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Mike Casey, one of Shelby County’s sports heroes, continues his agonizing fight to recover from a series of ailments related to a failing heart.
Casey has been in intensive care at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville for two weeks since doctors installed a bilateral pump to assist his heart, which was damaged by infection 20 years ago.
His battle has been touch-and-go, with infection raging in his body, blockages and shutdowns of organs and the breathing assistance of a ventilator.
“Things are about where we expected them to be,” his daughter, Laura Lake, said Tuesday. “We’re satisfied today. He’s somewhat stable.”
Lake said that Casey was moving around and wanting to get up out of bed. “He doesn’t understand why he can’t,” she said. “But he’s still the leader. He still tells us what he wants.”
Lake and other family members met with doctors on Monday to discuss Casey’s treatment and prognosis.
“It was a very open, honest, real discussion about the roads we could be facing,” she wrote in an e-mail to friends and family.
Earlier that day, doctors had performed a tracheotomy to allow the ventilator tube to be removed and some residual wounds around his mouth to heal.
Lake said every day is a balancing act in regards to Casey’s pressures, fluids, oxygen and blood/platelets. “We’re trying to control the infections, keep his counts down.
“We are still up and down everyday, sometimes every hour, but he is still fighting” she wrote. “We are still fighting with him and the doctors are still fighting with us.”
Lake, Casey’s sister, Masha Miller, Lake’s mother, Joy Casey, and others have been caring for Casey constantly through this ordeal.
If Casey can survive this crisis, he could be cleared immediately to return to the top of the heart transplant list, doctors have told the family.
Casey, a former Mr. Basketball at Shelby County High School and a star at the University of Kentucky, finally was cleared for a transplant early this year.
On March 24 doctors installed the bilateral pump because previous devices weren’t adequately assisting his declining heart.
A few days after the surgery, Casey stopped breathing, and that’s when doctors put him on a ventilator and later gave him medication to sleep because of the discomfort caused by the tube. They awakened him on Friday.
Churches in Simpsonville, Casey’s hometown, and Shelbyville began prayer vigils, and other churches added him to prayer chains and mentioned him at services on Wednesday night.
“We just thank everyone for all the prayers, love and support,” Lake said. “The power of prayer is amazing. Miracles happen every day, and by the grace of God, Dad will be home soon, planting his garden and going hunting.”