At 7:15am, we received a call from a man who was a high school acquaintance of our son. He asked me what Rocky, our sons’, last name was. I ask why? He said that Rocky could not be woken up and he had to call an ambulance and that Rocky was @ St Francis Hosp Beech Grove. I gave him Rocky's last name and told him we were on our way.

When we arrived they immediately took us in a Family Consult room and said the Dr would be right in to speak with us. My husband (Rocky’s father), I and the acquaintance, talked while we were waiting.

The acquaintance said that the day before, Rocky had picked him up and they went to Glendale Mall to look for Rocky a new cell phone and then they went to Taco Bell and they went to the acquaintances’ house. On arriving there, he said Rocky was asleep in the passenger seat and that he, the acquaintance, was driving Rocky's car, from Taco Bell to his house.  It was unusual for Rocky to ever let someone else drive his car.

He said that it was between 8:30pm to 9pm, April 9th, 2010. He said he tried to wake Rocky but was not able to and just thought he was tired from working the night before. He said that “every hour, or so, WE went out to check on him but were not able to awaken him". At 5am, April 10th, 2010, when the acquaintance was going to bed, he checked on Rocky; he was blue and was not breathing. (He told the police and hospital staff that he had found him 'blue and not breathing at 6am) The 911 call was not made until 6:20am.

An IMPD officer was already doing CPR when the ambulance arrived at the home of the acquaintance. They incubated Rocky and continued CPR and got his heart beating again. Rocky had two more cardiac arrests; one in route to St. Francis Hospital and another in the ER.

So now, two doctors came into the room. One sat down and one continued to stand. One of them said Rocky was in very critical condition. They said they don't know how long his body, the brain more importantly, was without oxygen but they think it was more than 10 minutes. They said the whole brain is likely damaged but all the MRI and other tests were not yet completed. They said we could see him but to be prepared, as he was on a ventilator and many other medical things attached to him.

When we started back, they led us to an area away from the other ER patients. There were several nurses and doctors with him.  Probably 6 to 8 total.

It was heart wrenching when I seen him this first time. I had never seen anyone attached to so many machines and IV feeds. A nurse began telling us what everything was but I don’t remember hearing them, not at that time. All I could do was look at my baby boy, now 28 years old, with a ventilator coming from his mouth and completely unresponsive to my calls, "Rocky, oh, please, Rocky, wake up honey, please wake up!" His father and I just kept saying it over and over again; as we cried, our tears fell on our beautiful son.

“How could this have happened?  They don’t know my Rocky.  He is strong and young and he will pull through this. He has to come back to us!  He has to come back to his children!  We will get him through this. We will be able to bring him back, because love conquers everything, right?”

So many thoughts and words being were happening all at once.  My mind couldn’t fully comprehend what was happening, I don’t think.

The doctor came over after about half an hour and he said they would be moving him to ICU soon. He told us they should have the MRI back by the time they get him to ICU and they would come to the ICU waiting room and talk with us there.

It was an hour or more. It seemed like time was moving in slow motion, but it was actually passing quickly.  We didn’t want to let him go alone, but we were told that the doctor would meet us in the ICU waiting room. We could hardly stand the agony of having to let him out of our sight again!

It seemed like forever, in the ICU waiting room, waiting for the doctor to come. Several family and friends had already arrived. My oldest son, and his girlfriend, had just arrived.

Finally, the doctor came into the waiting room. The look on his face said what he was going to say, before he ever spoke a word.

"The MRI is showing very little activity. It is indicative that he has complete brain damage. We have called a neurologist and he should be here soon. We are going to be hooking up a 24 hour kidney dialysis, as his kidneys are failing. We have him on several anti-seizure, antibiotics and pain medications, by IV, and we'll see how the next 24 hours goes."

Threw my extreme anxiety and tears, I ask him, "Is he going to live?".

His answer was simple but cut me like i have never hurt before that moment in my life. "We don’t think he will make it."

I just fell to my knees and started screaming to God. "No! No! Please don’t do this to me! Please not my Rocky! No, you wouldn’t do this! Please, Lord, no!" Bill was right with me, both of us crying, uncontrollably. "No, God, no!"

The doctor had sent a priest in and he ask if he could pray with us. I said, "Oh, YES, please!" The priest began to pray a prayer as if Rocky was already gone and he was praying him into heaven.

I pulled my hand away from the priest and screamed for him to stop! "Get away from us! My son is still alive! How dare you!" He high tailed it out of there.

I had to pull myself together. I knew that. I had to take control of this situation and save Rocky. I got up from the floor. I instructed everyone that we were going to pull Rocky through this, he is still alive! Some tried to reason with me but I had work to do. I had my own prayers to say. We all had praying and positive thoughts to get going!

Soon we were allowed to go back with him into ICU. He had even more IVs on him, I counted 8, I think. They were starting to attach the dialysis machine to him.

I got my 'strong' on and started talking to Rocky.

"Come on, Rocky. Wake up. I know u can hear us. Wake up, Rocky.  Kylie and Miles are waiting for u, Rocky. It’s time to wake up now, Rocky."

We continued this talk with him and praying for the next 3 days.

Several MRIs had been done. All showing that only a speck of activity was left in the brain stem. They kept telling us that he would always be in this coma until he died from some infection or disease.

"He will never open his eyes again. Never move. Never talk. Never be able to breath on his own again. If he has another cardiac arrest, he won’t make it. If you don’t decide to remove the breathing tube, he will live this way without change until the current pneumonia takes him or some other infection. You have a hard decision to make."

After hearing this for three days we started talking about removing the ventilator. We had talked, cried, talked, cried and we had not been able to decide what to do during those first three days.  On day 4, in the late afternoon, we finally decided that the following morning we would remove the ventilator.

I thought, “He will survive it! He'll show them!”

That evening I ask the nurse to move him over on the bed, so i could lay next to him. I wanted to hold him and look square in his eyes and talk to him. If I could get that close, I could open his eyes for him, and he would see me and start to wake up.

They prepared him for me. I climbed into the bed next to him and caressed his hair and face, like i did when he was little. Like I did when he was detoxing off of Duragesic patches in 2008. I kept talking to him and used my fingers to slowly open one eye lid. It was very 'heavy' feeling and I was smitten by the eye which had no pupil. Just the beautiful blue color of Rocky’s eyes covering the whole pupil area.

He was being kept alive against his will. That was the first thing I thought when I saw his open eye. He is up on the ceiling somewhere, waiting for us to let him go and move on.

I cried and sang, "You Are My Sunshine" (a favorite of his when he was little) and then I told my husband we needed to let him go now.

"I want all these machines and tubes off him and we need to let him go. He is already gone and is just waiting for us to let him go."

At 11:15pm they removed the last tube; the ventilator. Now he only had Fentinyl in an IV for any possible pain, as no one knows what someone in a coma 'feels' and they said, after 3 CPR’s he had a chest full of broken ribs.

I stayed until about 2:30am, April 15. His father, his ex-wife and cousin stayed and I went to get some sleep. The death rattle was more than I could take.  It was obvious he was going to die.

They came to get me and by the time I got back there he had died; he died at 4:40am on April 15, 2010.

Because his body was without oxygen long enough to fully damage his brain, his organs were too damaged for donation.


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Comment by Holly R. Atkins on April 25, 2012 at 11:49pm
I'm so sorry for your loss

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