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January 19th…. when it all began…
Bill woke up at my house in Jackson with a headache onchapter one to kill a mockingbird Sunday morning January 19th. He drove back to Alpena that day and the headache got progressively worse on Monday, but despite my attempts over the phone to get him to go to the doctor, he decided to give it another day. I talked to him on the morning of the 21st and he said he still had the headache and it was the worse headache he had ever had….. I told him again to call and get in to see the doctor. He still was hesitant so I told him to at least call his sister Meaghan and ask her what a migraine felt like because she often struggles with them. He called and left Meaghan a voicemail at around 11:15. She tried to call him back but got no answer. She went over to his house and found him on the floor and called an Ambulance…. They took Bill to Alpena ER. Meaghan called me and told me they were air lifting him to Saginaw. She wanted to know if I could get there in time to meet the chopper….. I said yes. Apparently the chopper could not land in Alpena. So they sent him by ambulance to Tawas and then air lifted him to Saginaw St Mary’s from there. It took 6 hours to get him to Saginaw St Mary’s. I beat him there by 2 and a half hours coming from Jackson!
While I was waiting for Bill to arrive in Saginaw, Jacqueline called and said she could not sit home worrying so she put the kids in the car and was already on the road. She drove 14 hours, all night long through snowstorms to get here by 5 am On Wednesday.
It took Graham 12 hours of airports and flights to get here from Califorinia. He stayed as long as he could, but needed to get back to work. He left Wednesday January 29th.
Bill’s doctors say that he suffered a brain hemorrhage from a narrowed weakened dissected basial artery near his brain stem and that he is very lucky that the bleed wasn’t worse because with it that close to his brain stem it would have shut down all body systems and he would have died. Matters were further complicated by Xeralto which is a medical that he takes for his A-Fib. Xeralto is a blood thinner that we now know takes days to reverse. Doctors had to wait to do necessary diagnostic procedures until the Xeralto was out of his system.
Bill is being treated for his condition in the Neuro ICU at Saginaw St Mary’s Hospital. Treatment includes heavy sedation, a ventilator, ventricular drains to relieve pressure from his brain and help his body clean the blood from his cerebral fluid, along with blood pressure medication, seizure medicine, antibiotics, etc….
The challenge now is keeping him down and calm. He wants to communicate with us but the doctors don’t want him to because it raises his blood pressure and cranial pressures which is dangerous for him now. Plus his caregivers want his brain to rest and relax. The Doctor says that when he tries to communicate it is like trying to run on a sprained ankle.
We are staying at a house that Bill’s friend Bill Kelley rents for his son that is about 25 minutes from the hospital. Our routine: Jacqueline and I get up, make breakfast, get ourselves and the kids dressed, pack up the truck and head to the hospital for our morning visit. The kids are not allowed past the main lobby so we take turns going up to visit Bill while the other one occupies the kids in the lobby….. We are able to visit and receive the latest updates from the doctor while being the least intrusive to his recovery. In the evening, after dinner, I usually drive back to the hospital to say good night…..