I told you 2009 was going to be exciting, didn’t I. Maybe I should be a little more careful with my words next time around…
So this is what happened: Friday morning at about 11:30 (as near as I can tell), my brother Jacob collapsed at his work station at Meijer’s down in Cincinnati. He stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. They called 911, did CPR, and tried to use the electroshock paddles they had there. It didn’t work. The ambulance arrived and rushed him to the hospital, where they were finally able to restart his heart and get him breathing on a ventilator. At that point he had been technically dead for 25 minutes. He did not regain consciousness. Someone from Meijer’s called my parents, who called my sister Sae who lives in Cincinnati (actually she and Jacob are roommates). She rushed to the hospital, and my sister Mariah came home from work to take my parents down to Cincinnati.
When my parents got to the hospital, they were told that it seemed like Jacob had somehow developed a blood clot in his lung, and that the prognosis was not good. The nurse said that it, “Might not be survivable.”
I got the call from my sister Indy, who was calling as many people as she could before she gave her cell to my parents to take with them to Cincinnati (my parents don’t have cell phones). This was about 12:30. At that time all we knew was that Jacob had passed out, hadn’t regained consciousness, and kept trying to stop breathing. I had ironically just called in sick to work because I had woken up with a migraine. I started sending out e-mails asking for prayers, spending the rest of my time sitting on the couch knitting and praying. Then I got the call that said it was a blood clot. After that I spent my time sitting on the couch crying, praying, and sending e-mails. I think I went through a whole box of Kleenex. I needed to go take a shower, but I was afraid to because I might miss the next call, which might be the one I didn’t want to get, the one I was fairly sure I was going to get. People called with their comfort and prayers, and sent me messages of support. Every one was a comfort to me.
Around six pm I happened to call Mariah right after she had gotten out of a meeting with the doctor. She told me that the doctor said that it wasn’t a blood clot in the lung at all. What had happened was that Jacob had suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 30. One of his arteries was 100% clogged, the other about 70%. The doctor said he had never seen such heart disease in a man this young who wasn’t a smoker. They had done the surgery to re-open his arteries, and his heart had responded well. The doctor was pleased at how he had come through the surgery, but said that it was the next 48 hours that would be crucial. They plan to keep him under sedation for the first 24, and chill him down to lower his body temperature. This helps limit brain damage. If all goes well, the next day they’ll slowly raise his body temperature to normal and taper off the sedation. Then they’ll watch and see whether Jacob regains any sort of consciousness, and if so, what kind of state he’s in. That 25 minutes that it took to restart Jacob’s heart has everybody worried.
And you know, that’s not the best news I ever got, but boy, it was better than it could be. Plus it feels good to have a plan, a course of action, even if it is mostly wait and see. Part of the implications of having a plan for the next 48 hours is that the doctor thinks there quite possibly will be a next 48 hours. At this point, that’s bloody good news.
My parents, Sae, and Mariah were down in Cincinnati today. Mom and Mariah are staying down there tonight, though I don’t know if they’re staying with Sae or with my Aunt who lives there as well. Dad came back up after he realized how tired he was, and how much he needed to sleep in his own bed. He’s going back down tomorrow morning, and I’m going with him. If all goes well (particularly if I don’t get snowed in) I’ll come back to Dayton tomorrow evening. And… we’ll see what happens.
Before all this happened, Indy had been planning a Nickle Poker Night for tonight. Before I hadn’t been sure that I would go, but I realized that after everything that had happened I needed to be around people (Johnsy had been gone all day while this was going on) and particularly I needed to be around my family. So I went over to my parents house and played poker. I was voted Best Poker Face (which I attribute to being exhausted), but I didn’t win a single hand. But that was ok. I spent time with Indy and Rosie and Boy-O, was there to talk to The Duchess when she called in, and got to hug Dad when he got back from Cincinnati. And now I’m tired enough that when I go to bed I might actually sleep.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying, to everyone who has been thinking of us, to everyone who has called or texted or e-mailed to let me know of their prayers and support. It has been a great blessing to know that there are people all over the country and all over the world praying for my brother and for my family. Please continue to pray, pray hard, especially for the next 48 hours. I could write so many blog posts about how wonderful my brother is, not just as my brother, but simply as a human being. I don’t want to lose him.