On Friday, January 5, while at work, Gary suffered a cardiac arrest. A truck driver, Brian, who saw Gary fall, quickly began CPR. Two of Gary’s coworkers assisted Brian until an ambulance arrived. When Gary’s condition stabilized, he was transported to Fairview Southdale Hospital and moved to the cath lab.
While in the cath lab, Gary went into cardiac arrest again and was resuscitated. Doctors were able to determine which arteries were blocked, then placing 5 stents in the blocked arteries.
Next, doctors began an ECMO technique (a heart/lung bypass machine), then transported Gary to the University of Minnesota hospital, where he remained in a medically induced coma.
Tuesday, January 9th, the ECMO machine was removed. Gary received a blood transfusion that evening. The next day, Gary’s sedation was discontinued, with intentions of him slowly waking up. The next twelve days, he slept a lot (according to his Grandson Noah, 400+ hours), promoting healing. Gary eventually began opening his eyes and wiggling his toes.
Monday, January 22, a tracheostomy was put in to support Gary’s airway along with a feeding tube to provide nutrition.
Wednesday, January 31, Gary was moved to Regency Hospital in Golden Valley to receive intense physical, occupational and speech therapy. The transport to Regency seemed to awaken Gary more than we had seen at this point. While at Regency, Gary developed a strep infection in his blood which required antibiotics to be administered through a PICC line.
Although Gary lost 40 pounds during his 5 week stay at Regency, he seemed more alert than when he first arrived.
Thursday, March 8, Gary moved to Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague, where he continued physical, occupational and speech therapy. His feeding tube and several medications remained intact. Gary, at times, carried on conversations of events that happened in the distant past but often seemed confused about current events. He has struggled to regain his strength and the ability to do routine tasks that we often take for granted. Recently, his state of confusion increased while meaningful and coherent conversations decreased. We were told his recovery had plateaued and then began declining. We soon realized he would never walk, eat or drink on his own.
On Tuesday, April 10th, Gary will be coming home, where we, along with hospice assistance, will provide him comfort and love. Please respect our request for privacy as we spend our final days with our husband, dad, grandpa, and brother.
Pray for Gary. Pray for strength. Pray for peace. Pray for love.