On Feb. 14, 2011, the lives of Jeff and Erica Buchanan changed forever.
Jeff’s heart stopped beating. He was dead, without a natural heartbeat for about 90 minutes. Friday morning, three years later, they went to the Edmond Fire Department’s Fire Station No. 1 to say thank you to Wes Skelly, Kyle Shelton, Chad George and Brian Olea, the personnel who saved Jeff’s life, and to share their story.
It happened at about 8:50 p.m. on a Monday, a traditional pizza day for the hectic Buchanan family schedule. Jeff came in while Erica was working and they began to talk about what their day was like. Jeff went to their bedroom with his laptop to finish some artwork.
That didn’t last long. Erica started hearing a lot of good natured rough housing with their kids coming from the bedroom. After tucking the kids into bed and cleaning up the kitchen, Erica sat down to watch one of her favorite shows.
Her time on the sofa was cut short when she heard one word she will never forget — “Babe!”
Immediately, she could tell something was wrong. She went into their bedroom where she saw her husband lying on his side and propped up on his arm. His lips were blue and he looked like he was convulsing.
“I was terrified when I grabbed the phone to dial 911,” Erica stated on a website that tells their story. “I was screaming at Jeff to tell me what was wrong. He didn’t answer. His eyes shut and he fell face down on the bed.”
Due to the pace of events, what happened afterward is somewhat of a blur for Erica. After talking to the dispatcher, she had to get a 225-pound man onto the floor.
Erica put the phone down and tried to move Jeff. When she turned him over on his back, she saw that his face was bluer than it was before and he was gasping for air intermittently.
Their oldest two daughters were standing in the bedroom doorway and Erica told her 10-year-old, Emily, to go get their neighbor Casey. Somehow, Erica mustered enough strength and pulled Jeff onto the floor.
After she picked up the phone again, the 911 operator asked her when Jeff was taking breaths. She knelt over her husband and every time he would gasp for air she would yell “Now!” to the operator.
From then on, Erica remembers bits and pieces about what happened. She remembers first responders, including Edmond Fire Department personnel, arriving. Understandably hysterical, she was escorted out of the room. She sat in the living room with the neighbor’s wife. She remembers saying over and over “Please don’t take him. Please don’t let him die. Please!”
When Jeff was loaded into the ambulance, Erica was crying. She managed to hug her daughters and tell them everything was going to be all right. She was driven to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, where they arrived before the ambulance.
Erica sat and waited. Family members and friends trickled in. Her stress level increased when the doctor told her the situation didn’t look good. Jeff still didn’t have a heartbeat. She was told had he not been 39 years old they would have stopped trying to resuscitate him. A lack of oxygen to his brain was another concern.
Erica’s close friend Allyson said “No! We won’t accept this!” and started praying. Others with her began praying, asking God for a miracle.
Thirty minutes later, Erica received some good news — Jeff had a heartbeat. He was transferred to critical care where his body was cooled in an effort to prevent further damage to his brain.
More struggles followed. The next day, Jeff’s potassium level was critically low and his kidneys and liver may have suffered irreparable damage. His kidneys shut down. He coded and then was stabilized. Doctors did not anticipate a recovery.
On Feb. 16, 2011, medical attention — and prayers — continued. After Jeff’s temperature returned to 98.6, a nurse told Erica she could talk to her husband. Jeff responded to her voice and tried to open his eyes.
On Feb. 17, 2011, test results showed Jeff had no brain damage. He was able to draw a dot and was making a hand motion as he asked for music. He listened to the first two songs from Hillsong’s “Beautiful Exchange.” As they played, his blood pressure leveled out.
The next day, Jeff began breathing on his own. The day after that he got out of bed into a recliner.
Three days later, Jeff walked with a walker. In antoher three days, he walked without it. Before the end of that month, he no longer required dialysis.
On March 2, 2011, Jeff was released from the hospital.
Couple recalls fateful Valentine's Day
On Feb. 14, 2011, the lives of Jeff and Erica Buchanan changed forever.
- Local News
Edmond church to host free eye clinic
An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.
July could be coolest in weather record books
With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.
Downtown Master Plan accepted by council
The 2014 Downtown Master Plan Study was accepted by a 3-0 vote Tuesday evening by the Edmond City Council.
Fort Worth-based consulting group Freese and Nichols presented their final update to the 1998 Downtown Master Plan. The city hired the group at a cost of $300,000 to make recommendations for future development of Broadway in the central business district.
“There are clearly some short-term (parking) options that we feel should move forward,” said Cody Richardson, of Freese and Nichols consultants of Fort Worth. “Better signage at existing parking lots.”
UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies
A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.
Lambrecht Construction to build office
The commercial site plan of a physician’s office was approved recently by the Edmond Planning Commission by a vote of 4-0.
Lambrecht Construction plans to build the office at 3917 E. Covell Road in the Fairfax Business Office, north of Covell and west of Sooner Road, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
More cameras monitoring Edmond motorists
The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
Shootout of a sale
An original article of the Wild West will be made available at auction Thursday. The rifle of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp will be part of the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal’s Summer Quarterly Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Earp was an Arizona deputy sheriff and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Ariz. He is legendary for playing a key role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He died in 1929 at age 80.
Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house
UCO forensic researcher answers key question
After working a few human recovery cases on a volunteer basis with a variety of police departments, a question kept bugging Kama King.
“You spend the whole day,” the UCO W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute student said, “sometimes days, searching for someone and only find a skull or a few bones and it just ate at me. Are we not finding this or is it not there to be found?”
Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.
Peace through Business empowering women entrepreneurs
Peace Through Business is part of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) based in Oklahoma City. It is a program that connects small business entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda with business owners in Oklahoma. One such entrepreneur found out about the program from a friend, applied, and was accepted to take part in this year’s session.
Upon earning a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Universite de Sciences et Technique de Lille in Belgium, Lyliose Nduhungirehe began her career working for a construction company in Brussels, but she quickly switched paths to Information Technology.
- More Local News Headlines
- Edmond church to host free eye clinic