About   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Become a Member of MHAUS
Community Search

The upcoming calendar is currently empty.

Click here to view past events and photos »

Find us on Social Media

Faces of MH
Group HomeGroup Home Blog Home Group Blogs
Search all posts for:   


View all (42) posts »

Patrick Welch

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 7, 2019


Patrick Welch’s MH Story….


If by sharing my detailed MH story helps anyone understand their situation better, my goal in writing this has been achieved. I am so happy to hear that those who wrote their story have helped us learn more about this crazy rare medical condition. My name is Patrick Welch and here is my MH story…


On a Friday, in the beginning of October 2018, I woke up at 3:00 AM with severe stomach pain. I thought if I switched positions it would go away, but it did not. At 7:30 AM, my wife, Emily, left for work thinking nothing was wrong, just that I might have eaten something that wasn’t the best. However, I still was in pain that was not going away. Around 10:00 AM, I reached out to my wife and mentioned something wasn’t right and I needed to be taken to the hospital. My wife ended up closing the pharmacy where she works at about 1:30 PM. She raced home to pick me up. We dropped of our son and daughter with a friend who agreed to watch them and we rushed to the hospital.


When we got to the hospital, they checked me in right away. While giving my medical history, I mentioned that my dad, brother, and sister all had their appendix removed, so the hospital started there. They ran some tests and did a CT scan. Sure enough, I needed an appendectomy. While getting me ready for surgery, they did another history and asked if anyone in my family had any issues/problems with anesthesia. My response was “no” because I’ve never heard of anyone in my family having problems, not even the family members who went through the same appendectomy. After the history, the staff at the hospital stated that I would have to stay there overnight. I wasn’t the most excited about that but knew it had to be done. I gave Emily a kiss and we prayed before I was taken back, having zero worries that anything would go wrong.


(Everything from this point on is coming from other people’s perspectives of what happened because I don’t remember anything after surgery.)


After surgery, they were bringing me into the recovery room. As I was coming to, still heavily sedated, they asked me how I was doing. I gave them thumbs up because I was still intubated. The surgery was a success! They extubated me and were in the process of going to talk to Emily when I started to have the reaction to the anesthesia. I started to have really bad riggers (shaking and tense muscles) to the point where they needed three people to try and hold my head and neck down so they could re-intubate me. My blood pressure skyrocketed to 200+/132, my pulse jumped immediately to 180bpm, and my temperature went up close to 106°F. The anesthesiologist recognized what was happening and called a Code Blue and an MH crisis. They also had people calling the MH hotline number to get more information on how to effectively treat me. As I understand, they had to call the MH hotline multiple times. Meanwhile, I also went into respiratory failure. When the staff informed Emily of what was going on, she didn’t really understand the severity of the situation; just knew that it was serious. She held onto her faith that everything was going to be okay. After Emily talked to the doctors, she called our friend, Sarah, who is nurse, and mentioned what was going on. Sarah knew instantly that she needed to be by Emily’s side and rushed to the hospital. While Sarah was on her way, Emily called another friend, Drew, who also rushed to the hospital. They arrived at the same time. Drew told me later that when he showed up, there were 20 different people working on me and 4 officers in the room and they were preparing Emily for the worst. After Drew and Sarah got to the hospital, Emily stated that Drew was going to pray over me and everyone paused for a moment. The only sound that you could hear was the person squeezing the oxygen bag to make sure I was still breathing.


After they stabilized me, I was packed with ice and rushed to a larger hospital about 15 miles away that had an ICU, where I was placed. At this point I was still unconscious and unaware of what was happening. We had more friends show up to pray over me again. I was in the ICU for about four hours with Emily and Sarah. Around 1:00 AM, my vitals started to rise again. The anesthesiologist noticed what was going on and politely asked both Emily and Sarah to step out because she and her staff needed to work on me. They called another MH crisis. I was having another reaction and all the symptoms I was having before came back; high blood pressure, rapid pulse rate and breathing, and an increase in temperature. While I was at the smaller hospital, they gave me doses of dantrolene. Now that it was happening a second time, the staff contacted the MH Hotline again and the doctors and anesthesiologists thought it would be a good idea to set me up on a dantrolene IV drip. They also ended up putting in a central line and arterial line to give me different medications faster and to be able to monitor my vitals more effectively.


The next day, Saturday morning, there was something going on with my left arm that Emily noticed. She went to get a nurse and it turned out that the arterial line they put in was causing a blood clot. They said my arm was really swollen and was rock hard. They got that under control with blood thinners. That seemed to be the last of the issues to arise.


As I remember, I was in and out for the next four days, still intubated. I realized something was wrong when in one of my moments of coming to, hearing (because I still couldn’t see anything) some of my friends talk about the Vikings game and how they got beat pretty badly. Hearing that, I was thinking to myself, I was supposed to be awake by Friday night after the surgery but the football game was on a Sunday. That’s when the questions in my mind started rolling.


Then on Tuesday, a different time that I was awake, our friend Sarah knew that I could hear her and asked me if I knew that something went wrong. I nodded my head yes. Then she asked me if I knew what had happened and I shook my head no. She went on to explain what had happened and all the support we had. I don’t know if they could tell but I was feeling very overwhelmed and emotional but thankful we had the friends we had. Being intubated, communication was tough. We tried having me write but my hands and arms weren’t working the best. I finally remember that I knew sign language and I started signing letters and spelling what I needed or was thinking. Every so often, they would need to come in and move/rotate me and when they did, it was the worst thing ever! Still having the tube in my throat, I would have a really bad gag reflex, start coughing and try to reach up and pull out the tube. Thankfully, the hospital staff had my arms tied down. At one point I signed, “no turn” not understanding they needed to do so to reduce hotspots. After they explained that to me, I signed, “how many turns left,” so I could prepare myself mentally for the difficult turns.


They extubated me in the morning on the next day, Tuesday, and it was one of the happiest days of my life. Even though it wasn’t very loud and my throat hurt, I could finally speak! I don’t remember saying I love you or I appreciate you more in my life to the people that were around me and taking care of me through this whole endeavor, but I did.


Staff ended up moving me to my recovery room that afternoon. On Thursday, I started working to get my strength back, doing PT and OT. I was trying to get out of my bed and stay out as much as I could and trying to get my appetite back up by eating A LOT of saltine crackers. They didn’t have too high of an expectation for me and my recovery considering the situation I was in. However, I was able to leave on Saturday, after eight days in the hospital.


Four months later, getting my body back to 100% is a slow process. I definitely have to remind myself some days that I went through a pretty traumatic event and to not get frustrated that I’m not where I think I should be yet. Maintaining a positive attitude, keeping my mind right and being mentally tough has been really important. Most importantly, being grateful and having a heart of gratitude for all the people and things that I have been blessed with over the course of this experience, I think, has helped the most.


I just want to say thank you to all the doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and especially the anesthesiologist who recognized and understood what was happening and took fast action to save my life. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special thanks to the MH organization (MHAUS) which provides the hotline number and information people need to survive this rare genetic medical condition. I will forever be grateful and appreciative of everything you guys do! Lastly, to my wife Emily: you are one of the strongest and most amazing ladies I know. Your strength is something I aspire to emulate. I’m so blessed to have you by my side through this whole thing and to call you my wife, I love you!



As told by Patrick Welch

Views and opinions expressed on this page are only those of the individual telling their story. MHAUS has not clinically vetted the content. 


Tags:  Patrick Welch 

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
Sign In


 [Image:  Join MHAUS today - become a member]