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February 2018

My Father's Recovery

The start of it all

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I’m going to share the story of my father’s recovery, Carmine Monaco.

On December 19th, 2017 my father’s life changed forever. He had been complaining the day before about having pain all through his back and chest, he eventually started vomiting. He kept insisting he did not want to go to the hospital. My mother and father thought he might have gotten the flu and were waiting to see if the pain would go away. In the middle of the night, he told my mother he couldn’t feel his right side.. and eventually his words stopped making sense. Instantly, my mom called 911.

After being sent to one hospital, he was then sent to another when they realized he had a stroke. They ended up at Stony Brook Hospital. I received a phone call at 6:59 AM and knew something had to be wrong if my mom was calling me at this time. She told me what had happened, and I rushed from NYC to Long Island.

Late that afternoon we found out he had an aneurysm on his aorta, and that is what was causing him to have pain all over. This lead his blood pressure to spike and give him a stroke. Later that night, we were told my father had 3% of life out of 100%. That might be the scariest sentence I have heard in my whole life.

There was a few very tricky factors about my father’s case:

  1. If they were to operate on his aorta, they would need to use blood thinners. This would make the bleed in the brain worse.
  2. If they don’t operate on his aorta, they risk it rupturing. In order for it to not rupture, his blood pressure had to be very low.
  3. In order for his blood pressure to be very low, he has to be on A LOT of drugs. (Extremely heavy sedation)

My father was on heavy sedation for two weeks. In those two weeks his kidneys started to fail. After doctors going back and forth with one another, they finally put him on dialysis. One doctor was confident that his kidneys would come back. One doctor thought they would never come back, and he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life. Within a day later, my father’s numbers started to improve, and his kidneys were already coming back. After keeping him on dialysis for a few more days, they took him off and he never went on it again.

After around two weeks, the doctors started gradually letting up on sedation, to the point where he no longer had those drugs in his system. My father was still not waking up and the doctors were getting very concerned. At this point, we were told he could be in a vegetative state and we need to prepare ourselves for all outcomes.

After doing a brain spect test that showed function in the brain, the doctor was happily surprised. She said there was more activity then expected. She told us to keep talking to him, play music, and really stimulate all of his 5 senses. This was the start of waking him up.