ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV) — A St. Charles man who thought he had the common cold is still in the hospital two weeks after his wife brought him into the emergency room.
Jake Anderson and his wife Paige Kennedy-Anderson bought a house in October and were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child this summer.
When Jake began feeling under the weather, it seemed like any other winter ailment; a common cold that would keep him feeling congested for a few days, maybe requiring some Sudafed and DayQuil to finally kick.
They never imagined he’d be in the Intensive Care Unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital in just a few days.
On December 30, Jake decided to take a shower to help his congestion. Moments after he stepped into the hot water, Paige heard him collapse.
“You get no warning that’s the scary part about it,” said Paige.
She rushed into the bathroom to find her husband unresponsive, and started performing CPR.
“I could feel him going cold underneath my hands as I was pumping on his chest,” she said.
She performed CPR until paramedics arrived, and Jake was rushed to the hospital for emergency care.
Just days after the parents-to-be thought he had a cold, Jake was placed into a medically-induced coma to protect his brain and other organs from an unknown virus rampaging through his system.
Doctors returned with news that Jake had myocarditis, a rare infection causing inflammation of the heart muscle. The infection can reduce the heart’s ability to pump and can cause rapid or abnormal heart rhythms. It can result from “a reaction to a drug or be part of a general inflammatory conditions. Signs and symptoms include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and arrhythmias.”
In other words, what you’d expect to feel if you had a cold.
For 48 hours, Paige said she was unsure if her husband would make it.
Wednesday morning, nearly three days after he was admitted, Jake recognized his family members voices and moved his hands and feet for the first time.
Doctors credit the CPR Paige administered to helping save his life.
Despite a promising prognosis that Jake will make a full neurological recovery, his road back to health will be long and winding.
After a small secondary surgery, he no longer recognized his friends or family, even Paige. The effects are expected to be temporary, but the moment was still devastating to his loved ones.
He still has second and third degree burns on his body, because when he collapsed in the shower, doctors believe he may have turned the knob as he fell, spraying his body with scalding hot water.
The hot water heater was maxed out, and Jake must now undergo procedures to treat his burns.
It wasn’t until January 10, 12 days after collapsing in the shower, that he was even able to sit up on his own.
Jake’s story has captured national attention, appearing on the home page of People.com and even being picked up by Fox News.
A GoFundMe for the couple’s medical bills has raised nearly $8,000 as of January 10.
But his arduous recovery will be largely private, the struggles happening far away from the national spotlight.
Doctor’s still have no estimate on when Jake can return home, much less fully recover his health. The couple still has a new house to take care of, and Paige is still managing her pregnancy, trying to look forward to the family to come, while caring for a husband who sometimes doesn’t recognize her.
A year from now the family will hopefully celebrate Christmas in their new home, Jake’s hospitalization being nothing more than a scary story; a strange and unbelievable anecdote about how one day he woke up with a cough and congestion, and 48 hours later he was fighting for his life.
“Who would think you’d go to shower to relieve congestion and your heart would just stop?” Paige said.