Morning Grind to help Rose Creek family

Published 10:44 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

Anne Bauer is thankful. Her sister, Mary Lewison, is thankful.

In fact, if Bauer’s seven children or Lewison’s six children were polled, they could all conceivably say they are thankful, too.

They have each other, they have their homes, they have a supportive Rose Creek community, they have their faith, they have their health … well, not quite all of them.

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Anne’s husband, Mike, underwent emergency surgery Nov. 23 to remove blood clots from his lungs and heart.

He is home recovering from the surgery.

Somewhere, Elvis is singing “Blue Christmas” at Rose Creek this holiday season.

Mike, 37 and the son of Lavinda Bauer, Austin (his father is deceased) was a construction foreman for Benike Construction Company, Rochester.

Only a month ago, things took a sharp turn for the worse.

“The week before Thanksgiving on a Saturday night we went to HyVee in Austin shopping for groceries,” began the wife’s story of how things went terribly wrong in the Bauer family. “We were shopping, and I turned around and he wasn’t there behind me. He was leaning against the grocery cart. He said he couldn’t catch his breath and he felt like he was going to pass out.”

The couple finished their grocery shopping and drove home to Rose Creek.

“When we got home, just walking from the car to the house, it happened again,” Anne said. “He just couldn’t catch his breath and had pain in his legs.”

The wife immediately drove her husband to Austin Medical Center – Mayo Health System.

AMC doctors determined he had blood clots in his legs. He was given blood thinners and admitted over night to the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The following day, more tests revealed his condition hadn’t improved. His heart rate was “way above normal,” according to the wife.

Doctors decided he should be transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital, Rochester, by Mayo One air ambulance.

Ironically, Bauer’s employer had performed construction work inside the hospital, where Bauer was now a patient.

St. Mary’s doctors determined he needed open heart surgery immediately.

“Basically, they said he’s going to have a heart attack if we don’t go in and clean him out,” the wife said. “The blood thinners weren’t working well enough.”

“They said they could give him a clot-buster, but with that there’s a chance of aneurysm and stroke.”

“I looked at all the doctors and said ‘If this were you or your spouse what would you do?’ and they said ‘Have the surgery’,” the wife said.

The open heart surgery was performed without delay with the couple’s concurrence.

After the surgery (Nov. 23) and the man’s regaining consciousness, the full measure of the dangers was revealed.

“The one blood clot he had in his pulmonary artery was five-and-a-half inches long,” the wife said. “He also had 25 other clots in his heart/lung cavity.”

“The doctor said ‘We usually find something like this after an autopsy’,” the wife recalled.

Thanksgiving came and went.

“There was lots to be thankful for at Thanksgiving, but this was the biggest thing of them all. Mike was alive,” the wife said.

Mike had never been ill before in his life. He enjoyed an active lifestyle with his family and played softball in the summer with friends.

On the job as a construction foreman, he was a bulldog: First on the job, last to leave. Always moving, never wasting time.

Now, he is confined to his home, where his recovery is going well, but the only thing that is moving are the bills.

They’re growing.

Morning Grind

benefit Friday

All day Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Brian and Daneen Theobald, owners of The Morning Grind coffee shop, will accept donations for the Mike and Anne Bauer family and donate 50 percent of the day’s sales to the family. Gift cards and Coffee Card purchases are excluded.

The Morning Grind is located at 301 First Avenue Southwest.

“The Friday benefit is to help pay some of our bills at this time of the year,” said the wife. “He has pretty good insurance, but the bills still keep piling up. The home mortgage. Everything.”

“I am a stay-at-home mom, so we have no other income but Mike’s,” she said.

Anne Bauer has been placed in the awkward position of discussing the family’s financial plight with reporters and she does a good job, speaking forthrightly, answering all the questions.

The benefit was not her idea. It was the family’s friends, Brian and Daneen Theobald, owners of the Austin coffee shop.

There is no doubt, the family needs help.

The community of Rose Creek has been supportive as well as the Bauer and Anne’s families, other relatives and friends.

Still, when the words of sympathy end and the spotlight of attention dims, the family is alone, fending with an unwelcome event as best they can.

“I have complete faith, that however this turns out, that was just the way it was meant to be,” the wife said.

Anne Bauer and Mary Lewison are daughters of Keith and Rosemary Price, Rose Creek.

This is important to note.

The Prices have 13 children: Anne is number 13 and Mary is number 12.

When the Prices go to mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Rose Creek, they sit together and fill three pews.

Mike and Anne Bauer have five sons and two daughters: Conrad, 14, Cecylia, 13, Michael, 11, Max, 8, Kahle, 7, Isabelle, 5, and Noah, 3.

Mike’s health problems have torched many, but no more than it has touched his wife and sister-in-law.

“Physically, he is doing really good,” said the wife. “He still gets quite choked up about things.”

“It was really hard for me,” said Mary Lewison, Mike’s sister-in-law, before herself choking up and stopping to regain control.

“We’ve always been there for each other,” she said. “We got married within a year of each other. We bought houses across the street from each other. Mike and Anne and Jon and me, we’ve been through the good times and the bad times together.”

Four weeks before Mike’s surgery, his sister-in-law, Mary, had surgery of her own.

Soon after arriving home, infections struck, and she returned to the hospital.

“When this happened to Mike it was like I was reliving all the pain I suffered because we are so closely connected,” she said.

“Connected” is the only word to describe the Keith and Rosemary Price family and their 13 children and more than 90 grandchildren.

The family emergency will be yet another test of the strength of Price family ties.

“I told Mike and Annie after this happened we will go without food, we will go without a house, we will go without anything before we will let them suffer,” Rosemary Price said.

Also, a fund has been established for the Bauer family at Accentra Credit Union.