Bob Jacobs is a man of faith, with a loving wife and a renewed appreciation for life, after he was brought back from the brink of death 11 times. He now uses a home oxygen concentrator that we were happy to provide him with, and is alive and well in his home in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
On a fateful day in March 2013, Bob suffered a sudden cardiac arrest because of ventricular fibrillation. The lower chambers in his heart started to function erratically, fluttering instead of beating like they are supposed to, due to a change in electric activity.
This happened while he was at his work at the Wauwatosa Home Depot. Luckily, his coworker and friend Patrick Hamilton was there, and knew how to perform CPR. Hamilton was able to bring back his pulse a few times before paramedics arrived:
"In the time I was with him he didn’t have anything, then he had a pulse. Then we lost the pulse. And then it came back again." recalls Hamilton.
His pulse was lost again when paramedics were there to continue with CPR. On his way to the hospital, Bob was revived a few more times. His wife, Victoria arrived at the hospital and was able to see Bob six hours later.
Victoria remembers those harrowing moments in the hospital: "The gurnee was being pushed in and there was a lot of pumps and hand pumps and people pumping the heart and the lungs by hand to get him to the machine and he was convulsing. Then the doctors hooked him up to the machines real quickly and it was complete life support," she recalls.
When blood and oxygen are deprived from the brain even for a few minutes, the brain will begin to die. Most of the time, if someone goes a little too long without enough oxygen to the brain, they can become brain-dead, if they are able to wake up at all. This was the way it looked for Bob, during the next 4 days.
Bob was in ICU and under a medically induced coma. After seeing no signs of improvement after 4 days, doctors suggested to Victoria that it might be time to pull the plug. Victoria asked if they could wait to see if he wakes up, and to see if he would still be himself. The doctors agreed.
Thankfully for Victoria's unwillingness to give up on her husband just yet, Bob was given a new lease on life – he woke up the next morning, with all of his brain and consciousness intact.
Victoria says about that morning: “When he opened his eyes,” she said. “Can I see those baby blues? Then he grinned and everybody said ‘oh, he’s in there.'”
After 6 more days in the hospital, Bob was able to go home, and 5 months later, he was able to go back to work. He now has a defibrillator pacemaker to keep his ticker ticking the way it should.
"I know there’s a reason. I’ve got to see somebody. I don’t know who. Maybe it’s a lot of people. Maybe it’s one person. I don’t know but I was obviously persevered for something. I have a much deeper appreciation for what we call life, much deeper," says Bob about being able to fully recover.