Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gary Collins - Our Miracle Man

Alas, we can breathe a sigh of relief after holding our breath for nearly three entire days and through two surgeries. Can you here the relief from here?
We feel so blessed to tell you that after a very frightening and anxious three days our Miracle Man is recovering steadily, albeit slowly, in the UNM Neuroscience ICU in Albuquerque. Gary suffered from a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and subsequent stroke.
The American Stroke Association has a great website for information if you would like to read more about his condition. Bottom line, it is the most severe type of stroke and it has been graded as a grade 4 on an upward scale of 1 to 4.

Gary collapsed on Thursday, June 25Th while delivering wine to a valued customer. As God would have it, he was not driving, but was instead with people who were quick on their feet and got him an ambulance and the care he needed. (Every second of oxygen being deprived to the brain was crucial.) Thank gosh for great customers! After the first surgical attempt to place a coil in the aneurysm, the team determined they were unable to reach it due to its location. Thus, the second surgery to go through the skull and clamp the rupture. The second surgery went quickly and without a glitch. Gary was out early and stable. As luck would have it, UNM just became accredited as a stroke trauma center so the team, the expertise and the care has been tremendous thus far. Gary will likely be in the ICU for 2-3 more weeks to assess his rehabilitation needs and insure he is ready to move into the next phase of in-patient rehabilitation. Once his brain begins to heal, 7-10 days, we will have a firmer fix on the amount and type of rehab required. Until then, we are planning, praying and grateful for the fact that he is here today. Geri, Gary's Mom and veteran RN, has been and will continue to be a great asset to him and the families overall efforts to support him.

We saw his eyes open briefly for the first time on Saturday afternoon and he was able to respond to a variety of commands. His left side is lagging behind, but this may be a temporary condition. Once the nurse yelled in his ear, he faintly said hello and then went back to sleep. He was later able to tell Geri, I love you. So, after three days of sheer fear we sure are feeling happy and extremely tired! Thank you to our neighbors for watching the dogs and my parents who diligently follow our routine and keep Gavin so happy and utterly content. Big thanks to all the Jennings, Chris (Gary's stepmother), Kate and Little Richard, who were right there beside us praying over Gary through thick and thin. We have such a great extended family, who has faced and endured so much over the last 1.5 years. (Next year, nobody is allowed to get sick, injured or the like!)
Many of his friends, co-workers and customers as well as wine-club aficionado's have called to ask how they can help. Right now, visitation is pretty restrictive. However, that should change in the next 7-10 days. So, keep in mind, he loves to read and watch science fiction, as well as animation, and listen to classic rock. Thankfully, he will have many years left too do all these things he loves...
In closing, I suspect the remainder of this year will involve many changes for Geri, Eric, Gavin and myself and I am certain challenging days lay ahead. For today, however, we are over-joyed. And in reality, all we really have is today anyway, right? More updates on Gary next week...thank you for your thoughts, calls, emails and prayers.


  1. Sending our best wishes and healing thoughts your way.

    Ana and Steve

  2. Hang in there, Collins. We are all thinking of you!