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Doug Grieshop - Bicuspid Aortic Valve and Aortic Rupture September is that golden month when summer turns into fall. It was a special month for Doug and Stacey Grieshop, with very special days to remember. Doug's birthday was September 19th, followed by their wedding anniversary three days later on September 22nd.  In 2004, September 19th was a Sunday, and Doug spent his birthday doing some of the active, physical things he enjoyed, including playing golf. In a few days, it would be three years since Doug and Stacey were married in a simple ceremony in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. There was another reason for special joy in their household this September. Just the week before Doug's birthday, they learned that the baby they were expecting was a girl. Looking forward to the arrival of a little sister for Grant, together they chose her name, Olivia Katherine. September 20, 2004 On Monday morning, September 20th, Doug began the day early, around 5:30 AM. First riding to the construction site with coworkers, then getting started on the job, it was a typical Monday at work. Those with him that morning all remember Doug being his usual happy self, joking with them on the drive to work and during the break they took around 10 o'clock. A little while after that break Doug started up a ladder leading to the building's roof. Wearing his welder's helmet, he was about half way up when he stopped and, without saying anything, came back down. When he reached the ground, he stumbled to his left and collapsed. It was 10:50 AM. A construction site must be prepared for emergencies, and there were several present with EMT training. Within 10 seconds, the superintendent was at Doug's side. Pulling off Doug's welder's helmet, he saw that Doug's face was blue. He immediately began CPR. The Rescue Squad, located nearby, reached Doug within three to five minutes. They did everything possible, including shocking him. There was no pulse. From the moment Doug fell to the ground, there was no response at all to efforts to revive him. Doug was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. According to the report from the coroner's office, it was 11:36 AM. Phone calls were being made. Doug worked for his father-in-law's company. When the superintendent called the office, it was Doug's brother-in-law who answered, and it was Stacey's own father who would call her. "I am five months pregnant. Can you tell me if he is alive?" At 11:30 AM, Stacey also was at work. She was just getting ready to leave for lunch when her Dad called, telling her "Doug has had a heart attack." Driven home by two coworkers, Stacey then called the hospital. Speaking to someone there about Doug, she found herself saying what was uppermost in her mind, "I am five months pregnant. Can you tell me if he is alive?" Stacey remembers the woman diverting the conversation, asking her things like what medications Doug was taking. Describing that phone call now, Stacey says, "She never answered my question. When I got off the phone, I knew that Doug was dead." After an hour and a half drive, Stacey arrived at the hospital with her parents and brother. When she was shown into a little room after giving her name at the desk, it was just another confirmation that Doug was already gone. Other people were there, including several from the work site. Stacey just said, "Where is he?" Warned first about what to expect when she saw him, she was given time with Doug's body. An Autopsy and Discovery of a Bicuspid Aortic Valve At the hospital Stacey remembers the coroner telling her, "I don't know why your husband died." An autopsy was performed, and at 7 AM the next morning the coroner called. It was then that Stacey learned that Doug did not have a heart attack. For the first time, she heard about something else in the chest that can take life suddenly. The coroner told Stacey an aortic rupture had taken Doug's life. The case summary from the coroner's office tells more of the story. Doug had a bicuspid aortic valve. And right next to the place where Doug's aorta ruptured that day, there was an "old partial-thickness rupture of the ascending aorta". Chest Pain, June 2003 When did that first aortic tearing or "partial-thickness rupture" happen? Dissection (tearing) of the aorta is usually associated with excruciating pain, and Stacey remembers well one summer night in June 2003.  That evening after work, Doug was relaxing in his recliner about 7 pm when he felt severe pain in his chest, radiating to his neck and left arm. Stacey knew the pain must be unbearable because he agreed to go to the Emergency Room. There, he had an EKG, blood work was done, and his blood pressure lowered. There was no sign of a heart attack, but Doug was kept overnight for observation. Since Doug's father had already had bypass surgery due to severe coronary artery disease, they were relieved that a heart attack had been ruled out. Doug was given medication for anxiety. The pain in his chest had been severe, and Doug would gladly take that medicine if it could prevent this from happening again. From that day forward, he took it faithfully each day, including the morning of the day he died. Doug's blood pressure was high, and they were advised that the next week he should have his blood pressure checked each day in a doctor's office. It was difficult for Doug to do that while working. With the chest pain gone it did not seem urgent, and Doug's blood pressure was not treated with medication. Back Pain, September 2004 On September 11th, Doug did some heavy lifting, moving a generator that weighed at least 100 pounds. The following week he had what he described as bad pain in his back and shoulder. They assumed at the time it was just from the lifting he had done. There was no reason to think it was anything else, but now there are lingering doubts about the source of that pain. The day before his death, September 19th, Doug was very physically active and never mentioned any pain in his back at all. There were other things that are remembered about Doug: in addition to his high blood pressure, he got nose bleeds easily, had headaches since he was a little boy, and sometimes said he could only see straight ahead. When he looked to the sides, it was just black. One day in August 2003, Doug suddenly got a severe headache at work. He said it felt like someone put a rod through his head. It was thought to be a severe migraine. Going on Without Doug What do you say when your little boy cries for Daddy?  How do you manage to eat, to take care of yourself, knowing there is a new life within you, depending on you? How do you face day after day without your husband? Four months after his death, how do you give birth without him? How do you go on? Stacey Grieshop has faced all those questions, done all those things. She has searched for meaning, for a purpose in all of this tremendous loss and pain. It is her hope that in telling Doug's story, someone else's life may be saved. September 2005 Again in September, the seasons change as summer turns into fall. But this year and always, for all those who knew and loved Doug, September can never be the same. There are no words to describe the emptiness without him. Little Grant looks at Doug's picture, not able to understand why Daddy doesn't come home. Baby Olivia will not have memories of her Daddy, but Stacey will tell her about him - how he helped choose her name, how much he loved her, and how he looked forward to the day she would be born. September 2012 It is not enough, but beautiful memories of this strong, vibrant young man have been left with those who love him. And his smile, his walk, the sparkle in his eyes are still with them, living again through his children, whom he left much too soon on that sad September day.
Doug Grieshop
On the morning of September 20, 2004, the day following his 33rd birthday, Doug died suddenly due to rupture                     of his ascending aorta. On September 20, 2005, Celina, Ohio, Doug and Stacey's home, proclaimed September as TAD Awareness Month.
Wedding Day

September 22, 2001

A bright future stretched before them on their wedding day. Doug died two days before their third anniversary.
Grant and Olivia
Olivia was born four months after Doug’s death.
Loving Father 

Doug and Grant

Aortic rupture robbed this little boy of his Daddy.
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