A year ago today, we walked into an urgent care clinic in Granby, CO. Rebecca’s O2 saturation (sats) was 52% and the nurse couldn’t believe that she was able to stand in front of her. After some initial tests, they worried she could be septic and suggested we take her by ambulance to Denver. Our quick weekend away with friends turned out to be a major turning point in Rebecca’s health.

While we sat there waiting for the doctor’s recommendation, Becca sent me on a mission to get her a snack. I figured I would get her the most joyous snack in the vending machine…the Almond JOY. Surprisingly, joy was not an emotion I felt in the moment pictured below. After pumping in $2 for a $1 bar, I walked away with the prize.


Not surprisingly, Rebecca was not in the mood for any Almond JOY by the time I returned. I carried that $2 candy bar with me for the 90 mile ambulance ride as I texted her mom and sister to keep them in the loop.

Her sats had never dropped that low. I had never seen her that sick. At the time, our major concern was sepsis, a life threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection.

Not long after arriving in Denver, we found out that Rebecca was not septic. It was time to celebrate…Almond JOY time. Though we still faced the reality of her failing lungs, there was a huge feeling of relief

It was a major turning point in our mindset. In the course of one day, the lung transplant discussion became less frightening…by comparison. Our short weekend in the mountains quickly changed to a week in the hospital as we waited for her condition to improve enough so that she could fly home on settings that a portable oxygen concentrator could support. From then on, she took a wheelchair through the airports and always had O2 with her.

It was also a major turning point for her health. She switched to supplemental oxygen almost 24 hours a day as her lung function dropped significantly. We later learned that she had experienced heart failure on the right side. Her heart needed to work so much harder because her lungs were slowly failing.

What I learned from that situation was that you need to celebrate good news even when there’s bad news on the horizon and that keeping a positive attitude is a reminder of why recovering is so important..

I never did get my extra dollar back for that Almond JOY but we got our $2 worth!