Personal Stories: Dave Wallace
Brian, You asked for my story so that you could keep tabs on the other
survivors. Here is my story. I am 60 years old and work as Corporate
Director for Business Development for a large and medium caliber
ammunition manufacturing company.
This is a very competitive business
both internally among all the type A execs and externally in a very
tight market place. I was becoming less and less resilient to the
various pressures brought about by the job. Our corporate secretary
noted after one interaction on the phone that I was beet red. She
advised me to see a doctor. I did and he found nothing. During the week
of 21 March I was detailed to Hamburg, Germany to shepherd a contract
thru some negotiations with one of our foreign partners.
The flight was
a disaster from the beginning: Sitting up all night in coach, followed
by a whirlwind of mutual entertaining between the companies, up at dawn
to bed at midnight each day then another return transatlantic flight of
thirteen hours from Hamburg with tight connections in Amsterdam, a fall
down an escalator, then trapped in the airplane to Memphis for ten
straight hours. Lost luggage to top everything off. Finally, home on the
26th of March, my wife and I had scheduled a firearms course on Saturday
the 27th because I leave her alone at our rural home so frequently.
Attending that course was a guy from Switzerland named Ray Vetsch. He
drove a Hummer and had a beautiful brace of pistols. We liked him
immediately. We finished the 8 hours course and my next task was to wrap
up things at home and get ready for a flight to Atlanta on the 29th. The
29th didn't happen. On Sunday morning, 28 March I went out in the rain
to make sure some french drains I had had installed on our house were
draining. I bent down to clear one of the drains, felt something like a
violent flutter in the middle of my chest. I thought "what the Hell was
that?" I headed for the house and went down on my knees.
My stomach felt
like I had eaten something rotten, it ached terribly. I got on my feet
and headed into the house. Instinct told me if I didn't keep moving I
would not be able to get up. My wife was busy trying to do her bit with
the Income Taxes. I got her attention and told her to drive me to
Freeman Hospital. I jumped out of the car at the ambulance entrance and
banged on the glass doors. The nurse let me in, and I told her I thought
I was in bad trouble.
She summoned the doctor on duty, Dr. Ray Vetsch. I
said good bye to my wife, assumed I was toast and placed myself at the
mercy of Dr. Vetsch. He saved my life. That was three weeks ago, ICU and
tubes sticking out of everywhere seem like a bad dream. Dr. Vetsch build
an aortic stint, replaced my aortic valve with an artificial one that I
can hear at night, and did a single bypass. I get stronger everyday. I
am grateful to people who squeezed my hand, kissed my forehead, sent me
flowers and prayed that I would recover. I won't let them down.
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