The following are Rob’s Words
Thursday, September 22nd
I want to apologize for delivering this information by email. All of
you deserve a personal phone call, but I can not do that right now.
I have devastating news about my wife, Leigh Guinn.
Yesterday at noon, I was having lunch with Leigh in our living room
and while we were sitting down to eat she had a sudden, massive heart
failure. There was no warning.
I called 911 and administered CPR for 20 minutes while waiting for
the helicopter to arrive. She received two shocks with a
defibrillator, the fist administered by our volunteer fire
department, the second by the medivac paramedics. They were not able
to stabilize her prior to transport.
The nurse aboard the helicopter was able to get drugs into her system
to stabilize her heart and they provided breathing assistance with a
bag. They took her to Shasta Regional Medical Center where she was
attended by emergency room doctors and nurses. He condition did not
She was moved to the ICU at 1:45PM and hooked up to life support.
They ran a full body CT scan, MRI on her head, EKG, EEG, installed a
catheter in her heart, performed a heart endoscope, a spinal tap and
pumped her full of antibiotics and a variety of heart medicines.
Her doctors have determined that her heart is barely working, is
enlarged and is very weak. They are conjecturing that her heart may have been attacked by a virus and damaged it to the point where it will no longer function. In addition, she aspirated fluids into her longs during resuscitation and has pneumonia.
She is in a coma and the doctors are concerned that she may havebrain damage. Her doctors are characterizing her condition as moment-to-moment and grave.
Her mother is at her side, her father and brother are flying in from
Oklahoma and my family is at the hospital waiting for news. I will
be at the hospital until there is a resolution which I will share
with you all by email.
Please pray for Leigh. She is my life. Rob
Leigh's heart is enlarged and is permanently damaged. The degree of
the damage is unknown but a heart transplant may be necessary if that
option becomes available to us.
Her treatments are massive antibiotics to fight the bacteria they
found in her blood, heart medicines to increase the ejection factor of
her heart, steroids to reduce the swelling in her brain and increase
her batting average.
She is located in the ICU "Shock Room" which is center stage. It's a
large room with all the equipment for the most critical patients.
They tried to move Leigh yesterday but she complained by turning blue
so she remains right where she started when she came in 5 days ago.
She is on life support which is a combination of protocols, machines
and treatments which do all the work for her except make her heart
beat. She is on a ventilator that assists her breathing, she is being
fed by a tube in her abdomen attached to a machine that delivers light
brown pre-chewed food directly into her upper GI, she is on a bed that
inflates and deflates to keep moving her around to prevent her skin
from breaking down, she has wraps on her legs that squeeze and release
over and over to prevent blood clotting, she has a catheter to remove
waste, she is laying on a pad with coolant running through to reduce
her core temperature, IV lines to deliver medicine and fluids, a main
line in he femoral artery with a valve they use to take her blood and
has no fewer than 9 IV bags pumping a complex lifesaving cocktail into
her body around the clock for which I can't wait to see the bar bill.
I now have undeniable proof of Leigh's natural beauty; she carries
this burden so well.
Leigh's chest x-ray looks like the insides of a laptop computer. The
nurses go over the x-ray with me each night. I can always spot it
right away in the line up because hers has the belly ring with a big
star on it.
Yesterday and today, Leigh has again showed slight signs of
improvement although no 'purposeful' signs of life in her brain. She
has a cough response when they slide her suction tube down her throat
and she opens her eyes slightly when stimulated. However, her eyes do
not track and do not work together. She has another MRI scheduled on
Monday to determine if the swelling in her head has gone down and to
try and determine the amount of brain damage that has occurred. On
Monday, she has to show her neurologist that there is a trend towards
Her heart has not improved.
I stayed by her side all night last night to help her study for the
biggest test of her life on Monday. If she passes it, then we get
more time to fight.
So, we have two hurdles to clear in the proper order. The dark,
mysterious hurdle of her higher brain functions and the surgical and
chemical hurdle of managing her damaged heart. Both of them seem
impossible to clear and they are telling me that together they
represent a Mt. Everest like obstacle.
Aren't lots of people climbing Everest these days? That's what I
Some of you have asked about me. I'm OK. I'm eating, getting at
least 4 hours sleep each day and I'm hovering over her bed announcing
changes in her temperature, heart rate and ejection factor to her
nurses. I tell everyone who comes in the room who she is and things
about her life so they will know who they are treating. I figure if
they don't leave in tears then I'm not doing my job. I've been told
that everyone in the hospital knows who is in the shock room.
A few weeks ago, I was in San Diego CA working with a customer of ours.
It was Friday, last day of my site visit, and Leigh was flying her
airplane down from Redding CA, which is about 700 miles north of San
Diego, to pick me up. She took great pride in the fact that she was a
pilot. She had recently received her instrument rating which would allow
her to fly through the clouds with no visibility out of the cockpit, just
by looking at the gauges and instruments in her airplane.
As the day wore on, cloudy skies persisted and I began to wonder how she
would fare. Flying solo in instrument conditions is no small feat and
doing it for the first time by her self would be a significant event.
At around 3PM, I wrapped up my work and headed for the small airport that
Leigh would be flying into. When I got there, I spotted her airplane in a
tie down spot and I began looking for Leigh. I saw her walking towards me
from a few hundred feet away across the parking area. Her eyes were fixed
on me and she had the biggest smile on her face. She looked up at the
clouds and looked back at me and she radiated pride in her accomplishment.
I could tell she could not wait to tell me all about it. It was wonderful
to sit with her on the flight home and listen to her talk about what it
In 1995, Leigh had only been together for about a year, and we were broke.
The business I had started in 1991 was struggling and Leigh and I worked
long days and long nights together for little more than hope. Since hope
did not pay well, we took the most valuable thing we had, a Toyota
mini-truck, and sold it to pay the rent that month and have some money for
other things like food.
We were very lucky in that we had help available if we hit bottom. If we
had told either of our families the true state of our affairs they would
have heaped support on us in an instant. But I have a stubborn streak and I
was not going to ask for help until we exhausted every resource available.
When I told Leigh we had to sell the truck, she said, "That's a really good
idea Bobby" and smiled at me. She didn't have the slightest bit of concern
on her face. I wondered if she understood what I was trying to tell her or
maybe she was in some state of shock or denial. I said to her, "Right about
now, you must be really thinking about what you've gotten yourself into by
marrying me". She told me that she had faith in me, knew that I would work
it out, and besides all that, she was having a really great time with me and
our dog Scarlet so it didn't really matter if we did not have a truck.
Her love for me and her belief in me made me fearless.
I also knew, at that moment, that she was too good for me. But I also knew
that she was too good for anyone else either so I might as well have her.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005.
Leigh and I were married on June 24, 1995. It was a grand affair at this
giant resort in Scottsdale Arizona that her father put on and Leigh and her
mother and friends planned. I was informed early on that it did not have
anything to do with me; I was just supposed to show up on time and do as I
From my perspective, it all seemed like so much 'sound and fury' but all I
had to do was go with it and then I would get to come home with Leigh as my
wife. It was a lot of fun, very exciting and while being the center of
attention was not at all something I was comfortable with, standing next to
the center of attention made me feel good and proud. They say that your
wedding day is the happiest day of your life but it was not the true for us;
we had hundreds of those yet to come.
My Uncle asked me a few days ago if I remembered the song for our 'first
dance' as husband and wife and I had to admit that I could only remember the
band. I did remember thinking it was a very melancholy choice for 'our
song' but keeping to my role in our wedding, I said nothing. It was a song
by the Samples. He told me I should go back and listen to it.