A deep sleep following a temporary loss of oxygen

How quickly I learn to say “anoxia-induced coma” without scaring people.

I last talked to my father by cell 2 PM Saturday, as I was getting soup for myself and my wife. At 3PM he suffered a heart attack and had labored breathing, while sitting near my mother. For about seven minutes after that my mother gave him chest compressions, and then the paramedics arrived. After two shocks and thirteen minutes be began breathing again.

He has not woken up.

The question “How many minutes was he without oxygen?” gets different answers depending on who you ask. The highest number we have heard is twenty, which is pretty universally fatal. However, assuming that the compressions were getting air to the lungs, and the paramedics were able to force air in after working on him, the real period may be significantly shorter.

Considering that yesterday morning we were asked questions about what to do in case there was a second heart attack, and told the good news was that there was not brain stem damage, things are OK. Now they talk about nutritional needs, the stages of long-term rehabilitation, and such. We were told “He will not just wake up, open his eyes, and start talking. It doesn’t work like that.” But if guarded, realistic optimism is optimism, then we are optimistic.

My wife and I prayed for him last night. We would appreciate yours.

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13 thoughts on “A deep sleep following a temporary loss of oxygen
  1. Damn.
    YOu got the prayers from Indiana, Dan.

    I’m really sorry this is happening to you. shit. Sorry man.

  2. Dan, I’m sorry about your father. I can’t imagine what it’s like for something that big to come out of nowhere. It suddenly changes the color of life for you. Mindy and I will be thinking of you.

  3. I’ve been in a similar place to where you are now. Good luck, both with your father and with yourself.

  4. Dan,

    I cried for you and your family. Stay strong and ask lots of questions. We will keep you in our prayers. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you or your family.

    My heart goes out to you, you’re a wonderful person.

  5. This thread includes kind words from so many people. Editors of a respected journal on war, an infinitely patient co-worker, a friend who has done business with my father, and so many readers. Thank you all. My father would be, and will be, proud.

    My mother was commenting how happy it makes her that she can open this blog and see so many kind wishes and prayers.

    Thank you.

  6. I will pray for you. My mother is in a very similar state. She’s been non-responsive for about 3 weeks. However, she opens her eyes and follows when she hears voices. The doctor says it’s all involuntary. I feel she’s slowy coming back to me. She was down for 15 mins. She’s on a breathing tube and feeding tube. They tell me there’s some brain damage , but they don’t know how much. They did the chest conpression and admistered meds. … it took a total of 15mins to bring her back ??? I will never really know the exact time. She was on her dialysis machine when it happened.
    I wanted to let you know ….. You’re not alone

  7. Im sorry this has happened to your father. I have a similar story to share…
    My father, 52, went in for a simply liver biopsy @ a local hospital here in KY. They cut an atery and didn’t know it, and put him in recovery, and my sister was in there with him and he wouldn’t stop crying, so she went to get a nurse – he had 7.5 liters of blood in his stomach and they had to do immediate surgery, and they ended up over sewing the site where they did the liver biopsy. They couldn’t get the bleeding stopped, so they flew him to Vanderbilt University in Nasvhille TN to help get the bleeding under control.
    When he got there, they waited 3 days to stabilize him, had to give him 4 units of blood, and then did surgery. They finally stopped the bleeding. However, since my father had had 3 surgeries within 3 weeks, he developed a bacterial infection and double phnemoina and they placed him in a medically induced comma and put him on the ventalator so his body could rest and fight the infection. After 3 days, he started to get bettter, the infection started to clear up. Anytime you have a patient on a vent, they have to be suctioned of mucas etc. ON December 15th, they failed to suction my dad, and a mucas plug got stuck in the vent hose and he lost oxygen for 9 minutes. They finally refived him, however, he was in a comma. Only after 3 days, they wanted us to pull the plug, as they didn’t see any brain activity. WE were not going for itl. We told them no, so they discharged him to a rehab that supported vents, and my father was on the vent 100%…..he wasn’t breathing at all on his own. My step mother went up there every day, and talked with him, and worked with him. No one gave us any hope…..but she would not let go. FInally, In early Feb, he woke up. He did have brain damage, however, with time, we were able to communicate with himl., He was a little “back in Time: however, he knew who we were, etc.
    My father lived for 2 years after this. He was placed in every nursing home in our home town, and we either took him out, due to their neglect, or they discharged him as he was too hard to take care of. There came a time when he all of the suddent became critically ILL,,,come to find out, everything that he had been eating for the past 3 months had been going directly to his lungs, the part of his brain was damaged that told him how to swallow.
    He past away on Oct 12th, my 30th bday, this past year.
    WE are currently suing all parties in association with what occurred, however, how to you put a price tag on someones life? My father was 54 years old, oh, and by the way, his liver was fine, after all that.
    My point of all this info is, doctors are not gods, and don’t let them ever play a lead role in making a decision of giving up. Follow your heart.
    Good luck, and i would like to know how it turns out.
    From Paducah, KY,


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