The infections began running rampant through Sid’s body. He was still heavily sedated and waiting for his medical flight to the Albert B. Chandler University of Kentucky hospital. After two weeks of waiting, Sid was finally put on a medical flight and taken to Kentucky. We got in our car and followed him to Kentucky by road. The first night Sid was there, he looked peacefully sedated. Dr. Hoopes ordered to immediately begin decreasing his sedation and waking him up by the next morning. Although his sedation was decreased, the amount of oxygen that was being added to his blood stream through ECMO was not increased to accommodate a more active state of his body. This lack of oxygen combined with the buildup of infections in his body, caused his body to go into septic shock. Sid went into a coma.
The next morning, we found Sid in his hospital bed with his eyes wide open but no recognition of his surroundings and no movement. The doctors hoped they could get Sid out of this state and put him back on track for another transplant. Unfortunately, Sid’s body had other plans.
First, his kidneys began failing so they connected him to a dialysis machine in addition to all his other machines. Then, his liver function decreased and soon, his heart. Sid went into cardiac arrest about 2-3 times every week for the next three weeks because the infections got into his blood stream and were creating blockages in his heart. Externally, he got an eye infection in his right eye from his eyes being permanently open and his right foot began turning purple and black because of a blood clot in his right leg.
The doctors decided to connect another ECMO catheter to his groin to help with the blood clot in his lower body. They also did this procedure to see if Sid would react to the pain caused by this surgery. To their dismay, even without anesthesia, Sid had no reaction to the surgery. The doctors did not give up and continued to put their faith in Sid. At one point Sid began involuntarily moving his arm. We were delighted at this sign of life, however, the doctors reminded us that this was involuntary muscle movement and did not mean that Sid was gaining consciousness. They also did an EEG test to see if he had any brain activity. Not surprisingly, the test showed very little brain activity.
After the constant failing organs, and several heart attacks per week, Sid’s body began to give up. Early Sunday morning on May 18, 2014, we got a call to go to Sid’s room immediately. His blood pressure had been wavering all night and it was dangerously low. We were used to seeing him this close to death many times now but this day felt different. The doctors and nurses monitored Sid closely all day. He was slipping away. We all talked to him hoping he could hear us and told him to keep fighting. By around 10:00 p.m., Sid was gone, however, Dr. Hoopes, unable to let Sid go, kept trying to bring him back to life. He tried for almost another 45 minutes to adjust his ECMO settings. Finally, at 10:37 p.m., he pronounced Sid deceased.
Although we lost Sid on that day, he was and always will be the life and joy of this family. This blog was created to share his intricate medical journey publicly and to help others who might be going through a similar situation see the possibilities. We also established The Sid Foundation (thesidfoundation.org) in May 2015 to raise funds and awareness for lung transplant research and to keep Sid’s memory alive.
Thank you friends, family, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and strangers for your support, kindness, and hard work through Sid’s difficult journey. We are eternally grateful to all of you.
Thank you for reading this blog and we hope that it inspired you as much as Sid inspired us with his courage.