One month ago today, I was sitting at my kitchen table, finishing dinner, when the phone rang. It was my Mother on the phone explaining that her Brother--Mike (my Uncle Mike) was in the hospital in Erie, PA--and his friend that called her said that Uncle Mike was in the ER where he was suddenly surrounded by a team of Doctors and Nurses. That was all we knew as they told the friend it was ok to leave. My Mom and Dad were heading up. I said okay, I'll meet you there.
Upon arriving to the hospital, we learned that Uncle Mike was in the ICU on full life support.
The story that later unfolded was that afternoon at his home (which is 45 minutes from the hospital), he had chest pain and called a friend to take him to the ER. (Please Friends, Family, Followers--if you are having chest pain, call 911). Upon arrival to the ER, and placed on the monitor, it was discovered he was having a heart attack. He was taken to the cath lab to emergently place a stent. The Cardiologist said my Uncle was talking during the procedure, and then suddenly he went into cardiac arrest.
If you are going to have a cardiac arrest, he was in the best place. He was successfully resuscitated, but due to the heart attack, his heart was very very weak, and barely pumping on its own. The Cardiologist inserted a device called an Impella, which basically is a motorized catheter in the ventricle of his heart that pumped blood from his damaged heart out to his body so that his brain, kidneys, gut and extremities could be perfused. Not only was that in place, but he was on a respirator. He had 3 powerful drugs, called vasopressors also being infused to maintain the little bit of blood pressure he had.
Basically, he was on a minute by minute fight for his life that night. He made it through the night. And the next day.
And for the next 10 days, he hung on to life but he remained on full life support. With every attempt to wean off the heart pump, his blood pressure ended up getting dangerously low. He was sedated and could not speak or make his wishes known. The Doctors and Nurses felt he was neurologically okay, despite the cardiac arrest. In the meantime, he became septic from pneumonia.
We agreed with the plan to send him to Pittsburgh to see what their cardiac team could do. He was transported there via life flight. I was very concerned because he was still so critical, and I could not be there immediately and the second round of relatives were travelling to get to Pittsburgh.
God had that covered.
Unbeknownst to me until that very day, my Aunt Norma (which is my Dad's Sister) was in the hospital in Pittsburgh. Aunt Norma's daughter, my Cousin Donna--texted: "Mike just arrived in Cardiac ICU, diagonally from Norma! Sitting here with Norma when life flight brought him in. Ur Welcome." Can you believe it? I still shake my head in disbelief, but I believe this was divine intervention.
I was so thankful, because the next few days for Mike were hard, and my Cousin Donna was there giving us updates, and giving him encouragement as he came back to life. I am forever grateful to her!
The Pittsburgh hospital went to work and in 2 days, they had him off the heart pump. When I visited that night, he was still on a respirator, and fighting sepsis.....but Mike fought and hung on to life. He rallied, and his will to live pulled him through. By the next 4 days, he was weaned off the respirator and transferred to the regular floor. He could not swallow well due to having breathing tube for 10 days and still required a feeding tube through his nose, that went down his throat, and gave him nutrition into his gut.
From there, he has spent the last 2 weeks in a rehab unit. He was a star patient. He has made a complete recovery with swallowing therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. In his OT classes, he made cookies and cakes for all the other patients and staff! He is once again able to eat and swallow on his own. He was discharged home today! That is how he earned the new nickname this month as Miracle Man. We as his family are so glad he is alive and we love him so much! Always believe in miracles and the power of prayer! Thank You, Lord.
Here is to Much Happiness and Good Heath,
Your Friend, Dr. Younger You