Gary Port –“from the heart”, September 2020

Dear Brother Knights,

After 2 weeks at VCU health, I am finally home.  Hallelujah! I want to express my gratitude to all of you for connecting with my son John and myself, offering your prayers and well-wishes.

Thank you and God Bless you.   Thank you for your get well cards.  My thanks to our council for the lovely flower arrangement.  Thank you to David for the VCU ball cap.  I wore it as I was discharged!

I hear that some of you have volunteered to drive me to my cardiac rehab sessions at Chippenham Hospital.  Thank you again.

My heart attack story:

Sunday September 6 – I cut all of the branches off my 15 year-old knockout rose bushes.  There were 5 bushes.  I dragged them into my backyard, bundled them in a roll-wrapped tarp, then transported them into a dumping area within my Kanawha Trace development.  This took 5 trips up and down a hill.  On my 5th trip back to my backyard, I was “spent” and rested several minutes.  I made it through the rest of the day, and then through September 7th Labor Day morning without any incidence or pain.

Add 1 PM, I sat on my easy chair. Then I had my heart attack.  I doubled over.  Annette called 911.  Thanks to our rescue squad, I was quickly rushed to VCU Hospital. They performed two procedures on me, one through my right wrist up to my heart, and the second one near my groin to my aorta.  I was given a heart stent and a balloon procedure removed a clot in the heart.

For 3 days, I recouped in the ICU.  Then I was transferred to a semi-private room on the cardiac unit for 8 days.  While in this room, I met a roommate named “Denny”.  Denny is a devoted Catholic and a Third Degree Knight from the Redeeming Church council.  Denny arranged for Annette and I to received the Eucharist with him.  This was our first Eucharist since March!  Denny and I both served on the US Navy as “airdales”, supporting our fighter squadrons.  We both served on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Forrestal, but at different times.  We had a lot in common and enjoyed each other’s company, making my days go by more quickly in my confining bed site that had no window.  After 3 semi-private room days, I was transferred to a windowed room which afforded me the opportunity to view I-95 and the City Jail.  On Monday, September 21, my vitals and heart rhythm were stable and, after 2 weeks duration, VCU Health discharged me.   I exited, proudly wearing my VCU hat!

At home, I was greeted by a “Welcome Home, Pa” sign on my garage! A neighbor stopped by to wish me a speedy recovery and offer assistance.  Ah, to be home once again!  Hallelujah!  To take a shower, to drink a nice cup of coffee, to see my beautiful birds on my feeder, to “FaceTime” with my 2 granddaughters, ages 15 and 17, to eat some of my favorite foods.  To have my son John and daughter-in-law be with me.  And to have my beautiful wife organize my meds and help with my home care and walking through the first floor rooms of my house.  Little things mean a lot!

I have been home for 5 days and my strength is improving.  My sleep, unfortunately, is at best 3 hours per night.  I can not get to my computer yet, as it is on the 2nd floor.  I will in time, and I will be patient.

I start my cardiac rehab next week and look forward to seeing some of you as you transport me to Chippenham hospital.

Thank you connecting with me and offering me your prayers.

God bless you all!

Fraternally in Christ, Gary