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Established April 15, 1995
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13 May 2009
It was 9th March 2009. My brother Rob had just settled down in Nelson, New Zealand South Island with his wife Laurie Ann, and 6 your old daughter Megan. They had immigrated from South Africa about 5 years prior and everything was coming together for them. They had bought there first New Zealand house, he had just completed his second set of exams to qualify to run his own accountancy firm, and he had just landed a job 3 minutes walk from their house. A few months previously they had enjoyed a lovely 2 month holiday in South Africa which they spent with the rest of my family, my 2 sisters, their kids and my dad. In the photos from that holiday he was the picture of health, well built, smiling and tanned. He was 45. I live in the UK and unfortunately couldn't make it. I regret that so much....
It has only been 2 months, and we haven't yet got together as a family so this is the story as I know it. It was the end of the working day, and he collapsed in the office. His colleagues managed to bring up around and sitting up but he said he knew there was something wrong and got them to call an ambulance. They also called his wife, who arrived before the ambulance. On the way to the hospital he was in terrible pain, clutching at his head and neck, he then said he was going to black out, which he did. He kept blacking out and coming to again. At the hospital in Nelson, they did a scan and found the aneurysm. It was deep, and had bulged in 3 places. They said there was nothing they could do for him there and that he had to be airlifted to Wellington hospital on the North Island. They booked a plane ticket for his wife and she followed the air ambulance over to Wellington.
He was sedated and on life support from the time he arrived in ICU. In the morning they took him off sedation, he seemed to be awake but wasn't talking. At one point he struggled violently to pull the tubes and wires out and it took 4 nurses to hold him down to sedate him. The next day they did the angiogram and arranged to clip the aneurysm. On the 11th. my birthday, they operated. He came out of theatre straight back into ICU. Later on in the day his wife was reading him a card from their daughter and the machine suddenly started beeping about his blood pressure. The nurse ran in and told her that she probably should only give him little bits of information at a time.
The next day there were complications, I'm not exactly sure of the details, but they had to perform a procedure to remove a piece of the skull to allow for the brain swelling. However his blood pressure went too high and he was declared brain dead. If there was any chance, he would have fought, but there was too much damage. On the 12th of March they turned off the life support, it is what he wanted. He had always said he never wanted to be kept alive artificially alive.
My brother was a great guy. He had a masters degree, he was a qualified diving instructor, he always finished what he started, he was clean living and hard working and above all, he was a loving husband and father. In September, my sisters and I are going to NZ for a memorial service and that is when the grief is probably really going to hit home.
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