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What were each of you doing 4 weeks ago around 10:30 am on Wednesday, May 1, 2019?
For Christopher (aka Coop, Cooper, Chris, Bubby). It was the day that forever changed his life ……in a flash of a minute……he went from a fit athlete; an avid 34 year old mountain biker, rock climber, responsible homeowner, well loved assistant bakery manager at Publix, a Merritt Island High School graduate, UCF college graduate TO fighting for his life. Just that quick!
At work that morning he fainted (the 2nd time in a week), thankfully he had two angels (his coworkers) who were diligent and persistent that paramedics take him to the ER for further testing. He was then taken by ambulance to one hospital where he went into cardiac arrest ELEVEN yes ELEVEN times in a couple of hours . He was then airlifted to another hospital (that specializes extensively in cardiac care) he then went immediately into emergency surgery. As the surgeons finally emerged from surgery (at what felt like days to family members frantically waiting any news) they explained they did what they could to stabilize him but to brace ourselves for the unknown prognosis of what would be to come in the next couple of days. The words coming off the surgeons tongues couldn't be really what was happening…..Would he make it through the night? Life Support! Very sick! Does he have brain activity from the multiple cardiac arrest episodes? Did we hear the word… Ecmo…what’s that? It was hours before family was finally allowed to take a quick peek at him. There were tubes everywhere, machines and more machines, a tree of life (the IV stand that held 12 or so different meds being pumped into his body), there were huge hoses of blood coming out of his body, tubes in his nose and a ventilator in his mouth. That day is vividly remembered. Cardiac Ecmo ICU would become his home for the next 28 days. During those 28 days he would have a round the clock nurse stationed in his room and a respiratory therapist, and an Ecmo specialist to check gases in his blood, monitor, tweak Ecmo life support settings and make sure the blood being oxygenated and circulated at at rate of 6 liters a minute - yes a minute - had no mechanical failures and was functioning optimum. He was on a ventilator and Ecmo life support for his lungs & heart. He was also on kidney dialysis. It was a balancing act for the medical team. During those 28 days Christoper would have a total of 4 surgeries and after the second one another cardiac arrest (making a total of 12 cardiac arrest), multiple….X-rays, CAT scans, ultra sounds, blood testing, bronchoscopes, plasma exchanges and blood transfusions….again, multiple! In addition, there were multiple surgeons on board to evaluate Christopher.
Today, May 29, 2019 marks 4 weeks / 29 days in ICU. Christopher has graduated from the Ecmo Cardiac ICU to the sister floor Cardiac ICU. Amazing, how exciting it is to go from one ICU to another but it’s HUGE! Yesterday, Christopher was removed from the Ecmo life support. He still has a nurse in his room 24 hours a day, remains on the ventilator through a trachea, and 12 hrs a day of dialysis. He woke up from his coma state sedation on day 20. Thank God he has not suffered any brain injury! Praise God! Understandably, he doesn't remember 3 weeks of his life as we was in and out of the sedation. He has come so far but still has a journey ahead. He is learning to sit, stand, walk, talk, and build his muscles in his mouth to eat. His medical team is still extensive. In addition to the respiratory therapist he now has physical, occupational and speech therapist. Christopher is admirable for his determination, he always attempts to do an extra set of exercises. He’s for sure a fighter!https://dm2.gofund.me/9hrpp5-chris-cooper-medical-aid