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.

Dave Wallace 417-782-6884.

Email Dave.


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