CASPER, Wyo. – Jim and Robin Guith sat anxiously together in the Wyoming Medical Center chapel on Wednesday morning. It was just about an hour before Jim was scheduled to start prepping for surgery.
Jim, wearing a hospital gown and with IV machine in tow, would soon give his daughter away at the altar.
This was not what they had in mind when the wedding was scheduled to take place in Spokane, Wash., late next month.
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Jim’s sudden stroke last Friday night changed all that.
“I couldn’t talk, my vision got a little fuzzy,” recalls Jim. “Prior to that, nothing. No headache, numbness…nothing.”
“I looked at him and knew he was trouble,” said Robin. “I dialed 9-11 and they had him to the hospital in about 15 minutes.”
Fortunately, Jim escaped major permanent complications. Robin says doctors found some blockage in a neck artery, which they believed broke free and went to his brain.
Surgery needed to remove the remaining blockage was scheduled for Wednesday.
Jim and Robin fostered dozens of children over their 34 years together. One of them was Maryann Beck-Guith, 29, who they eventually adopted. Naturally they were eagerly anticipating her wedding to fiancé Aaron Anderson.
In Spokane, Maryann heard about her dad’s emergency. “I’ve got to go be with dad,” she recalls thinking.
Robin says they were first surprised to hear yesterday that the couple was on the way by car.
“Then she laid it on us that they’re going to get married here,” she said.
“We didn’t know we were getting married until yesterday afternoon,” said Aaron, who credits his father for the suggestion.
With a long car drive, a scheduled surgery and barely 24 hours to prepare, a wedding plan was made.
Wyoming Medical Center patient family advocate Amanda BeVier scheduled the hospital chapel and told their chaplain. She rounded up something borrowed, blue, old and new, along with a small bouquet for the bride.
Two cupcakes were brought in for wedding cakes.
Maryann made a quick stop at Kohl’s for a new dress, and Aaron called his friend, Chance Chambers, to be his best man.
“I didn’t realize he meant, like, right now,” said Chambers, who came to the chapel straight from work.
Maryann’s sister, Roxanna, was risking a speeding ticket driving from Rawlins. She wouldn’t make it in time and would have to watch later it on video.
In front of a small audience that included Jim’s neurologist and nurse, the proud father dressed in a hospital gown, walked down the aisle with his daughter in one arm and his IV machine in the other.
Vows were spoken and tears were cried. The medical staff took photos, exchanged hugs and trickled out back to work.
Jim was now off to surgery, knowing his bigger family would be waiting for him.
“For a spur-of-the-moment thing, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said.