London Part I: Myocardial Infarctions, Blessings, & Abandoned Hospitals

Family photo session. In a hospital. In London.
Horrible Picture: All the girls were crying; Jeremy was glad his dad was ok, and was proud that he had found the hospital; and Papa Jim was all hopped up on morphine. ;)

I’m sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. They weren’t at the top of our priority list at the time.

After Mürren, Jeremy and I headed to London, England to meet back up with family, minus the newlyweds. We thought it would be really fun to tour London as a family before everyone went their separate ways.

This post doesn’t have any information about visiting London but I think it’s important to our story. While we were in London my father-in-law, Papa Jim, had a heart attack, a myocardial infarction to be exact. When we are at home, in the United States, our family is disbursed. Ironically, for this major event, we were all together, although so very far from home. It is one of our greatest blessings from our trip.

Early in the morning, around 2 am, Jeremy and I got a phone call in our room that they were calling an ambulance for Jeremy’s dad. We quickly ran down the hall to Jeremy’s parent’s room and waited with them, and Jeremy’s sister. It was obvious that Papa Jim was in a lot of pain. When the paramedics arrived they told him, “No need to panic, you may be having a heart attack.”

The paramedics assured us that they were taking him to the hospital with the best cardiac center in the country. My in-laws were loaded into the ambulance; and Jeremy, his sister, and I drove to the hospital in our rental car.

Now, let’s talk about this hospital. Jeremy, his sister, and I arrived at the hospital around 3 am and parked in a very dark and very vacant parking lot. The building was morose, brick, and had ivy growing up the side–it looked condemned. We walked around the building trying every door we could find and none of them were unlocked. We finally found a janitor outside the building and we asked him where the cardiac center was. His reply, “We haf one of dos?” Comforting.

We left behind the useless janitor and finally found our way inside the building. All of the lights were off, and there was no one at the front desk. Not sure if Papa Jim was in emergency surgery, or even alive, we were freaking out. Through the dim and musty halls we searched for an elevator. This hospital could have been dropped directly from a scene in a horror movie. Picture this: You’re walking down a dark and abandoned hallway, using your hands along the walls for guidance. You hear a noise, you look up, and coming around the corner: a pale female patient, long, blond, straggly, dirty hair hanging past her shoulders. She drags her bum leg behind her as she comes toward you with the knife, the knife that’s dripping blood.

A little over the top, I know, but that’s exactly what it felt like to me.

We finally got a hold of Jeremy’s mom and found the correct floor. We walked past dozens of completely unoccupied rooms and then we walked in and found Papa Jim in one large room with all of the other patients of the acclaimed cardiac center. The room had to be well over 80 degrees. Everyone has different thoughts on this but let me just say: socialized healthcare = bad. I digress.

As uncomfortable and unsettling as the hospital was—the doctors there did save his life. He had one stent put in the following day. Just hours after the procedure the doctors okayed him having a Pepsi. My mind was officially blown. Really? Anyhow, since then Papa Jim’s diet and lifestyle have significantly changed. Papa Jim, we are so thankful to still have you with us! We love you!

Photo of Papa Jim and Momma Gail
A far better picture of these beautiful people! (Photo credit: Bella Porta Photography)

You can visit Bella Porta Photography here, or on Facebook, here.

A significant lesson that everyone can take away from this:

Buy traveler’s insurance, people!

Before their trip to Europe, Jeremy’s parents purchased traveler’s insurance for $30 per person. The traveler’s insurance covered everything—including the ambulance ride, hospital bill (it was considered a private hospital so it wasn’t free), train ride back to Switzerland, and flying first class on the way home so he could have more leg room (which was important for blood flow to his heart).

Post written by