Ed called me while I was away to tell me Johnny was not home, on his was to work he could tell the truck had been gone for a few days. Ed checked on the horses and it appeared someone was feeding them. I then got a call from Julie in Louisiana to tell me Johnny was in the hospital. He had not been feeling well since his trip to Louisiana and drove himself to the hospital. His condition was not good. They were talking about putting a heart pump in to help Johnny until he got a new heart.
Thankfully I was flying out on Wednesday the following day. Ed picked me up at the airport and we went right to the hospital. When we got to Johnny's room they were moving him to intensive care. but we were able to visit briefly with him in intensive care. He was not doing well and was very emotional. I told him not to worry about the horses I would take care of them. His son was going to go and pick up his dog.They were preparing Johnny to be moved to another hospital to have the heart pump put in on Friday. I talked with Julie and she told me his health in Louisiana was not good and that this trip took a lot out of him. I planned to pick her up at the airport on Friday morning and head right over to the hospital. His son was going to be there and Johnny's mother was driving up from Georgia. I had never met the two before. We met in the cafeteria and I instantly liked them both, I could see so much of Johnny in the both of them and it was a nice feeling. We sat and waited all day. Surgery started at around 9am and a few updates would come saying all was going well. I think around 7pm or so they called to say they had a complication but he was doing better. He did not get into recovery until 11:30 pm that night. It had been a long day, but all were hopeful.
Ed and I returned to the hospital on Sunday with dinner for everyone. Julie and Johnny's mom were staying next door at the hospital hotel. When we got there they brought us right up to see Johnny, he was not expected to wake up for a few days. His hands and feet were black due to the lack of circulation during surgery, this was normal for this type of surgery and hopefully would improve. Everyone was very positive and it seemed all was going as scheduled.
Monday the doctors were concerned be cause he was no longer on the medication that kept him sedated. A scan was planned to see if he had a stroke. I kept feeling optimistic and just knew he would be fine. Julie called me Monday afternoon to tell me to come right away, that Johnny had had a massive stroke. I nearly fell apart, I was truly shocked, this could not be happening. Ed and I went right up to the hospital and into Johnny's room. Everyone was there and needless to say it was very emotional. These people felt like family to me, over the last 4 days we had spent so much time together. My heart was broke. Johnny had suffered a massive stroke during surgery, his aorta was so weak and had shredded sending a piece to his brain.
The family was so generous and gave us time alone with him. I said my goodbyes and thanked him for giving me a wonderful year with him and his horses. Later that night they removed all of life support and Johnny Wayne Baggett passed away on June 25, 2008.