Jake Anderson was hoping that a hot shower might help him feel better. But moments after stepping inside, he nearly died.
As KMOV News reports, the 25-year-old man from St. Charles, Missouri, had just gotten married in October and was looking forward to the birth of his first child in July. The only thing to hamper his happiness was a stubborn cold.
By December 30, Jake had been fighting his cold for a few days and looking for relief. Thinking that steam might help his sinus congestion, Jake went to take a shower … and immediately collapsed.
Jake’s wife, Paige, immediately called 911 and then began CPR. She told KMOV:
“I could feel him going cold underneath my hands as I was pumping on his chest.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up for the couple, once paramedics arrived, they worked on Jake for 40 minutes as they tried to get his heart to start beating again. As they transported Jake to the hospital, expecting a doctor to declare him dead, they finally detected a pulse.
However, Jake was still in a critical state. His family was told that Jake only had a 5 percent chance of survival. He was put into a medically induced coma, and doctors warned Paige that after going 45 minutes without a heartbeat, Jake may have developed brain damage.
Doctors believe that Jake’s cold had developed into myocarditis. According to the National Institutes of Health, myocarditis is a rare heart condition that occurs when a virus or infection reaches the heart and damages the heart muscle, resulting in weakness or swelling.
Though sometimes myocarditis can be symptomless, it can also mimic the flu. Other symptoms include rapid heart rate, chest pain, rapid breathing, cold hands or feet, swelling of the legs or joints, fainting, fever, and fatigue. While some victims of myocarditis are able to recover completely, it can cause lasting heart failure in other cases.
Paige told KMOV that she was stunned when she learned that Jake’s cold was really a viral heart condition:
“Who would think you’d go to shower to relieve congestion and your heart would just stop?”
For two days, Jake remained in his coma, and doctors tried to prepare his family for the worst. Paige, however, never wavered in her belief that Jake would pull through.
After two days, intensive care staff began to bring Jake back out of his coma. Cheers erupted in the room when Jake woke up, recognized his family, and spoke for the first time.
Doctors are hopeful about Jake’s recovery. He will need a pacemaker and will be off work for several months, and it will take a year before they determine the extent of any brain damage. But Jake’s family is calling it a miracle.
After facing the possibility of going from newlywed to widow before their first child is born, Paige is still reeling from what happened. As she wrote on the couple’s GoFundMe page:
“I found the love of my life in Jake. We were so looking forward to our first year as a married couple and as parents. I cannot believe how everything, all our hopes and dreams can change in a second. I feel very uncertain being a new mom, living paycheck to paycheck, without knowing when Jake will be well enough again to fully engage in life and work, but I know I am strong and Jake is too.”