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GSBN: Digest for 7/12/05

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-> Re: GSBN:A note about Mark Piepkorn
     by "Chug." chug@...
-> Re: (Off-topic) A note about Mark Piepkorn
     by Mark Piepkorn duckchow@...
-> GSBN: a note about Mark Piepkorn
     by "Frank & Ingrid" strawbales@...


Date: 12 Jul 2005 03:28:45 -0600
From: "Chug." chug@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:A note about Mark Piepkorn

Hi Mark

I would like to wish you a quick return to health and hope to see you back in
action as soon as possible, and just what was it at
the Peaceweavers' Natural Building Colloquium that caused the old ticker such
a shock?

Take care
warmest regards
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.strawbale-building.co.uk/";>http://www.strawbale-building.co.uk/</a>


Date: 12 Jul 2005 18:41:45 -0600
From: Mark Piepkorn duckchow@...
Subject: Re: (Off-topic) A note about Mark Piepkorn

At 02:01 AM 7/11/2005, Joyce Coppinger wrote:
 >...Mark Piepkorn had a heart attack while he was at the
 >Peaceweavers' Natural Building Colloquium a week ago.

Thanks all for the kind notes, off-list and on. For those who care to know, 
here's what happened:

I'd been digging in hard pack, hauling rocks around and laying them up, 
shoveling clay into the back of a dump truck. Like-that. The next day I 
felt like I'd "sprained my lungs" (as I explained it to a couple people, 
still not aware of what was going on). If I didn't move around much, 
everything seemed normal. But anything requiring any effort at all - like 
walking up a hill - made breathing hard: breaths came in small gulps, and 
my lungs felt strangled. It didn't hurt, really. I had a little sore 
throat, and thought the problem might be part of an oncoming cold - if I 
took it easy, maybe it would all go away.

Next morning there was some pain with the short breath; I walked slow and 
sat in the shade a lot. After noon I was at our tent while other 
participants of the week-long event gathered across the field for lunch. 
Suddenly breathing became very painful - very painful - and my hands 
started to tingle. I knew I wouldn't get far walking. Our truck was parked 
nearby; I got to it and drove... either a smart thing to do, or not. In the 
brief time it took to get to the other side of the field, my vision was 
pitching. Lots of pain, high up in the middle of the chest. Hot. I had a 
hunch what was going on. Getting out of the truck, I asked somebody - I 
couldn't see who it was - if they could please find me a ride to a hospital.

Members of the event staff - the Peaceweavers - were there in seconds, 
including a licensed EMT. Somebody brought me ice water; I splashed most of 
it on my face, which felt good. I asked for aspirin. I couldn't fix my 
gaze, making it seem to me like my head was wobbling around. Maybe it was. 
I was sitting on the ground by then, searing heat and pain, grimacing 
shallow breaths. An ambulance had been called, and they were going to drive 
me to meet it in one of their cars, air conditioner blasting. Terrible 
pain. They did all the right things.

In the ambulance it was nitro, morphine, nitro, morphine, nitro, morphine. 
"One to ten, how much does it hurt?" Eight and a half. Nine. Nine and a 
half. "How old are you?" Shallow, rapid, painful breathing. Hands, feet, 
and face buzzing. "What year were you born?" Tired. Oxygen mask. "When were 
you born?" Siren. IV bags dripping. "Stay with me." Focus, focus; I 
consciously stayed conscious. I felt the choice to live or die was mine. 
Taking blood, talking on the radio, taking blood, talking on the radio, 
taking blood. The ambulance ceiling was full of little holes. The ambulance 
guy told me I was 43. I thought I was 42. Most days I have a hard time 
understanding that I'm not still 21.

In the emergency room I told them, "I've seen this on TV." They asked, 
"What year were you born?" I wondered why meat shutting down should be so 

The big artery in my heart was clogged. They sent a roto-rooter up through 
a vein in my groin - a tiny balloon tucked inside a collapsible wire mesh 
scaffolding at the end of a thin tube. At the blockage in the heart the 
balloon was inflated, opening up the vein and expanding the scaffolding - a 
"stent" - which stays there to hold things open in the future. That's 
angioplasty. Immediately, the pain was gone.

The average elapsed time from the beginning of a heart attack to hospital 
treatment, I was told later, is over 90 minutes. In my case it was about 
30, though it seemed like hours. The supposition is that a tidy amount of 
damage was avoided because of the quick action; appointments to assess this 
damage are slated for later this week. In the meantime I'm learning about 
naps and bland food. I feel far better than I ought to - the occasional 
twinge of a bruised muscle healing. I'm following the doctor's orders, 
though not always without grumbling. I'm thinking about things.

Satomi and Tom Lander, who were at the colloquium leading the installation 
of an earthen floor, completely changed their travel plans to help. Satomi 
was my "best man" when I got married, and she still is. Their help and 
support - from before I even got to the intensive care unit, all the way 
through coming home with us - was invaluable. Steve Paisley, a friend from 
Ithaca who was at the colloquium too, also gave much support and time. 
Having the three of them with us was precious. The Peaceweavers, and all 
the attendees of Building With Spirit, were tremendous... before, during, 
and after. While I don't recommend having a heart attack, I heartily 
endorse the Peaceweavers and Building With Spirit.

Tom and Satomi Lander - <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.landerland.com/";>http://www.landerland.com/</a>
The Peaceweavers - <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.peaceweavers.com/";>http://www.peaceweavers.com/</a>
One of the articles that appeared in local papers about Building With 
Spirit - <a  target="_blank" href="http://tinyurl.com/a434n/";>http://tinyurl.com/a434n/</a>
Angioplasty - <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.angioplasty.org/";>http://www.angioplasty.org/</a>

Mark Piepkorn
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.potkettleblack.com";>http://www.potkettleblack.com</a>

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

S'pose you got work an' there's
jus' one fella wants the job. You got to
pay 'im what he asts. But s'pose they's a
hundred men wants that job.'pose them men
got kids an' them kids is hungry. S'pose
a nickel'll buy at leas' sompin for the
kids. An' you got a hundred men. Jus'
offer 'em a nickel - why, they'll kill
each other fightin' fer that nickel.
                          - John Steinbeck


Date: 12 Jul 2005 20:43:25 -0600
From: "Frank &amp; Ingrid" strawbales@...
Subject: GSBN: a note about Mark Piepkorn

Dear Mark,

Have just read your description of the heart attack, reads like fiction
and is an amazing story of your pain, strength, love of life, healthy
instincts as well as the "Peaceweavers" incredibly quick reaction,
common sense, help, support and strong friendships.

We are thinking of you and wish you a fast and fine recovery.

Take care, Frank &amp; Ingrid

Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, Strawbale Construction
Ph. &amp; Fax: + 61 2 4443 5282 Mobile: 0408415806
 <<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:strawbales@bigpond.com";>mailto:strawbales@...> strawbales@...
 <<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.strawtec.com.au";>http://www.strawtec.com.au</a>> www.strawtec.com.au

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