Dan Arensmeier’s

Heart Stuff (Click HERE for latest . . . )


June 28, 2016 – late afternoon, Dan had a pacemaker installed, and it was discovered that he would need a bypass, open heart surgery later in July.  His LAD (left anterior descending artery – or “widow maker”) is 90% occluded.  They’re going to fix a mitral valve that has not been functioning properly for quite some time. 


July 1 – 2:13 PM – Mary texted that she’d just called 911, as Dan was having chest pain.

2:51 – My SMS to Mary:  When convenient, tell Dan that Hal Chase and I prayed for him in Starbucks in San Rafael – I had work to do with Hal, whose father was in advertising and Dan knew his work and people he had worked with.  The two of them have been E-mail buddies for years.

2:54 – Mary’s SMS:  I did and he laughed.

3:19 – Mary:  CT scan next . . . looking for a pulmonary embolus.  Enzymes normal, xray normal.  Labs normal.  Ekg normal.  O2 normal.  But pain on inspiration.

3:22 – I was driving Hal to pick up Jan and Northgate Mall, he entered:  Thanx for the info.  We are praying.  Hal.

4:41 – Mary:  Redoing all tests.  Gave morphine.  Just put him on O2.  No results from CT yet.

5:08 – M:  Pericardial effusion.  Fluid building up around heart.  Will do an echo to see if the fluid is impeding the heart function.  A little less pain.  Put him on O2.

5:10 – Tim driving:  Thanks Mary, we r still praying, Jan for Tim too.

6:45 – M:  Admitting him for observation

7:56 – M:  Thanks…going home to assure mom and dad and feed the cat.  They will call me..and I will go back bright and early.  L mary

10:36 – Tim:  With you, Sis.  Will keep the phone on, just in case you need to call.


July 2 – 7:36 AM – M:  To cath lab to drain effusion between 9 and 10.  Echo early AM.do not know results.  Chest Pain at 4 AM.  Medicated.  I am here..will let no harm befall him.  L. mary

7:55 – T:  Many thanx for your faithful attention.

8:03 – T:  Should I come back there?  Would it be a help or a bother?

8:06 – M:  Thanx for he offer but I think we are holding our own will notify immediately, if I need you.

8:08 – T:  Thanks.

9:24 – Kirsten:  How is Dan this morning?

9:25 – T:  Not much better . . .

9:25 – K:  I’m sorry Dad.  Praying!

10:09 – M:  Cathlab now scheduled for afternoon.  Reposition pacer wires and maybe drain fluid….

10:10 – T:  Woo

11:24 – M:  He remains in pain with a lot of nausea.  The fluid around heart about the same. Still waiting for cardiologist who did the pacemaker to come in.  Still planning to go back to the cath lab this afternoon.  Started prednisone.

11:48 – T:  Yikes! Currently in Vallejo.  No chance of them just doing the work now and getting it over with now?

11:57 – M:  I wish…cardiologist on way in.  Waiting.  I am being as big a pain in their butt as I can be.  I don’t like how he looks.

12:27 PM – M:  Cath lab in 5 mins.

12:35 – T:  Still praying.

2:07 – M:  One of the pacing wires in wrong position.  Removed and replaced.  The cardiologist just came in and asked if he was on blood thinners…I said no.  He is perplexed.  He is now going back in to drain the fluid.  Dan will then be transferred to ICU.

2:24 – T:  Awright . . .

3:08 – M:  Just out and taken to ICU.  A lot of pain.  Heavily medicated.  Drain in.  Mostly blood in fluid.

3:08 – T:  Acceptable?

3:30 – M:  Yes

4:20 – T:  Are you gonna go home and get some rest?

5:10 – M:  In about an hour….he is sleeping.

5:11 – T:  Good!


July 3 – 8:01 AM – M:  Good news feeling better.  Less chest pressure.  Vital signs stable.  Pacing looks good.  But the pericardial area is still draining…until that stops he says in ICU.

8:05 – T:  Appreciate this update.


July 4 – 8:20 AM – M:  Still bleeding.  Still ICU.  Spirits moderate.  Vital signs a little soft.  No appetite.  Still draining.  Blood count a little low.  I am here guarding him.

8:41 – T:  Thank you!

8:42 – M:  No place else I would rather be.

8:52 – T:  I know it, and love you for it.

8:59 – M:  Echo showed a little less fluid around heart.

9:00 – T:  Yes.

10:08 – T:  At the Sonoma 4th Parade

5:10 PM – T:  Back home.  How’s our boy?

5:24 – M:  Same.  No change.


July 5 – 8:07 AM – M:  Changes..still bleeding.  Hct down.  Possibly taking him back to surgery.

8:57 – T:  Yikes!  Hct is . . . what?

8:58 – M:  Blood count.  I will keep you up to speed.


July 6, - 11:47 AM – M:  Giving blood to him.  Drain came out.  HR high. Short of breath.  Sitting in chair.

11:54 – T:  Is this good?  Drain taken out, or just came out?  HR?  Heart rate??  Sorry, but I’m not medically trained.  Hate to be a bother.

12:30 – M:  Drain taken out.  Good sign. .that he is not bleeding as much into the sac around the heart.  Heart rate still high.  Getting blood.

12:31 – T:  Thank you.

4:10  PM – T:  Mary, when you think it appropriate, tell Dan that only he could get his wires crossed in his pacemaker.

4:20 – M:  He laughed.

5:10 – M:  Out of ICU.  Treating rapid heart rate with meds.


July 7, 2:14 PM – T:  And, today?

2:22 – M:  Still rapid rate.  On meds.  Little fluid left around heart.  Up chair and walking with assis.  Still short of breath.  Eating.  Puny.  But progressing.


July 8 -

An E-mail from Mary:  Franki – has wise advice (she had encouraged Mary to take care of herself, as the docs are taking care of Dan).  Dan out of ICU last night…..My brother Jim may be bringing him home today…we will see what the docs say this morning. We have to get him strong for the next round.  Mary

E-mail to Mary asking about a visit from us, and when Dan’s surgery is scheduled.

Reply:  Not scheduled – sometime in the next 30-45 days.  He is going home today.  I will ask his preference on your visit.  Mary


July 10 –

Telephone call from “Mary Baum” who is Dan’s wife!  Jan and I were attending a Stomper’s baseball game (a rarity in our experience), when the phone vibrated and I saw Mary’s name, and immediately clutched a bit, and answered, “Mary, what’s up?!”  My brother, Dan, responded that it was him using Mary’s phone as he hadn’t figured out how to use his.  He was in good spirits, but indicated that he was needing to work on getting sufficiently well after 10 days in ICU, so as to be well enough for this open heart surgery, to 1) repair a mitral valve, and 2) do a bypass of his main heart artery.  We had a delightful conversation, and his suggestion was that we wait until after his surgery to visit.  We’re meditating on that.


July 13 –

As Jan and I were arranging flights to go visit Dan, Mary and company, Jan had the hot thought of checking in to see if he would be in town July 19 – 23.  I suggested she call him, and he strongly directed that we not come as he was not in good shape, and had just spent several hours seeing doctors.  Of course, we’ll honor his desire, but it only further encouraged us to pray for him and Mary, as these are not being good days. 


July 14 –

Dan called.  He’s not too encouraged by what the docs are saying, because they’re not saying much.  Lots of himming and hawing and “that’s interesting . . .  But, little confidence building stuff.  He’s working at getting strong enough for the mitral valve repair.  They don’t know if they’re going to try to fix the 90% blockage of the “widow maker” artery.  Some how, they seem to think that that one being blocked may help the mitral valve repair take . . . ??!!

In any event, Dan is comfortable that we should visit after the operation, and I’m willing to live with that.


July 16 –

Dan Arensmeier   9:58 AM








So it was not a heart attack but they did attack my heart!  Pacemaker and hearth cath – then home – in on Tuesday and home on a Thursday and opps complications as a result – back to hospital sirens and fire trucks – very dramatic – readjust the Pacemaker and in the process start a resulting Paracardial Effusion – bleeding outside of the heart into the ParicardiumComplications because of that.  Egad.  So that was monitored, probed and pumped – got to get rid of blood clots………..meds, shots, the works……….so that was 8 days in the ICU.

So home late last Friday…………feebly.  I have had three doc appointments across town this last week each one taking about, oh, three or four hours – am sure I will have more next week.   So each day is a bit of an improvement, I will admit to a bit of anxiety about my continuing breathing…………….and am very happy and thankful when I wake up in the morning!!

Good knowledgeable Mary has convinced the docs to just leave my heart alone for a while here and let me build up my blood and strength so they can figure out what it is they want to do next.  One option on the table is a one vessel by pass (where there is Coronary Artery Disease) and a repair of the Mitral Valve which seems to be the source of the problem………..we’ll see.  That decision on or about July 22.

You have all been terrific in staying in touch and keeping track of me and I appreciate the love/support/good vibes/prayers a lot.  I will admit that I am leaning toward being rather monk-like in this process and have not been too good about responding/following up with you all.

I do love you all and know that you love me – and for that I am deeply grateful.


Love Daniel

July 23, 2016

Some very good news on the horizon…………..after some exhaustive research and investigation by Mary – she came up with some very good questions of the medical/surgical/cardiology team – everybody agreed that I had been through a lot, that I was very fragile and weak……..(very true, indeed) – so her first question was “why not just leave Dan’s heart alone for a while?”  Second question “is it really necessary to dive in and do open heart – or least invasive (which are both the same by the way) – or is there an alternative such as just repairing the Mitral Valve at this point”?. 


There was great receptivity openness to the question and to the concept and in the discussion it turns out that there was an alternative that was not available even a few years ago – and that is a “clip” that effectively tightens up the valve leaflets in the Mitral Valve.  It’s called a Transcatheter Mitral Valve Procedure.  Wow!  They also talked about a possible stint for the one blocked artery.


At this point our surgeon and cardiologist are in discussion and about this and we should know in the next few days when this procedure might take place.  We were definitely celebrating the visit to our surgeon far differently than we had anticipated yesterday.


You have all been wonderful in terms of following up, sending your love, support and believe me it is so greatly appreciated.  We wanted you to know what was happening and we will keep in touch as we move forward!


With much love,


Mary and Dan


August 2, 2016


I believe Bekah is one of the tenants in The Schlier Mansion, which Dan and Mary own and rent out to various professionals who office there.


Thanks Bekah……….so here’s the deal…………..I am getting stronger every day – have snuck down to the Carriage House a couple of times……….they tell me that following the kind of visit I had to the ICU at Rose Hospital – it’s about a six weeks process to get your strength back.  Yowee

In my case they are hoping to get me strong enough to have open heart surgery to repair what is really wrong with my heart.  The good news: they believe that really repairing the valve in question – that there are real gains – long term!

So………getting stronger so I can do this all over again…………I am looking forward to writing my report:  What I Did on My Summer Vacation.

I really do appreciate all of the support, concern, good thoughts that all of you have been sending along

August 5, 2016

Well it is time for the Full Monty here: 

I am scheduled to have open heart surgery August 23rd – single vessel bypass and Mitral Valve repair.  Turns out that after almost being done in, in July – I have regained sufficient strength to get after this next step.  What a process!  Turns out that the Mitral Valve is really more of a system than a valve – which has been the source of the problem all along.  


Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your thoughts, good wishes and prayers during this time of recuperation.  The timing on this will allow Mary and me to get emotionally ready for Round 2 and get this done.


We are very happy with our cardiologist and surgeon – and yes, they have done this before……many, many times!  The good news:  There are substantial long term benefits from getting this done sooner rather than later.  And: Mary and I both know that you all will be pulling for me during this entire process……….which makes all the difference and is greatly appreciated!


Love you all and will keep you informed.


Dan, and Mary, who has walked with me (well, actually ahead of me) every step of the way!


August 7, 2016


Mary – Weak.  Fluid still on left lung.  They upped his Lasix.  Appointment tues.  They will do an echo.  They also may do another thoracentesis.   Still scheduled for surgery on the 23rd.


August 10, 2016


Mary – Scheduled for surgery early tomorrow.  Tests today.  Very Confident in team of cardiologists.  Dan is in good spirits and positive. . 


August 11, 2016


Mary – 6:40 AM – They just took him back to the OR.  And so it begins.


7:15 AM, after I asked how she was doing:  OK. My daughter is here..but looking forward to it being over.


12:19 PM – Mary:  Repair of valve did not work..have to put him bak on bypass and replace the valve.  No coronary artery bypass.  Extra 3 hours in OR.  UPPED THE RISK.  KIEEP PRAYING.


4:06 PM – Mary:  Out of surgery. Stable. Had 2 units of blood. To icu. On vet. Will get to see him in 10 mins


9:00 PM – Mary called, Dan is in recovery / ICU.  He is still being ventilated.  Will be all night.  Has a bovine valve in where the mitral valve fix, had not taken, and has an additional 6 units of blood.  Mary is home and trying to get some sleep.  The hospital has her phone #, and she will rise early to return to the University Hospital in Denver to ascertain what is happening with Dan.  They didn’t work on any bypass of arteries on the heart – that may be done later . . .   For whatever reason, he is still loosing blood, somewhere.  Your prayers are still valued.


August 12, 2016 –


Mary – 9:53 AM – They just too the vent out. He is disoriented but knows us.  His bp is stable. Still bleeding. He is relieved to have the tube out.  In at fib but pacing

                     Tim here -  I’m told that the last phrase must have to do with the pacemaker working the way it should . .


3:31 – PM, Mary:  They stood him up. Rough but he did it.  Pain severe but meds help.  No longer disoriented.  Sips of water.


August 13, 2016 –


7:44 AM – Mary:  New day.  New drugs  sit walk  Jello  Outragious pain  Catheter out


2:30 PM – Mary:  Less struggle with the pain today. Better pain control. But a rough day. I’m told part of the process.


August 14, 2016 –


8:18 AM – Mary:  Lungs working better today. Last night put him on a cpap.  He hates it but it helped him sleep. Moaning with some pain but they just medicated him. Still trying to dry him out with Lasix. But still feet and hands swollen. Another day….they will get him  up again today.


11:38 – Tim:  Many people at church asked about him AND you.  You’re being prayed for by a number of people.

     6:09 – Any word(s)?


6:19 PM – Mary:  Much better. Meds reduced.  O2 reduced. Tired and still has pain Meds for pain working in ICR for several more days.


August 22, 2016


2:27 PM – Tim:  I phoned Dan, and left a voice message.  Phoned Mary, and got her.  She’s semi-beside herself, as Dan is not doing all that much better.  Looks good, while lying down.  If they stand him up by his bed, his blood pressure drops to 75 over something too low, and he’s back in bed.  They have him on so many meds, it’s as though they’re fighting each other.  She has her own job, and asked if they some move some furniture into the hospital as Dan doesn’t seem to be getting ready to go anywhere.  She gave me Dan’s phone # at the hospital, so I called him there.

                     We had a pleasant conversation, until he had to take more meds.  He sounded good, just legitimately frustrated that no one of the doctors seem to get on top of what’s wrong with him.  He has essentially the same symptoms as when he entered the hospital, albeit, he has had a bovine valve replace his mitral valve and it only moos infrequently.


August 23, 2016


12:40 PM – Mary:  Walked today after they took him off some drugs with no BP drop..no light headedness. YES

1:33 PM – Dan:  Feeling a bit better.  Up a bit, and getting a bath.  Call back later?  I said, Yes.

3:45 PM – Dan:  Feeling like there is hope!  May be let out of the hospital to home in a couple of days.  I mentioned that we’d be whiffling through in September, stopping through on the 16th for a couple of days, after our attendance at a Board of Direction meeting of Words of Hope in Michigan.  On that same trip, we’re planning to visit Jim Downing, age 103, whom we met in Seoul, Korea, in 1963, when he was really OLD!  As in 50!  We were in our early 20’s.  Now, we’re 25 years older than he was at the time!


August 24, 2016


8:16 PM – Mary:  He is home


August 25, 2016


8:09 AM – DAN! 

Well other than that, Mrs.  Lincoln, how did you like the play?                                

So Mary rushed me to University of Colorado hospital for emergency open heart surgery on August 9th – a 6 hour plus surgery to repair and then replace the Mitral Valve (yes a Bovine tissue valve….I am expecting some swell cow gifts) – then to ICU and recovery.  Then some issues (which Mary helped resolve by the way) relating to medication which went on for another 4 days – could not stand without losing it.


One side bar that you will all appreciate…………In my post surgery stupor I was dead certain that Obama and his entourage came to visit me – with the press…….. the whole bit – and the University Hospital because this surgery had never been done before anywhere.  (trust me folks…………he and his team were there – room 1018!).


But the good news………….Mary brought me home last night.  Though weak and feeble I now feel that I am the road to recovery – with of course Mary waiting on me hand and foot…………..but now noticeable progress.


I am, we are deeply appreciative of the love, support, good wishes and help you all have provided during this ordeal.  And I now feel well enough to respond to email/txts/voice mail – it has been a tough two weeks.


Thanks again – I do love you and now more than ever!!


Dan – and Mary


AUGUST 26, 2016





I have been bragging about Mary but there is another person I want to publicly thank. Lisa the Dan Whisperer…….


I have to share with you an incredible experience in the miserable post surgery recovery in the ICU.  With tubes coming in and out of my throat and other parts of my both………..I did think “this is it”.  This is after Lisa and Mary were there waiting on their edge of their seats for 8 hours…….as I was gasping for breath and life, it was Lisa who was there like the “horse whisperer” quietly talking to me how to breath, relax, do not panic – be calm, be calm. Believe me it was soothing, reassuring and so helpful – I cannot tell you.


She stepped up and took charge at that point in time………..and get this…………..the nurses and medical team in the ICU took immediate notice –they were essentially saying “who is this and how does she know how to do this” - and are still – and I am not exaggerating – are still talking about it! 


Now clear of mind and stronger of body and free tubes down my throat – I am in a position to say “thank you Lisa”  it made a huge difference.  Keep up the good work, who knows the medical community might need you.


With much love,





September 17 & 18 – Tim


Saturday and Sunday, while on our way back from Grand Rapids, Jan and I stopped in Denver to see Dan.


He was very weak, fragile, and had lost weight which was visible.  He was obviously not well, nor feeling all that much like his old self.  Mary is working a full schedule, plus taking care of him, and he tends to be feeling a little guilty about that, but Mary is a brick, who just keeps going, with a delightful attitude. 


It has been busy out since, and Dan and I have talked several times on the phone.  Just today (September 26, 2016), he sent the following:


Mary is always telling me NOT to sugar coat my words and to take off my “rose colored” glasses.  You have all been great about following up with me and I have been hesitant to respond – lately - unless I had something more positive to say.


My recovery is not going that well and I am not getting better stronger each day. If anything it has been a bit of the opposite.   I have developed another effusion near my lung which has caused shortness of breath, weakness and a persistent cough.  Today- after another week of thinking/talking about it by the medical community -  I go in for a second Thoracentesis to hopefully remove the fluid and get me back on track.


And yes I have been a bit grumpy – and I find it difficult to have a glowing positive mental attitude and yet tell you all the truth. 


I am hopeful that today will get us back on track.


In the “grumpy” category – I swear Mary never even comes close……….and I have never seen her busier.


September 27 – 9:52 AM, dan


Yikes 2.0!  So yesterday they pulled 1860 ccs of fluid out the sack around my left lung!!  That out to relieve a bit of pressure and let me do things like ……………breathing……………..that is a lot of fluid that was shloshing around back there………..hey one more day!




(That’s almost a half-gallon, or two quarts of fluid!)  tim





Web posted:  July 1, 2016

Updated:  September 27, 2016

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