Saturday, May 09, 2009

James had a stroke

“Hi Angel, my name is Nick and I’m James’ nephew… If you didn’t know, he has suffered a stroke and is in an induced coma…”

That is how the email started telling me that my best friend James had suffered a stroke. Once that first line finally sunk in, I got in touch with Nick. James’ family had no way to contact any of James’ friends. James does not have a phone directory and his cell phone requires a password since it is a company phone. I started a phone tree with the usual group from our old church and began a series of email updates for everyone, adding addresses as more people got in touch with me.

With a number of different sources [family, friends and co-workers] this is what we were all able to gather:
James had left work early Tuesday afternoon saying he was not feeling well. Wednesday morning, he did not go to work and his co-workers were worried as he had left his laptop, backpack and other personal items at his desk overnight. His friend and co-worker, Tony, worried about him was not getting any answers form James on his cell phone.
James was at a gas station when the stroke occurred. Fortunately, there were quick thinking people present and called 911. He arrived at the hospital about 2:00pm by ambulance. His family was notified a few hours later.

The hospital determined that James had a stroke. They determined that the course of action was to induce a coma to reduce the chances of brain and/or body damage. They had used a catheter, going up through his leg and removed the brain blockage chemically. In inducing a coma with medications, James’ body temperature was dropped to 33°C.
James’ nephew, Nick was finally able to find me through Facebook of all places and informed me what had happened and that’s where I finally came into the picture.

In calling and emailing all our friends, John Place accompanied me to the hospital. His family had already left when we arrived, so we got whatever information the nurse on duty was able to give us. Earlier that morning, a CT scan gave the neurologist the impression that James was ready for the procedure to wake him. The procedure consisted of weaning him off some of the treatments and raising his body temperature back to normal. They will be raising his body temperature from 33°C, 1°C a day.

Today, I met two of James’ brothers and their wives, and Tony and Ian from his company and together we were able to put together much of the events. With the family, we were able to consolidate much of James’ contact list.
As of this afternoon, James’ body temperature was at 34.9°C. To date here are some of the things we know:
  • Damage to the brain is not extensive and that is a positive sign.
  • The most recent echo of the heart shows that it is stronger than previous determinations.
  • Pulmonary edema has also shown signs of improvement.
  • The extent of any damage cannot be determined until James regains consciousness.
  • The blockage was in the right side of his brain.

The staff at the hospital told us that during the “waking up” process, it is important that James is subjected to as little stimulation as possible to promote reduction in the swelling of the brain. The whole regimen is very dependent on how he reacts and at any point in time the procedure is adjusted accordingly.

If you have not been receiving the update emails please leave a comment with your email address, so I can add you to the list.
Another source of updates would be the Caring Bridge journal that James’ brother set up with the hospital.
Thank you everyone for all your prayers. James’ family appreciate it and I’m sure James would be overwhelmed with all your support.


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