Well it's been one heck of a week. What was a truly amazing 60th surprise birthday party for my mom, was followed by a tragic event in our family. My sisters and I have been planning this 60th surprise party for my mom for a long time now. She's always wanted a surprise party, so we figured we would do it for her 60th and hold it about a month before he real birthday (May 11) so she would be caught off guard.
We planned a 'Queen for a Day' theme with hot pink and black colors. The biggest surprise of all was that my Uncle Charles was coming in town from about 4 hours away to surprise her. He's been fighting pancreatic cancer (for almost 2 years) and was not in good shape when we visited them in late January for my cousin's quincineira. In fact he ended up in the ER that night (as did we, to visit). The experimental chemo he was on at the time was making him really sick. He was so excited to come up to Dallas and see us when he is in great shape and feeling good. He stopped the chemo end of January and has been feeling good ever since!!!
So saturday was a crazy day, running around for the cake, balloons, catering etc. My Uncle and Aunt came in on that friday night and were staying with me. The party was at my house too. So on Saturday night, mom walked in, completely surprised! She was so happy to see Uncle Charles too, probably the best surprise of all!
My aunt (a NICU nurse) got him to the couch where he sat and we got him a cold rag, he was extremely hot and complaining of his arms aching and feeling shaky. She had already given him some nitro (he has a history of a bypass and stints in his heart), BP meds and aspirin. He apparently had forgotten to take his meds the night before. So he still wasn't doing well and my Aunt Patti said she would get him one more nitro, take a shower and then take him the ER if he wasn't better. That scared me. But the worst was yet to come. She came back with the nitro, gave it to him and then he just went unconscious, slumped over, sitting up and stopped breathing. it was awful. She told me to call 911 and i did. I was barely able to choke out the info to the operator, me, the strong one that barely ever cries! She did a few rescue breaths to no avail. The operator instructed us to move him to the floor and flat, which wasn't easy, but Alan helped us do it. Patti continued rescue breathing and Alan jumped in to do chest compressions- i remained on the phone with 911. I'll never forget how purple he turned. He finally started to breath at random, but very slow and struggling, but not conscious. The paramedics arrived in about 4 minutes i would estimate. We got out of there way. The said he had no pulse.
They said he was in defib and had to shock him. They got him breathing and a pulse again before loading him into the ambulance. All of Sunday was spent in the ER. The got him somewhat stablizied and started a hyperthermic treatment to cool down his body to try and preserve brain function and prevent swelling. The worry was whether he was deprived of oxygen too long or not. The ER docs were not that hopeful. The treatment to cool him took 24 hours. Then 24 hours of warming before htey would attempt to wake him on Tuesday am to see if he had brain function.
Tuesday am- he was conscious, recognized us and responded to commands. Simply amazing- a miracle. He is on a ventilator and has been since the incident. While his brain seems okay, they are concerned now that he aspirated and that his lungs have issues- potential for pneumonia too. His heart looked okay, but now he has an irregular heart rate. They might attempt to remove the vent today to see how he does, but we just aren't sure.
So what started as a wonderful weekend with family friends has turned into a really hectic and crazy week at the hospital. We are all amazed he has pulled through so far and I think even the doctors are surprised how well he has done to date. He is a strong, strong man! So please keep him and his family in your continued prayers. I know it is hard for them dealing with this, also being out of town. My poor aunt Patti has been staying with us for a week now and I know it is really hard for her to handle all this on her shoulders and not be at home.
here is my mom and Uncle with the 'chocolate bunny' he gave her as a gag gift. She apparently used to steal his chocolate bunnies on easter because he would eat them too slow.
so my Public Service Announcement is to give your loved ones a big hug and to brush up on those CPR and first aid skills. Hopefully you never have to use them, but if you do, you want to be prepared. We were fortunate enough to have a trained nurse in my Aunt Patti, but the stress of the situation definitely made it hard for all involved.
So here's to Uncle Charles and a strong fight for the next few days to wake up and come off the vent!!!!!!! WE love you Uncle Charles!!!