat in the water. I figured I could make a test run around the lake to make sure it was seaworthy before getting everyone else on board.
Upon arriving at the lake I was very glad to see only two trucks in the parking area, both with empty boat trailers. That was the whole reason for doing this trip on a weekday so we would not have so many other people and boats to deal with. I backed down to the water and proceeded to unload the boat off the trailer and loaded it with my gear. I started the trolling motor and checked my watch, noting that it was only 7:20 a.m. and was off on my adventure. I steered the boat toward the opposite side of the lake to see what the shoreline looked like close up. The only other boat I could see had a lone fisherman fishing along a small cove on my right so I decided to investigate the dam and spillway area which was around the bend to my left. When I was within about 100 yards of the dam some movement caught my eye and I focused in on two mule deer running along the top of the earthen dam. I shut the motor off momentarily to just watch them and take in the glory of a beautiful morning.
My thoughts and peace were soon completely lost as I was confronted with an uncontrollable feeling of impending doom. It felt as if someone had me fixed in the sights of a rifle and I started getting paranoid that I was in a bad place and needed to get out of there right away.
I noticed my chest was feeling tighter and tighter and it was getting hard to breathe. My skin had a cold, clammy feeling and my forehead was sweating like crazy. I couldn’t quite explain what was happening so I tried to convince myself I was just getting motion sick from the boat rolling with the small waves. I hadn’t been out in a boat for over 20 years so it could happen, right?
I started the motor and proceeded to turn around toward the direction of the boat ramp and an even larger paranoia came over me when I realized I could not see that part of the shoreline because of a point coming into the lake that I had to travel around to get there.
I revved up the little motor to full power and steered and veered my way back toward the middle of the lake, not wanting to get hung up on any thing too close to shore. I felt like I was in a race against time to get off the lake even though I still wasn’t sure what was wrong.
As I came around the small point I could see the boat dock and was dismayed to see there was still no one there. When I reached shore I beached the boat right next to the boat ramp and shakily made my way onto shore. Upon getting on dry ground (it probably took 30 seconds to do so) I grabbed the handle on the front of the boat and tried to pull it up on to shore so it couldn’t drift off. To my surprise I couldn’t budge it an inch. Remember, I unloaded it off a flatbed trailer by myself and got it into the water just minutes before.
I stumbled over to a conveniently placed rock on the shoreline and had a seat to survey my situation. After a few minutes (or seconds) I knew my "motion sickness" was not going away and instead both my arms were starting to turn numb and it was getting harder and harder to breathe.
At this point I realized I was either suffering from a heart attack or stroke. I grabbed Becky’s cell phone (which she insisted I take just in case) and tried in vain to call the house and my daughter’s cell phone over and over to no avail. Every time I tried, the call was either dropped or would not go through because of lack of signal.
(A later check of phone records showed one call came through for a few seconds at 7:52 a.m.). As I was sitting there telling myself they were going to come pulling in any second I heard a vehicle coming down the hill and was surprised instead to see a truck pulling a boat come pulling in.
The two fishermen, Jerry? And Mike? were prepping their boat for launch when I struggled up toward them and asked for help. They immediately helped me to sit down in the shade and gave me a bottle of water. They both checked their cell phones and neither one had any signal so we proceeded with Plan B. They loaded my boat and gear up in no time and one of them drove me out in my Scout while the other followed in their vehicle.
At about one mile of the 2.3 mile dirt road back to the paved road we met up with my family and I got into our car and tried to explain what was happening. My wife managed to get through on my daughter’s cell phone to 911 and the EMT’s from the Arivaca Fire Department were dispatched toward us. We waited for them to meet us at the intersection of the lake road and Ruby Road and I just tried to make myself comfortable and breathe.
As soon as the EMT’s showed up they loaded me into the back of their truck and started me on oxygen and baby aspirin. They also dispatched an air-evac helicopter from Tucson, since we were so far away from a hospital. They kept busy taking my vital signs and asking questions which kept me somewhat focused.
When the helicopter finally arrived the only place they had to land was out in the middle of the road. While it was circling and setting down I felt myself leaving my body and it was like I was watching a movie instead of it happening to me. That feeling stayed with me until I was out of surgery at the hospital. The helicopter ride was surreal in the fact that I was by now so disoriented I could not recognize any landmarks even right after take-off. I just rode along watching the ground go by feeling like it was someone else I was watching it happen to.
The paramedic behind me kept questioning my pain level and would give me a shot of nitroglycerin what seemed like every few minutes.
All of a sudden we were flying over the open pit mines outside of Sahuarita and I recognized where we were for a brief moment. As soon as we passed over them the landscape blended back into a seemingly monotonous scene with nothing recognizable.
Upon landing at Northwest Hospital they quickly wheeled me into the ER and into a room. There were at least 15 people in a 10×10 room, all working on me like in an organized chaotic kind of way. One of the nurses hooked me up to an EKG and ran a test that lasted a few seconds. When she saw the results she tore it out of the printer and took it to the head nurse whose eyes met mine for a brief second and she turned and ran out of the room.
In a matter of a few seconds there was a doctor at my side and he informed me that yes, indeed, I was having a heart attack. Then the lab technicians and Dr. Jerman took over.
Just 30 minutes later I came to in the lab with Dr. Jerman showing me before and after pictures of my arteries. One artery had been completely blocked and a stent was installed to allow blood flow.
The heart attack was over. I already felt better and the disoriented feeling was now replaced with one of relief that I was still alive and was going to be OK. The bad movie I had been watching was over.
Dr. Jerman also informed me I had some restrictions in two other arteries that were going to require three more stents at a later date. He said if possible it may happen tomorrow if things allowed or I would have to come back in a couple of weeks to get them done.
I was wheeled out of the lab and into the ICU and put in a room to recover. The time was only around 11 a.m. when I got into my room. It had just been a little over three hours since the whole episode started.
Later that evening I was informed by my nurse that I was going in for additional surgery at 8 a.m. the next morning. Boy, was I glad to hear that! Let’s get all this crap out of the way so I can get on with living my new healthy life.
The next morning came after a long, slow night of being poked and prodded every hour on the hour and I got very little, if any, sleep.
They wheeled me into the all too familiar lab and informed Becky that it should be a fairly routine surgery and only take 45 minutes to an hour.
Two hours later she is calling every number she can get through on and was ready to beat the door down to find out what was going on in there.
I became conscious in the lab during the end of my surgery and could hear them talking in hurry-up type voices and appearing to be getting more and more feverish and frantic by the moment. When I realized that I was not out any more I began to wonder if my body was dying on the table and I was watching it from across the room — much the same as the helicopter ride felt.
I decided I needed to let them know so I spoke out loud "I can hear you guys." The room got instantly quiet! One poor startled technician came running over to me and asked, "Can you feel anything?" I told her I can feel the blood pressure cuff on my left arm and the IV going into my right arm, but I can’t feel anything that they are doing. She looked me in the eye and said "Whatever you do, don’t move, they are almost done."
I could tell by what they were saying that they were indeed done and the tones of their voices got less frantic and more controlled. In just a couple minutes they were done with me and I was ready to return to ICU and my room.
Dr. Jerman explained that it took so much longer because it ended up requiring five additional stents instead of the three they thought it was going to take.
Remember, this all happened to a healthy, active, 45 year-old man, non-smoker with normal blood pressure who had just lost 25 pounds in the last three months and was now at target weight. There were no warning signs or symptoms, except for some obvious facts. Eleven years ago I had my bloodwork checked and my cholesterol and triglycerides were above normal. Five years ago I had my bloodwork done and both cholesterol and triglycerides were even higher. For the last three years I have been driving around with at least one or two blood test referral forms from various doctors in the glove box of my truck but I couldn’t seem to find the time to stop in and take a blood test.
Because I basically refused to have to take a prescription every day I now have six stents installed and have to take four prescriptions every day. There is also the risk of another heart attack, so major lifestyle changes are in progress.
Rodeo action at Maddock
Spectators at the Benson County Rodeo Association’s rodeo July 4 and 5 in Maddock were treated to some exciting performances. The young man riding the bucking bronco is Cody Perbix of Harvey. The photographer was Leon Klocke of Fessenden.
Esmond native honored by Minot Eagles Club
On April 15 the Minot Eagles #2376 recognized Lamoure Thrailkill and Berilynne Martin, an Esmond native, as recipients of their 2009 Mr. and Ms. Eagle awards.
Since she became an auxiliary member of the Minot Eagles Club in 1995, Martin has readily volunteered wherever help was needed for the aerie or auxiliary — whether it was at auxiliary charity breakfasts, fundraising events, or buffets.
She advanced through the auxiliary officer chairs and served on many committees. She was president of the auxiliary in 2001-2002 and 2008-2009, auxiliary mother in 2005-2006 and Sister of the Year in 2007. On the state level she was named the Dakota State Woman of the Year in 2006. She has served as the chairperson for the cancer fund and kidney fund charities for numerous years.
Martin worships at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, where she has been a Sunday school teacher. In addition, she is a member of the Catholic Daughters.
Martin is a 1977 graduate of Esmond High School. She is the daughter of the late Agnes (Streifel) Swanson.
After leaving Esmond she graduated from Minot State University with a Bachelor of Arts in management. For many years she ran a day care in her home and she is now a Tastefully Simple consultant.
The Minnewaukan Library has a summer reading program that the youngsters enjoy. Librarian Cathy Burkhardsmeier is shown (right) reading a story about penguins to an attentive audience. Left to right are Joseph and Tina Schneider, Lisa Wold of the library board and Shelby and Shannon Beecroft.
Youngsters are shown here making their own paper firecrackers. Clockwise from the front are Tina and Joseph Schneider, Sydney Every and Shannon and Shelby Beecroft.
Shown with their finished paper firecrackers are, left to right, Shannon and Shelby Beecroft, Sydney Every and Joseph and Tina Schneider. (Photos by Sheri Schneider)
Esmond demo derby
About 500 spectators viewed some fast and furious action at the Esmond Men’s Club Demolition Derby July 11. How on earth did the station wagon end up on top of the car?
These cars were wiped out in the competition. Drivers were Aaron Smith and Mark Williams.
This crew comes to the demolition derby each year and enjoys their vantage point to the fullest.
The Esmond Fire Dept. waters the demolition derby grounds to keep down the dust. Younger spectators enjoy being hosed down. (Photos courtesy of Beth Olson, Maddock)
The ninth annual Esmond Co-Ed Softball Tournament saw the Esmond Jackasses win over the Wack/Keller Team by a score of 16 to 14, claiming their second straight title. The tournament marked the end of another Esmond Eagles Alumni weekend. Left to right, back row are Colton Bullinger, Erica Kallenbach, Travis Hoffner, Gary Halvorson and Mickey Hoffner. Front row: Lou, Terry "Khruschev" Schwab, June Olson and her grandson, Wanda Bullinger, Kristen Smith, Katie Halvorson and Erin Leier.
Remember Ron walk
More than 125 people registered with 100 people walking on Saturday, July 11 for the Remember Ron walk held in Esmond in conjunction with the Esmond Eagles Alumni Reunion. Event organizers Sherri Engkvist, left and Christy Jaeger, right said more than $800 each will go to the Buffalo Lake Recreation area and the Maddock Swimming Pool. Seated is Kenneth Erickson, who was the official timer.
FFA raises relay money
Some of the members of the AS Gibbens FFA Chapter of Maddock who participated in the Harvey Relay for Life are pictured. Left to right are John Sears, Jenae Johnson, Noah Engels (rear), Breana Buehler, Megan Wald and Beau Buehler. Not pictured are Erin Leier, Rachel Olson and chapter advisor Gary Wald. Eight members of the Maddock AS Gibbens FFA Chapter participated in the Harvey Annual Relay For Life event held the evening of Friday, July 10 and ending Saturday morning, July 11. Also participating with the Maddock FFA chapter were Molly Wald and Bonnie Johnson. John Provost of Phoenix, Ariz. brought more than $500 in pledges for the relay event and participated in the walk to assist in Cancer Research, The Maddock FFA Chapter earned more than $1,000 in fund raisers during the past year. In addition, the chapter also collected $625 in luminary donations when a table was set up in front of Tracy’s Market on July 3. Pat Tracy donated a bottle of water for each individual who donated toward a luminary. The Harvey Relay For Life event brought in more than $39,000 in donations for cancer research.
Esmond Eagles soar again!
Members of the class of 1959 served ice cream at the Esmond Eagles Alumni Association (EEAA) Reunion in the Esmond Eagles Alumni Center Saturday. Left to right are Lorraine Lauinger Brewer, Janice Eberle Meyer, Richard Peterson, Diane Leier Fichter, Alice Arnold Long, Bernard Anderson, Alice Jane Keller Danduran and Victor Wolf. Peterson did not graduate from EHS but attended school there from 7th through 11th grade. The class of 1969 served breakfast Saturday and the class of 1979 hosted a pork barbecue on Friday evening.
Bernard Anderson of Jamestown shows an Esmond Eagles lettermen’s jacket that looks like new even though Anderson earned his jacket more than 50 years ago. Actually it is new. It’s a Jamestown lettermen’s jacket that was modified with Esmond lettering.
Albert L. Olson of Coon Rapids, Minn. returned for the 70th anniversary of his EHS graduating class of 1939. He brought his family with him. Seated beside him is his wife, Elizabeth. Standing left to right, are daughter Joyce Kirkeide and her husband, John of Anoka, Minn., daughter Jan Pfile of Freeport, Ill. and son Dale Olson of Lady Lake, Fla.
Jane Wolfe sang several numbers during the Saturday evening program. She is a 1955 graduate and a long-time teacher at the Esmond School.
Diane Peyerl pins an Esmond Eagles pin on Albert L. Olson as the master of ceremonies, Cindy Rieger holds the microphone. As far as Olson knows, he and his sister, Doris Olson Van Gelder of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. are the only 1939 EHS graduates still living. Deceased members of the class are Tony Wentz, Luella Thompson, Mavis Lunde, Irene Hoffner, Duane Lysne, "Tiny" Bengson and James Krebsbach.
John Sears entertained the crowd with a song. He is the grandson of EHS grad Diane Peyerl and the great-grandson of EHS grads Walter and Ann Streifel.
All veterans were honored at the reunion, with special recognition given to WWII veterans. Left to right are WWII veterans Walter Bachmeier, Esabius Burgard, Albert Olson and Sylvester Hoffner. Not pictured is Henry Pfeifer, who was also present.