That Time that Marc was in a Coma

On Thursday evening, March 2nd, Marc was acting a little strange. It had happened once before where he was acting “off”. The other time I had waited until the next day to talk to the doctor who said to take him to the hospital immediately.

This time.. he kept saying he was OK. So even though he was acting oddly I let him sleep. Wrong decision.

When I woke up March 3rd, he was on the floor and unresponsive.

I called 9-11.

An ambulance, fire engine and the police showed up. They tried to revive him and it didn’t work. He was breathing but he wasn’t responding to anything. They intubated him and he was rushed to hospital. Worst day ever.

Despite what you see on TV, you’re not allowed to go in the ambulance.

I got to the hospital on my own and they put me in “the quiet room”. Which I translated to the “bad news room”.

I was told Marc Thomas was not in good condition. They moved him to ICU. He was in a coma.

I had to wait in the ICU wait room while he was assessed. A lovely woman named Anita (a pastor) talked to me while I cried. I told her what had happened and how he’d not been well for some time.

When I finally got to go in, Marc Thomas was in ICU. Lots of tubes. I thought I was going to lose him.

I called his mother and told her how bad things were. He had been not so truthful with her. She had already lost one son so he didn’t want to worry her. I apologized. She had had a feeling he wasn’t doing as well as he made out. We have each other on Facebook for Pete’s sake! She sees pictures!

When I first met Marc he was about 250 lbs. Last time he was at the doctor’s he was 157. That’s not good.

So I notified my family. Marc’s friends. People who would want to know. His boss. And I sat there and cried while he laid there in a medically induced coma. He looked even worse than that with the ventilator down his throat. Marc’s friend Mike came during lunch. No real change but came to keep me company and I worried aloud about a lot of things. Our friend Glenn came later in the day to give me hugs. Others offered but I’m not good with crying in front of people and there was really nothing anyone could do. I took his bag of belongings – his PJ pants and the shirt they had to cut off of him – and went home to take clonezapam and sleep.

The next morning I called and was told he slept comfortably and they were going to wake him up about 1pm so to come about 1:30pm. Katy came with me…. we had to “gown up” as Marc seems to be a carrier of MRSA – a staph infection that can be passed to others.

When we got into the room, Marc was pretty bewildered. They woke him up and he had no idea how he got there or why he was there. I explained to him what had happened. He complained about having a catheter in and asked when he could have it removed.

He had had an episode of hepatic encephalopathy. I told him that I had had to call his mother and that she and his nephew Tim, Tim’s wife France and their girls were on their way. Marc replied “this is a nightmare!” I asked if he meant the catheter. He said “No. My mother!” At that point I realized Marc was going to be okay. (No offense, Lynn! xoxo) He was worried that she was going to be angry with him

Marc has had it once before, but not to this extent. The simple explanation is that because his liver doesn’t function, it doesn’t remove the toxins and ammonia from his blood stream. The ammonia goes to his brain and makes him confused, disoriented and sometimes argumentative because he doesn’t understand what’s happening. It’s very frightening. Looking at someone you love and not being quite sure if they even know who you are. And then not knowing if the coma is going to cause lasting brain damage. Terrifying.

Marc’s family came to visit and to see him in the hospital. His mother wasn’t angry with him.. just happy he was okay. And on the bright side, I did get to visit with Lynn, Tim and France and their adorable girls. (And build a fort and watch the Trolls movie and have pizza and pancakes.)

Marc was in the hospital for the weekend … he had a bunch of visitors in ICU…. his “cousin” Emily and her husband Glenn, his “brother in law” Daniel, his “brother” Dan and “sister in law” Rachel. Who knew Marc had so many siblings and relatives? 😉

During the stay, I kept Marc’s boss Pam at the University of Waterloo updated. Marc’s contract was up for renewal on March 28th (his birthday) and previously it appeared that it would be renewed. However, because of Marc’s increasing confusion at times, his attention to detail wasn’t always spot on. And now we had to face the inevitable – there was just no way Marc could work any longer.

Marc spoke with Pam once he was discharged from the hospital on Monday. The University bought out the rest of his contract, which was wonderful of them. The benefits have been a God send (ONE of his medications would have been $1600. but was just $70. with the drug plan.)

By the way, the staff at Grand River Hospital in ICU were wonderful. Especially Marc’s nurse Stephanie. Many words of wisdom. What a lovely woman.

So, the practical upshot of this whole situation is this: Marc needs a new liver. A living donor is preferable as it will expedite the process. It becomes an appointment rather than an “on call” situation.

Marc is no longer able to work. He’s too ill so he will have to go on disability. And even though I have been looking for work…. it’s not terribly practical to have an “outside job” as I spend a lot of time in hospitals, at doctors’ offices and other medical related appointments. I joke about my clothes being from hospital gift shops… they are. Not even kidding.

I am looking for work that I can do from home. Marc often needs help getting up, he needs someone here to make sure he’s taking his medications when he should so he doesn’t have another coma episode. So if you know of anyone needing my specific set of skills… please point them in my direction.

As well, this whole thing is expensive. Drives to London. Hotels. Medicines. Never mind our regular expenses. That in mind, the lovely Rachel Hammell set up a GoFundMe for Marc. If you’re able to help, amazing.

Even better if you’d like to donate some of your liver. (That’s asking a lot, but if you’re so inclined, check this out.)

Regardless, I started this website to keep everyone informed and to explain things in a little more detail. If nothing else, please sign your donor card and send some prayers. We appreciate it.



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