How Precious Life Is…

The last few days have been a bit of a blur… emergency call on Wed (“Your brother’s had a heart attack”), followed by lots of worrying, lots more calls, trip to NC, more calls, hospital rooms, hotel rooms, hospital cafeterias, little sleep, etc, etc…

For those who don’t know, last Wednesday, my brother suffered a major heart attack. That is what the doctors call it… major. He (luckily) was in Wal-Mart. He lives in the mountains in NC, and was meeting his ride to work there. He works in Cherokee and the roads between Wal-Mart and his job are pretty much desolate mountain roads. Thank God he was there waiting for his ride and not half way to Cherokee.

They airlifted him to Asheville, NC where he was in a coma and on life support. They put a balloon in his heart to help it beat. They put a lot of other tubes and things in him too. When we got to the hospital we were told not to “get upset” when we walked in the room. They said he had to rest and we could talk to him but he could not move. The nurse said he believed patients in a coma could hear and would know we were there but that was just his opinion and there was no way to really know. I asked if he thought we should stay and read to him or talk to him and he said “we cannot advise you.”  I asked him what he would do if it were his brother and he said (after a very long pause…) “I would stay and read to him.”

Over the next 36 hours he arrested four times, he flatlined for a “significant amount of time” twice. They said they wanted to take out the balloon. They said the balloon and other tubes were chances for infection and every chance for infection was a chance that he might not make it. Infection is bad… the worst… we had to get them out.

On the morning of the third day, they removed the balloon. His heart continued to beat on it’s own. On the evening of the third day, they removed the other tubes (except for the breathing tube). He sustained his heartbeat and blood pressure. They wanted to remove the breathing tube but decided against it. It may be too soon. He may have pneumonia. They would have to perform a test to be sure. They did the test and they said “fluid in the lungs, but we will not say it’s pneumonia. Sometimes this happens from the breathing tube. We will start the meds and attempt to remove the breathing tube in the morning.” We prayed.

On the fourth day, Sunday, as we prepared to leave for a few days, he was still in a coma and the Drs said they were not sure when (IF) he would come out of it. We were reminded by every Dr, Drs asst, nurse, etc… that his heart has “sustained MAJOR damage” and “the outcome is not certain.” They were going to attempt to take out the breathing tube. I was scared.

So finally they took it out. And… he breathed on his own. Soon after, he regained consciousness. Then he talked. He asked for mom.

It’s really pretty amazing. He remembers the helicopter ride to the airport. He knows why he is in the hospital and recognizes the life changes he needs to make. He said “I cannot live the same life anymore.” He recognized all of us. He even cracked a joke and laughed at it. We are not a family of criers but we all cried.

Words cannot really describe how I feel today. I am happy, of course, and tired, and relieved, and still a little scared…. who knows what the next days will hold? But one thing is certain… I have wonderful people in my life and I cannot begin to know how to thank them for everything. Life is hard and without them, I don’t know where I would be. Keep us in your prayers (however you pray) and I will do the same. Much love to all.

2 Responses to “How Precious Life Is…”
  1. Kim& Dan says:

    Jenn, Hi honey, I had know Idea this was going on and I wished I had so I could pray some more for him. I had only seen the one post on Fb at the beginning. I will now continue to pray for you and your family that he recovers quickly. If we can do anything to help please let us know. We love you, Kim & Dan

  2. Nicely put. So glad to hear the prayers are working. I’ll keep praying for full-recovery.

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