Earlier this week, I told you that one of our contributors, Dr. Brian Kopp, had suffered a debilitating stroke and was being taken to Pittsburgh for surgery. Today, I got an update from his daughter, Marie, who tells me that the doctors are going to put a stent into the blocked artery in his brain some time today. Marie writes, “this is not good, as the this procedure is super risky, and means that the stroke is very very bad, because this is their LAST RESORT method.”
She also passed along more info on what has happened so far:
In August, Dad had a stroke. It was his first, and was located in his cerebrum (I think). It gave his severe vertigo and messed up his balance badly. He missed quite a few weeks of work, but slowly worked his way back to normal.
At the beginning of this month, dad had 2 more strokes,smaller than the first. They messed up his balance again, and he became mostly deaf in one ear. He began slurring his speech.
On Sunday, Dad’s speech got so bad that Mom took him to the ER. He spent most of yesterday waiting for test results, an MRI and CT scan, which never came. Last night, dad worsened significantly between 9pm and midnight. His speech became nearly unintelligible, and he is completely deaf in one ear and very hard of hearing in the other. The Neurologist placed him on a heavy blood-thinner via IV.
After speaking with Mom at midnight, I decided to drive home from college so I could support her and be here with Dad. I got here at 4 am. When we woke Dad up so I could say hello, he was drastically worse again. His left side, which had been his strong side, was now very weak, and half his face was drooping and numb. They took him down for another CT scan.
The Neurologists spoke to us at length at lunch time. They thought the blockages were from clogged arteries, which would need to be treated over the next few months with statins, to lower cholesterol, and blood thinners. This is probably true of some of the blockages; however, when the neurologist analyzed the MRI and 2 CT scans, he found at least one clot. This is actually not bad news, because they can treat a clot more quickly, albeit invasively. This development gave the neurologist more hope. He decided to transfer Dad to UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, where they will run more tests and, probably, remove the clot. They may also treat the other blockages as explained above–we just aren’t sure yet. Dad will certainly need intensive rehab when [his ordeal] is over.
While I know God is with us in all of this and I trust him entirely, I also acknowledge that this will change our lives dramatically. Dad can barely hear, barely talk, barely write his name. If he survives this, it is unlikely he can continue podiatry. Dad is self-employed, and Mom works with him. They have therefore have only one source of income, which is dependent on dad working. We also have no health insurance now (thank you, ObamaCare). I know God will provide–He always does–so please keep us in your prayers. We are taking this a day at a time.
That last part is important — with no health insurance and doubt about future income, the Kopp family is looking at covering the very heavy cost of serious and ongoing medical procedures. To that end, a family friend has set up a fundraising page to help cover these expenses. If you can help them in any way, please consider doing so. And please continue your prayers for Brian and his family.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.