Blessing in disguise | Guest Column


Sometimes when something very bad happens it can, in fact, be a blessing in disguise.

Such was the case the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, when Lyle Mann, not feeling well, drove himself to the clinic. They immediately airlifted him to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham for observation by the cardiac team.

An angiogram the next morning revealed his center artery was nearly totally blocked and a side vein off of that artery was half blocked! His surgeon, Dr. Richard Leone, immediately scheduled him for open heart, double bypass surgery the very next morning on Monday, Nov. 30, 7:30 a.m. Dr. Leone did this immediately to prevent a massive heart attack that imminently threatened to end Lyle's life.

It seems such a drastic, bad thing to be hospitalized for such a major surgery but what a blessing to have caught the blockage problem before there was damage to the heart. I still have my husband — the love of my life — and you all still have a friend and/or family member. Lyle and I were great friends for 18 years and then we have been married these past 20 years. What a blessing to still have him with me! I am so thankful to God for Dr. Leone's skills and expertise.

A big thank you to Dr. Mahoney, Jim Ricks and Rosalie, who jumped into action and shipped Lyle off to be observed by Dr. Leone and his team. Thank you to the Jensen Shipyard family who took care of our animals while we were gone. Thank you to Jon and Tweety Holbrook, who helped me pull the boat out of the water so we didn't have to worry about it while Lyle and I were in Bellingham. Thank you to Chris Chouinard and Tweety Holbrook, who came running to put my car in the ferry lanes.

Those of the shipyard family were a huge help. Besides taking care of our animals, Ruby Putnam made us a special cushion, Alisa Schoultz provided transportation, and Mike Ahrenius helped lift some things when I got so sick after Lyle came home. Thanks, Mike, I owe you some more homemade peanut brittle!

I owe my friend, Ebie Currey, a huge hug for helping us with meals and housework. And friends Paul Herndon and Lynne Barnes used their medical expertise to help Lyle.

And then there was the Aeronautical Services family, who had to pull Christmas duty without our help. Everyone pitched in and got the job done despite being three men down. Dennis Hazelton and Crete from Orcas stepped in with little or no training and took the pressure off the regular team of drivers. Each one of the current drivers helped each other with their routes. Richard Wilkie (Dick) and Paul Hudson on Lopez worked the Christmas season without my help as their sub. The Friday Harbor team got the job done without Lyle in the freight truck and without me delivering a Christmas route. Thank God for each one of them! All of you received your UPS packages during this busy month without major glitches.

Where would we be without those famous Richards who always save our lives? Richard Lewis, Richard Simpson, Richard Bennett, Richard Wilkie and finally, Dr. Richard Leone, Lyle's surgeon whose skills saved Lyle's life on Nov. 30.

What a blessing in disguise these past weeks have been! Thank you to all of you for being there during this scary time. Lyle is doing so well and I have recovered from my Friday Harbor crud too. You're the greatest!

We love you all. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support. Remember when things go horribly wrong, it may be a blessing in disguise.

— Joanie and Lyle Mann live in Friday Harbor

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