I hope this story brings hope to those who have a loved one who doesn't look like they will make it. With very good care, lots of prayers and lots of love, my husband made it through this life changing event.
It started as a normal vacation, lots of food, lots of fun, a few drinks and relaxing. We normally stay in Maui for about 14 days. It's a great respite from Washington's cold weather. It was 5 in the afternoon on the 29th of January, we were at Warren and Annabelles waiting to go into the show. One minute we were standing there, there was no warning, my husband suffered a cardiac arrest and stroke. I thought he tripped on something but when I turned him over he was gone. I won't go into the emotional part of it, for me it was numbing. Two wonderful women who were both in line with us were nurses and started CPR right away. They saved his life and his brain. They did CPR for about 8 minutes before a defibrillator arrived. The first one would not restart his heart. They tried 4 or 5 times. The paramedics arrived and and shocked him several more times before his heart restarted the total time he was down was 20 minutes (far too long for hope of recovery) The ambulance ride to the hospital at 80 miles an hour in the pouring rain was scary. There was a rainbow stretching from Lahaina, where it happened that ended at the hospital, I remember thinking at the time that maybe that was a hopeful sign (at this point I would grasp at anything).
The hospital started the freezing process right away and did everything they could to keep him alive. It didn't look very hopeful. The first few days, he was lifeless paralyzed by drugs and the event. He was in a coma with no movement for about 15 days, I spent my days and nights in the ICU with him. He was in the ICU a total of 45 days. When he was released he could barely speak and could sit for about 10 minutes. We had wonderful care, he was released to the floor. He was still in no condition to fly. We did an air ambulance back to the mainland where he went into a hospital rehab for 40 days, There he became able to walk small distances, feed himself, and perform normal daily functions. We still didn't know what caused the arrest. They were set to release him and as his advocate I said no. not until they installed a defibrillator. During his rehab his heart had not been monitored. I had watched that screen in ICU for 45 days, I knew he was not well. At my insistence they brought in a specialist, who confirmed yes he need a defibrillator pacemaker, but first he required they do an angiogram. He had a 96% blockage on one side and 68% on the other. After all the heart repairs, and a defibrillator he is doing well, he still will have to work on speech from the stroke, but with all the wonderful medical help, lots of prayers and lots of love he is still here. We are truly blessed with his outcome. I hope this gives some word of encouragement to someone who is looking at a bleak situation. I read every survivor's story while I waited in the ICU, I also saw lots of sad stories come through.
We still have much work to do to get him back to a completely normal life, but we are so blessed to be where we are, and if something this bad had to happen, so blessed to have all the wonderful people who helped us though this. We had wonderful chaplains, nurses and doctors who all gave him the best of care they knew how.
I was told many times that he would not make it, but I never gave up hope for him, the outcome could have been bad but we were truly blessed with what we got. I was told there would be no good outcome from several doctors and several nurses, but I chose to believe that he would make it through and recover and he is so far. I cherish every day because as I found out it only takes a second for them to be gone.