Dad in "vegetative state" after massive heart attack

Hello everyone. I am new to the group but I am blessed that we are not alone.

Three weeks ago today my dad collapsed in the middle of the street after suffering a massive heart attack. He had to be revived twice before getting to the hospital and twice while at the hospital.

The hospital has a terrible reputation but I am grateful to the medical staff for keeping him alive. He has since been moved to an acute care center.

As you may know, this is definitely an emotional roller coaster! My brother and his wife welcomed a new baby girl a week after the collapse so where there's pain there is joy.

I am at work right now grateful that I have a job but sad that I can't spend more time with him.

Why won't he just wake up?!? It seems like he is right below consciousness!

He stretches. He moves his eyes and focuses on faces. He opened his eyes when I put music (Marvin Gaye) in his ear. He yawns. He cries.

His first AND ONLY eeg said minimal brain activity and that the part of his brain that supports his organs has almost no function.

Funny that he was off the ventilator for 4 WHOLE hours! How is it that his brain is not supporting that.

I am a wife and a mother. My husband has been unemployed going on 2 years and I AM AT WITS END!!!!! He started working with his dad, which was a blessing until he NEVER got paid! This is so hard. I continue to pray but I am getting so weary.

It feels good to get this out although I am beginning to have tears at work.

Thanks for this journal.

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Dear RTT70wins:

I am very sorry about you father. I am also glad that you found us! Day to day life can be a struggle and then life really throws us a curve!

We all have major struggles and I have very few answers but I do know that if you need help, you may have to ask for it. I hope you discover how wonderful, giving, and caring people can be. I take heart from knowing that, even though it is my son, it is not my husband who can help me day to day work through this nightmare. Those who are dealing with this for their life partner's, I pray even harder for.

In my experience, it is very, very hard on the rest of the family when I am constantly with my son to monitor everything about his care and it is seemingly not possible for me to not be in two places at one time. There definitely has to be one person driving the monitoring of your father's medical care. He needs company and attention but as time goes on it doesn't have to be you. Time will heal and time will tell (believe me I am talking to more than just you when I try to give you words of wisdom, I am still trying to convince myself of all that I have discovered)!

We all have a common thread, in that, we have seen small miracles with our loved ones that the doctors did not predict. I take hope from them and gain the understanding that the doctors "just don't know" when it comes to a brain injury. Follow your heart but take care of yourself.

Jamie (Adamsmother)

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Thank you, Jamie, for your encouraging words. I am still praying.

I am still frustrated that I am done with my work for the week but I have to sit here for perception in corporate America while I could be at the hospital with my dad. I hope that I will someday be able to help other people get through this stress.

You and your son are in my prayers. Thanks again!

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Welcome to this group. You are in good company as we all stumble through this sytem, trying to find answers.

We need a concentrated, united effort to bring attention to congressmen/women about the plight of our family members. Alone we can do nothing but struggle against the system. Together, perhaps we could make a difference.

It has been 8 weeks since my daughter suffered her unexplained anoxic event. She is strong in her movements, she hurts, she cries, she opens her eyes for some people (not others), she knows when I come into the room and understands some questions and responds to them. She just won't do it consistently.

The doctor believes I am not being realistic by turning down the nursing homes in this area. One is the gateway from hell that I removed her from a month ago. DHW finally did an inspection last week and it will be 2-3 months before their report is complete. The second has a 4 star rating on everything EXCEPT patient care. That is below standard and in the area where Bren needs it most, care for fragile situations. They were checked within the last few months for not taking care of trachea patients right. That would put her back in the hospital again.

When I mention referring her to a brain center, they shrug their heads and say she doesn't qualify. Yet, here at the acute care hospital PT is now minimal, OT has stopped, and speech therapy has never started. How can a person get to where he or she needs to be if they are dumped into substandard care? They can't.

Before allowing any family member to be transferred to a nursing home, check out their rating on That is a real eye opener.

I wish you well and will keep you in my prayers. This journey is not easy of the family but each day is a miracle in progress.

Bren's Mom

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Hi Bren's Mom,
Thank you for your post. Today is a gray day. It feels as if I am walking through murky water.

I am the eldest of my father's children so family members expect me to drop everything and stay by his side. I am a mother of two, a wife and I work full-time. Frankly, sitting at the hospital is the last thing I want to do. I don't want to see him this way. I have high blood pressure and the visits fill me with such sorrow that it takes hours for me to calm down.

I am no longer caring about what other people think about how much I visit because I need to care about me and staying healthy for my kids. The guilt is overwhelming though.

I can hear my father telling me to go to work and not to worry, so that's what I'm trying to do. It sure ain't easy!

I am praying for Bren's swift recovering and thanks again for your kind message.

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my dad was the victim of medical malpractice and he was left in a vegetative stage the doctors told us to turn his respirator off we didn't they gave my dad 2 weeks to live that was 2 years ago today my dad is almost normal thank GOD that we didn't listen to the doctors and my monster aunt.

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Hi, Heavenly!
My name's Bob. I had a cardiac arrest on April 6, 2008. I hadn't even made it out of the E.R. when the neurology dept started on my family, too. "He won't make it through the night", "He'll never get off the ventilator", and a little later when I was "crazy" with my brain injury, "He may always be like this!", "He won't be able to live at home.", etc.
Well, crazy I may be but damn if I'm not alive! (Who wants to be normal, anyway?)

Hey, first I want to tell you how happy it makes me feel when I hear a story like yours! Your Dad is a real stubborn guy, huh? Thought he just might live, did he? They say that stubborn people like us are just "lucky". But that's not true. What we are is blessed to have beautiful people in our lives, just like you, who defend us when we're down and are devoted to keeping us alive. Your Dad might be lucky in other ways, but God blessed him with a good family and a wonderful daughter!

The second thing is, what a nice photo you have! I keep looking at it and it keeps making me smile! I don't have much to smile about, but your smile and happy eyes are just contagious. So, THANK YOU for your face! :o)

Finally, your monster Aunt! Not meaning to make fun, of course, but I just remembered a sci-fi movie from the 50's, called "THEM!" It starred James Arness, or "Marshall Dillon" in the TV western, Gunsmoke. (My Dad's favorite show of all time!) It took place in the deserts of New Mexico after atomic tests had caused the ants to mutate into GIANT MONSTER ANTS that were devouring people!!! And to think, you have your very own MONSTER AUNT! Aaahhh!!!

Well, I am most interested in finding anyone who has survived not only the brain injury, but the Neurology Association, too! You may have already read "near drowning", posted today by "slayer". I think she'd like to hear from you! For each happy account such as yours, there are, sadly, MANY more which are just tragic. Some are in progress right now. I wish we could do something that would change this for those who do not want it.
Please understand that I am not against anyone who must stop useless medical measures that prolong suffering with no purpose. My heart aches for these people.

Well, I'm happy that you are with us and I hope you will stay! I would really like to talk with you more and I REALLY wish I could talk with your Dad!

God bless you, your Dad and your family always.


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Dear rtt70wins:

Heavenlylather's post brought me back to you. Can you please give us an up-date on your dad? We haven't heard from you and I am worried. Thaks!


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Hello everyone,
Thank you all for your support. Unfortunately and fortunately, my dad passed away on September 3rd. He is in a better place with no machines and no pain.

His organs began to shut down even on the ventilator because of his lack of brain activity. We are sad but relieved that the ordeal is over. We were lucky that weren't asked to disconnect him and that we were not at the hospital when he passed. I now have the opportunity to grieve and to remember him as the strong man that he was.

If there could ever be a great funeral, my dad's was the best I had ever been to. He was buried in the national veteran's cemetary with full military honors. The whole day reflected how he lived his life.

Thanks, again, for the support. Now, I will try to comfort others who are going through the same situation.


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I am sorry for the anguish you have lived through. It sounds like you found strength in it, though. You can certainly give comfort to others, especially here where they often gather. Your experience is greatly needed and you will always be giving your Father a voice that way. He is in you and I know that he will be with you.
I've said many times, "Live for the good of your soul; you won't be taking your body with you when you go."
I'm trying to say that earth has returned to earth, but your Father lives on with God AND with you! It has been this way for me and I hope it will be this way for you. You can talk to him and even smile about things!

God bless you Robin, and bless you again for being so devoted and standing by your Father side when he most needed you.


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Dear Robin,

My sympathy goes out to you and your family. I'm so glad that your Dad had the military funeral that he so much deserved. My Dad also had these services and I know how sad but also inspiring this type of service can be. I often wonder what my Dad went through during his service times as I know he kept much of it to himself. May your Dad rest in peace knowing that he had a daughter that loved him and she will always go on to remember him for the great dad and person that he was. Go on with your life and make him proud.

Sincerely, Valerie K

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Dear Rtt70wins:

I am so very sorry about your dad. Thank you for telling us. My father suffered from congestive heart failure for the last year of his life. It was hard because I knew eventually that it would only get worse. When he finally passed away, I was relieved to a certain extent because it was so hard to see him struggle. It was really funny though because I came to the conclusion shortly afterwards that I was prepared for his death but I just wasn't ready for him to be gone. I still miss him 5 yrs. later but I was so blessed to have a wonderful father for 45 years that I never look back with any regret. May he rest in peace just like your dad. I am so glad that you didn't have to make any life and death decisions and that you and your dad and your family don't have to suffer through his struggle any longer. Please keep in touch.

Love, Jamie

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