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Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Matters of the Heart
Last night, I was on my back patio and saw my neighbor, Tina, in her hot tub. I should preface with the fact that her and her son, Jake, have been our neighbors for about 11 years. Although Tina (who I think is in her mid 40s) tends to keep to herself quite a bit, but we still talk to her sometimes and we've been good friends with Jake since he was 4 years old. My hubby has been a bit of a father figure to him since Jake's father had many problems, went to jail shortly after they moved in and hasn't been in his son's life much since he was a boy.

Anyway, as I was saying, I was on the back patio last night and saw Tina in her hot tub and because we'd seen her black lab, Stever, humorously climb in an out of it the other day, I was considering being a bit of a joker and going to the fence to ask her if she was enjoying her hot tub and if Stever was in with her, but I didn't. My hubby came downstairs and was telling me something rather loudly and I shushed him, telling him that Tina was relaxing in her hot tub so we shouldn't talk too loud so she could relax. She's a single mom and her boyfriend is only in town one week out of the month and he was here last week but is gone again.

So we saw Tina get out of the hot tub and saw Jake come outside to talk to her, nothing unusual, and they both went inside. About five minutes later we heard some unusually loud vehicles out front and hubby went to look and there was a fire engine with its lights on in front of our house.

Naturally, we went outside to see what was happening and saw not only the fire engine, but an ambulance and three sheriff vehicles as well. They were at Tina's house.

We were talking with the neighbors wondering what was happening when the EMTs came running out of the house to grab the gurney out of the ambulance and went running back in. Then Jake came out and we went to talk to him and he said that Tina had experienced strong pain in her chest while she was in her hot tub and she went inside. Then he said she tried to go upstairs and collapsed. He called 911, thus all the emergency vehicles. The poor fella looked like he was in shock but luckily there were a lot of neighbors around to help take care of him and Stever and one, Andrea, who put Jake in her car and followed the ambulance to the hospital.

Sadly, when they wheeled her out of the house, they had her intubated, were breathing for her, and had a CPR pump around her chest.

Things calmed down and we went back in to the house. About an hour later the sheriff came to our front door and rang the bell. He gave us her house keys, saying that Stever was in a crate in the house and wasn't sure that he should be and could we go over and make sure everything was ok and that Stever was taken care of. He also told me that Tina at that point had been brought back to life four times.

So hubby and I went over to the house and turned off the hot tub, put the cover on, checked the house and let Stever out of his indoor crate. The poor thing was so scared and I spent about 15 minutes sitting on the floor with him trying to calm him down and telling him everything was ok. He eventually calmed down enough that we felt comfortable leaving him. We found where they kept his food and put some outside, put him outside, made sure he had plenty of water and decided we'd leave him there and would keep our bedroom window open in case we heard him in distress during the night.

We got up this morning and no sound from Stever and Jake's not home. The lights are still on in the house the way we left them last night, but Stever seems gone from the yard. Maybe the neighbor who took Jake to the hospital came and got him, I don't know. Or it could be Tina's brother or father that went to the house overnight.

So I'm keeping my eye on the house today. I have the house and car keys and am anxious to hear about Tina and if she's ok. I'm also anxious to see how Jake is doing. It's been such a difficult time and hubby and I are so worried about their little family. Jake is only 15 and it can't be time for him to lose his mother.

I just needed to post this because I'm so worried today about what has happened to our neighbors of so long and hope and pray that things turn out well and she's back home soon, recovering and back to old self in time.

Remember Ron's post about how things can change so quickly after a good friend of his passed away suddenly? This reminded me of that post and the Eagles song, "In a New York Minute" - cherish life because things can change without warning in the blink of an eye.

Thanks for listening.


  • Oh Cathie that's terrible. Can you call the hospital to see what's going on? Maybe call the other neighbor also to see if she too the dog.

    I hope it turns out well. It's so true...live like you are dying because you never know when that day may come.
  • I don't even know what to say.
    It must be stressfull wondering what is going on and what that young boy is going through, not to mention what his Mom is going through.

    Hopefully it will all work out for the best and the Mom is OK. Let us know how it goes, please.

  • You're a good neighbor, Cath, and I hope all your care and concern come to a good ending for this little family. Have said a prayer for Tina's recovery. It's so true--we never know if we'll have another day. Please take care of yourself too during this time of worry and thanks for sharing your concern with us.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Boy, you just never know! I hope your neighbor is able to recover. Jake needs his mom for sure!Sad story and makes you think!Can you go back over and call stever several times in case he;s hiding or scared to come out? And this sounds bad and I'm sorry to mention it, but just in case stever got so upset he might have went to where Tina had been take a quick look under the hot tub cover. Check to see if he dug out. Then call the neighbor to see if she knows where Jake is and if he took his dog somewhere.Maybe you can try to get ahold of Jake through the hospital or neighbors or go to the hospital to let him know you and your husbanf are there for him if he needs you. Poor kid must feel scared,shocked, and lost right now. You are always so kind, such a good friend to all, I know you will be there for them as always. I can't imagine how sad you feel today. I'm thinking of you. Take care of yourself too!

  • As was already said, you are such a kind and caring person, and this shows it even more! Sorry to hear about Tina, really sad for her son Jake. Lots to be going through for sure! The police giving you guys their house and car keys...someone must have told them to do that. Maybe they have a contact number for Jake and you can connect with him? See how he's doing, and too Tina, and if he needs any help or support at the hospital? Prayers that this all turns out well. *HUGZ* Cath.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Well, I thankfully got to talk to Tina's dad, brother and Jake this morning when they came to get some of Jake's things while he stays with his uncle.

    Tina had a massive heart attack, one of her heart ventricals closed and after trying to balloon it open about five times, they still couldn't get it open. I don't know what they're going to do about that and am not even sure that her dad told me this correctly.

    They had to use the paddles on her 14 times last night to get her heart restarted. Right now, she's in the ICU in an induced coma and chilled to 90-91 degrees (an induced hypothermia). She's on a ventilator because she can't breath on her own.

    They have her in the coma to calm down her brain and hopefully give her heart and body time to calm down also, kind of like resetting her body. Cooling the body after a heart attack gives the brain cells a chance to regenerate and prevents further cells from dying. Her dad said that they're going to slowly bring her out of the coma and warm up her body tonight at midnight and it should take about 24 hours. This will be the most critical time. Because of all the problems, they aren't sure if she'll have brain damage and if she does, how extensive it will be. This is if she even survives.

    Her dad said they'll have to strap her arms and legs down while they bring her back because she has so many tubes running into her body (he said at least 13) that they can't risk her convulsing and pulling out any of those.

    Her brother had come to get Stever last night and will take care of him and Jake during all this. As you would imagine, Jake and his uncle were very somber (oddly, her dad was rather animated), but with Jake, it's like he's still in some pretty deep shock.

    Her dad told me that Andrea, a young woman we also know that lives two houses down, is planning on adopting a baby, so she had just finished CPR classes. Rick who lives across the street also knows CPR. He said that one or both of them did CPR on her until the parametics arrived and may have saved her life. But it was wonderful that the paramedics arrived only five minutes after they were called.

    So, we'll see how she fares after this very sad tragedy. They promised to keep us posted on her condition, so I'll update here as I find out more.

    Such a sad, sad thing...
  • Thanks for the update, Cathie. I'm sure Jake and his family are thankful that you and your hubby are nearby to lean on during this very tough time. Praying that Tina will awake without brain damage and that the doctors can figure out a way to help her heart.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Cathie,

    It sounds bad and good at the same time. Sad that Tina is in such bad shape, but good in that Jake and their dog, have support and a place to stay. It sounds like even if she survives, it is going to be a long road to recovery. Hopefully she does. Looks like you have a great group in your neighborhood too! You don't see that much anymore. Positive thoughts....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I just read this for the first time. That is so young to have such a massive heart attack! My heart goes out to Jake, he must be so scared. I'm glad that he has family close who can take care of him. You are such a great neighbour, and your neighbourhood sounds wonderful. Where I live now, I don't know any of my neighbours. Just the one right beside me, he just moved in, and I knew the lady that used to live there. It's pretty scary, thinking if something should happen like that. Where I used to live, a couple of years ago, I lived by myself (I'm now common-law) and went into septic shock. In between passing out I was able to call 911. When the paramedics came and took me away (my bp was 50/30 at that point and was in and out of consciousness), my neighbour (they were on elder couple who I was quite friendly with) came over and told them to let me know not to worry, that they would look after my dog for me. It was such a relief to know that someone was there to look after my house and my beloved pet. The hospital ended up having to call my mom to come (she lived 3 hours away) as they weren't sure if I would make it through the night, so when she arrived, everything was taken care of.
    I know that, once she is aware of what happened, Tina will be so grateful that she has such wonderful neighbours. I truly hope that she recovers, and that Jake (and Stever) is okay.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Yes, I live in a wonderful, friendly neighborhood, special I think partly because we're in a cauldesac. We just had a neighborhood gathering last summer, a pot luck with a Margarita machine.

    Last night, we had some of our neighbors say that they came to see what was happening because they were afraid that it was something happening at our house. I have to say that my hubby is one of the most well-loved people I've ever known. He lives by the golden rule and it shows in everything he's ever done and said. You'd know just by talking to him how special he is.

    Anyway, thank you all for your kind words and prayers. We can't stop thinking about Tina and her family, especially her Jake, probably because we see her empty house every time we go outside. We miss Stever jumping on the hot tub cover with a loud thud and I think my little Wally misses him too.

    Kelly, I loved your story. What a strong woman you are and what wonderful neighbors you had to help you - such a bright light during a dark time. Our pups are our children and when we're unable to care for them, it means the world that someone steps up to do that for us.

    Linda, Brenda, Kris, Kathy, and Lisa, thank you so much for the kind words. This happens to so many people and I'm truly grateful that I have a place to just put down my feelings about this. I've been very discouraged about how my life is going and this has been a huge wake-up call. In a New York Minute...

    Thanks to all of you for your posts and thoughts. I can't tell you how grateful I am for you all just being there. Spineys and SH forum members are the best.

    With much heartfelt thanks,
  • No problem Cathie. :)

    You've always been "good people" since I've been on this site...pretty much from day one as a matter of fact! Big smile --> :------)

    I lived in Elmira New York in the late 80's, and the neighbors were much like yours. We all knew each other, looked out for each other, gave daily greetings. I loved living up there!! When I was packing up the trailer to move to Florida, they helped me load up!

    Fast forward to South Florida...sniff. The only time we see our neighbors and or really interact with them? After flooding or a bad hurricane! My neighbor to the right of me, we've been friends since the day I bought the house. We exchange holiday gifts, have beer talks at the fence, keep an eye out for each other..and when they RV (yep they have a class A), we fed their dogs, and visa versa when we RV, they take care of our dogs!

    Fingers staying crossed for Tina, and a cyber hug from down here to Jake!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope you get some good news about Tina soon. I know how hard it is not knowing what's going on.

    You say that everyone knows what a good person your hubby is just by talking to him? I must say then that the two of you make a great pair since I've always felt that you are a super person. You're always concerned and helpful no matter what my (or anyone's) problem. You honestly care...it shows!

  • I'm sorry to hear about your young neighbor friend. I pray she gets better soon with no ill effects. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • My heart goes out to Jake. Having teenagers of my own, I understand how scared they can get. I pray that Tina makes a full recovery.

    Cathie, you truly are a good person. All the things you write here show your compassion and understanding for others. So I agree, you and your hubby must be a matched pair.

    Neighbors--I live on the outskirts of a small farming community. My closest neighbor is about 4 miles from my home, but the distance is insignificant to all of my "neighbors" in the community. There are about 30 homes (4 miles away) and we are all good friends. And then there are another 30ish homes dotting the roadside for a 5 mile stretch. Any time someone is sick or hurt, one can count on receiving several meals to help them out. My neighbors have been really good to me through the years, and this spine stuff would have been much more difficult to handle if it weren't for my neighbors helping. And of course I am often doubling my menu so that I can send a meal out to someone else. Our community is like one big family, and it is wonderful. When I read of those of you who don't have that, it makes me even more thankful for what I do have.

    Cathie, it sounds like you are a great neighbor to your friend Tina. Keep us posted on her condition.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Your such a good neighbor, friend, and person. She's lucky to have you for a neighbor!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Well, things are looking better for my friend and neighbor Tina. Each night since the event, everything has been calm and she's rested comfortably and peacefully. They took off the pacemaker and her heart is beating on its own now. She's still hooked up to the ventilator, but they remove the tube a bit at a time and she's been able to breath on her own during those times, so they're weaning her off that, although not completely yet.

    She's been squeezing her sister and brother's hands, has moved one arm and both hands, her dad says her eyes are more expressive, although her communication responses are not consistent.

    She had a CT scan yesterday that came out normal (yahoo) and they're waiting for the EEG results. They won't take her off the ventilator until she has more consistent responses.

    There's a website out there called carepages.com where you can put the medical plight of your loved ones on and update each day or hourly as you want. So rather than talking in a phone chain, they've chosen to keep us up-to-date with that. From reading the daily updates, it seems she's better one day and no improvement the next. But whatever the case, she's in this for the long haul and has a long way to go. But the fact that she's still alive, her heart is beating on its own, she shows some responses and that she's breathing better are all good.

    It's still unknown, and probably will be for some time, how much if any brain damage she has suffered and how much she will recover.

    Thanks friends.
  • Cath,

    I've had a few friends with serious issues, and we too used Carepages to keep everyone updated and too to send notes of encouragement and such. Pretty neat site if you ask me.

    Thanks so much for posting an update on Tina. Honestly, from what her situation was in the beginning, when I saw you updated (before I clicked into the thread), I was sort of dreading the worst. So glad it was the exact opposite. I hope Jake is doing better now that mom is coming around. Good things *DO* happen to good people. I will keep her and her family in my thoughts that all continues to improve. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for the update on your friend Tina.

    That website is fantastic... what a great way to keep tabs on how Tina is doing without having to make a lot of phone calls. I bet you can also put down your thoughts and prayers, as well, for her and her family on the site.

    It's good to hear that she is off the pacemaker and seems to be making some progress.

    I've been praying a lot for Jake. Any news on how he is doing?

    My, my, my... what a traumatic event. It's good that you have such a nice group of neighbors and they are especially lucky to have you and Tony in their lives, as well.

    Will continue to keep Tina and her family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Yep, carepages has a place to post prayers and well wishes and she has many of them. When she comes home and sees how people have been rallying around her and her son during this time, I think she's going to be surprised and very touched.

    I haven't been to the hospital for a couple of reasons - 1. I really, really, really hate them and have been in them way too many times with sick and dying members of my family and 2. I've been told there's constantly a team of people there all the time. I might go one of these days, but not planning on it just yet.

    As for Jake, he's pretty much been holding vigil at the hospital and there have been friends who've taken him and his friends out to a movie then to McDonald's to get him "away" for a while. He's surrounded by wonderful and loving friends and family.

    No update today yet. Our thoughts and prayers are still with them both and I'm grateful for your prayers, as they are.

  • That's wonderful news about Tina, I hope her recovery continues quickly. Thanks for the update Cathie!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Cathie,

    I hear ya about "not wanting to go to the hospital", same here!

    So glad to see Jake's friends have rallied around him, and too that they are getting him to take "mental breaks" from all this. Hopefully Tina will continue to mend, and soon be back home with her family and friends. I see a great BBQ welcome home party in her future!! At least your neighborhood sounds like the type that will do that. :) Thanks for the update Cath!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Cath, I just checked in and was happy to find out Tina is holding her own! Hopefully, she will continue to improve and be home with Jake before long. After a heart attack it's a long haul so I think it's ok if you don't make it to the hospital for the time being. You know, do something little for Jake to be there for him while Tina is recovering. I'm sure she'd appreciate that! You know you are right next door to be there for Tina/Jake/Stever when Tina comes home. That's when she is going to need you. Maybe your husband could put in a trip to the hospital to give Jake a pat on the back, check in on Tina for you.I read your thread about all your loved ones so it's easy to understand how you feel. I, too, have lost and felt like you so I understand. It's ok, you are a good friend and neighbor. Just take care of yourself so you can be helpful later when Tina gets home and everyone is too busy to help......that's your turn!I'm being postive and sending prayers for Tina/Jake!
    Thanks for the update. I hope to hear more good news (fingers crossed!)soon.


  • Cath,

    I've been away from SH a bit and just catching this. I'll be thinking and praying for Tina, Jake and their whole family and host of friends including you.

    I read this story at a very sad time for me and the many memories are still fresh. But it also prompts me to say, I know first hand the power of prayer, friendship, and even the good samaritan to get you through.

    Sometimes things just don't turn out how we would like them to and we never know why but SOMETIMES THEY DO. Either way the road is hard and we need friends, loved ones, and sometimes total strangers...and so mostly I'll pray that through it all everyone can find a moment of Peace here and there in the long hard road!
  • Cathie,

    Just wanted you to know that I'm still praying for Tina, and Jake too and glad to hear she's holding her own. I don't blame you for not wanting to go to the hospital. You're a wonderful neighbor without having to do that. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Tina is now off the ventilator and breathing on her own, but they did a tracheotomy for backup in case there are problems. She also now has a feeding tube in her stomach to give her nutrition and hopefully the strength to get better.

    She's responding only a bit at this time. Today, she responded a bit with her eyes, but it's still not the consistent communication that they're wanting to see after over a week after this happened.

    She had fallen on the stairs during the heart attack, and when Rick (the neighbor) got there, she was blue and not breathing. He couldn't do CPR on her on the stairs and had to have Jake help bring her down to a solid surface which was very difficult. As a result, they did an MRI today to see if she has any spine injuries from her fall and movement from the stairs to the floor. Poor Rick is having a very difficult time dealing with what he's seen and had to do and I can't imagine Jake seeing his mom that way and having to help carry her down to the floor.

    My hubby had it right, though - if she'd made it upstairs, she would have died there and Jake would have found her later with no hope at all.

    Anyway, her responses are better than yesterday, but still not up to par. Her brother was at her house last evening and we talked with him. Although he doesn't want to have a negative attitude, he's not very optimistic about her recovery. Having watched her each day, he's having a very difficult time seeing his sister in this situation with not a lot of hope at this point for a good recovery, much less a full recovery.

    So, thought I'd update. I get emails each time the family updates the carepage. Jake will be going back to school Monday and I've offered to cover taking him and picking him up whenever the family needs me to as they don't live as close as I do, of course.

    I'm anxious to give Jake a hug. Thanks for all the prayers for Tina and her family.

  • Cathie,

    That is so nice of you to offer to help Jake get around. Way cool! :)

    Glad to hear there is continued improvement. Her brother, did he indicate to you that maybe the doctors are giving him more information that is making him so "not so" optimistic on her recovery? Hopefully he isn't conveying this to Jake? He needs to be able to hold onto hope.

    Positive thoughts and energy still heading to Tina.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Cathie,

    Thanks for updating us on how Tina is doing. What a traumatic experience for both Rick and Jake, but not as traumatic as finding his mother dead, as your husband so astutely pointed out would have happened.

    You're being a great neighbor. I hope you don't compromise your back with the driving. Be sure to take care of yourself first--it won't help Jake if you get laid up with your back because of a careless moment. OK, I'll quit acting like Mother, lol.

    Wishing you a peaceful and pain-free sleep tonight.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Cath,

    We do all we can, the best we can as long as we possibly can and you seem to be doing that Admirably.

    Thank you for the updates. I would think it will be helpful for Jake to be able to go to school and be near his home. He needs as much normalicy as he can find at a time like this. HA! Like what's that right?

    So sorry you are having to live through this but as I said you appear to be doing it admirably and God has obviously placed you there for a reason.

    Oh, the trials we mere mortals must endure for the lessons we must learn. Makes us want to scream, "NOT FAIR!"

    "It sucks to be sure folks, just be sure and concetrate on the loved ones you still have." For goodness sake. DO NOT BLINK!
  • I can't believe it...

    This is actually almost the exact same thing that happened to my brother almost three years ago when he was in his mid 40s. Eric (my brother and one year older than me) was disabled (diabetes, back problems and asthma) and was a stay-at-home dad. I'd seen him on a Sunday for Ashley, his daughter's, 5th birthday party and he didn't look very well. But he stayed with all of us and my hubby took a picture of Eric and I together and it turned out beautiful - he didn't look sick in the picture. Only three days later, I got a call at work that Eric had been rushed to the hospital.

    As it turned out, Eric had suffered a massive heart attack in the morning after his wife had gone to work, while sitting on his bed getting dressed. Ashley went upstairs to get daddy. She couldn't wake him up, so she called her mom at work and said, "Mommy, I can't wake daddy up, what do I do?"

    Naturally, Ashley's mom came rushing home and found him, but hadn't called 911 yet because he'd had episodes in the past where he'd have a diabetic attack that would render him semi-concious, so she thought that might be the case. Of course, after getting home she called 911 and by the time I got to the hospital, he was on life support and it took the doctors two days to declare him brain-dead, some sort of hoops they have to jump through. They say that in actuality, he had died instantly.

    I wonder why I haven't thought of that until now, the similarities in the situations? Odd...

    I still haven't gotten an update on Tina yet today.

  • Check out this update from Tina's family tonight (remember, she had her major heart attack and brought back to life 14 times on Oct. 13):
    Good Evening!
    Today is a miraculous day! Tina is awake and fully aware of her surroundings, family and friends! She is trying her absolute best to communicate and respond with everyone! The tracheotomy tube does not allow her to speak but she is mouthing words! She even got her hair washed which made her feel so much better! Tina has a heart test scheduled for tomorrow. We are all so happy and excited on the progress she has made today! Tina is back on her road and speeding to recovery! Have a good evening everyone!
    After over a week of pacemakers, breathing tubes, minimal responses, look what's happening. What power thoughts and prayers have for those in need. We're very excited and optimistic. Unbelievably unbelievable.



    PS: We understand we can't be too excited right now, you never know what can happen, but this news is the best we've had since this tragedy happened.
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