I can remember the day like it was yesterday. My wife went to the Chinese Restaurant to pick up Sesame Chicken for lunch, my favorite. I was outside in the front yard pulling weeds. Thinking back, I was very tired and it seemed like it was taking forever to pull these weeds. I remember thinking I should have used more plastic under the rocks. Arizonans typically decorate their yards with rock because grass is hard to keep green during the hot summers.
After I finished pulling the weeds I decided to scrub the bricks on the fireplace. Bad idea! After a short time my chest tightened like a muscle cramp. My jaw began to hurt and I was having unfamiliar chest pain. I thought that maybe if I stretched out on the bed the pain would subside, but it did not. I was pretty sure I was in trouble. I was home with only my handicapped daughter and she was very frightened. I asked her to take the dog into the bedroom and close the door to keep the dog inside the room. Then I called 911. When the Paramedics arrived, my daughter let them in the house where they immediately transported me to the hospital. That was my first heart attack. I was only 43 years old. My doctor told me that with the Type 2 diabetes, two previous heart attacks and my family history of Coronary Artery Disease, he thought I might live five more years before needing a transplant, although I wasn’t necessarily a good candidate for a transplant.
The first heart attack knocked me for a loop. The right side of my heart was permanently damaged. I was a Manufacturing Manager at a Fortune 100 company. My normal work day was from around 6:00 am to 5:00 pm. I couldn’t stay out of work long, fearing I might be replaced. I took six weeks off, went back to work and two years later, heart attack number two. The stress was too much for me and I took a package and left Arizona.
I relocated to Minnesota, became a manufacturing manager, and soon after was promoted to Plant Manager at a manufacturing company. I didn’t need the stress but I couldn’t let go. One day in 2009 I was trying to mow the lawn and I felt my heart racing. My wife drove me to the hospital where they had to convert my heart to normal rhythm If that sounds unpleasant, it was definitely something I would rather forget. I was sent to another hospital with better cardiac facilities where they discussed options. The doctors wanted to do another Cardiac Cath before deciding on either implanting a pacemaker or an Ablation process. Neither of which made me feel all warm and fuzzy. However, just before my next appointment the same thing happened again. I went to the hospital with Tachycardia and they converted my heart rate then shipped me off to St. Cloud where the Doctors implanted a defibrillator/pacemaker and promptly medically retired me.
My wife and I moved back to Arizona to be closer to family. By now I was 57 years old, medically retired and bored out of my mind. I took pleasure in continuing to prove my doctors wrong, however, what to do with myself? I spent the first two years back in Arizona laying around and watching TV. I know almost all of the CSI Miami, Law and Order and Criminal Minds episodes by memory. That’s how much TV I watched. I found myself becoming increasingly tired all the time. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to last very long unless my behavior changed.
One day my wife and I decided to write a children’s story and dedicate it to our grandson Rylie. We struggled at first. Once we determined the main characters and the story line, things went much smoother. The story would begin in Ohio and a group of birds, lifelong friends would migrate to Florida for the winter. Along the way one of the birds lands in the backyard of a very determined and hungry cat. Eventually the other birds save the Sparrow and when they arrive in Florida they discover their homes were destroyed by a hurricane and they must fly west to Arizona. We actually finished the first book the day Rylie was born. However, I doubted the writing was any good and never thought about actually publishing the book until my brother told me about self-publishing. The book sat on our computer for about a year before deciding to give it a shot. What the heck, should be easy, right?
We published Robby’s Quest for Seed in the fall of 2012. I thought the story was pretty good however we couldn’t afford illustrations. We published anyway. First mistake! I thought the book was edited properly. Second mistake! I thought the book was formatted properly. Third mistake! You get the idea. The learning curve was huge and we’re still struggling. While trying to market the first book, unsuccessfully I might add, we decided to write Robby’s Quest: Ocean Bound where our birds decide to vacation in San Diego. Two of the little Sparrows fly out to a cruise ship, fall asleep, and wake to find themselves on a voyage they will never forget. Thankfully, their friends begin to search for the pair and will stop at nothing to find them.This time we sent the book to an editor and asked the illustrator to create several color pictures.
After publishing the second book, we wrote the third book titled Robby’s Quest: Return of the Cat. In this story the birds travel to Las Vegas to see the sights such as the Secret Garden at the Mirage and Pyramids at the Luxor. Also, we added several full color illustrations to the third book.
I like to think that writing our books has helped keep me active. Things could have been much different for me if I had kept on the path of being an expert in television trivia. I now spend a great deal of time on the computer writing, marketing and especially learning. We’re probably not going to sell many books, I understand that. However, I’m still among the living and trying to instill qualities to children such as leadership, teamwork and friendship. If I can get those ideas across to children, we will continue to write.
I would like to share some excerpts from our Amazon reviews. We are very proud of these comments.
“To help our youngest readers along this book should be libraries everywhere. I can see this book going far in the children’s market.”
“Robby’s Quest for Seed is a book that could only have been written by someone who is truly a good human being with a lot of heart.”
“This is a fantastic children’s story. I loved it!”
“This is a fabulous story of bravery, friendship and teamwork”
Please visit our website at http://www.dcrushbooks.com for up to date information and links to all eBooks and Paperbacks. We’ve just started on the fourth book and we hope that someday you and your children will have a chance to read our books.