COLLINS —“Woooo!!” hollered 54-year-old Mickey Doolan after three teenagers were baptized in early October at Coon Creek Baptist Church.
“He yells like that for every joyful occasion,” said Jon Caudle, pastor at Coon Creek. “Despite everything he has been through, he’s still the same ol’ Mickey.”
Doolan, who said he has had good health most of his life, started having medical issues about a year and a half ago when his heart went into ventricular tachycardia (V-tach), or a fast heart rhythm that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart. As a result, the doctors implanted Doolan with a cardioverter-defibrillator, a device programmed to detect cardiac arrhythmia and correct it by delivering a jolt of electricity.
Doolan said once the device was in place, he didn’t have any more heart problems. He continued to live life normally, singing baritone in the church choir, helping with Team Kid and participating in the church Witnessing Team’s weekly “Grow” meals. On June 2 everything changed.
“The doctor had said I would know it if the defibrillator went off because it would feel like a kick in the chest by a mule,” Doolan said. “That was the perfect description of what it felt like. And when it went off three more times, I knew it was time to call the ambulance.”
Doolan said he remembers being loaded in the helicopter and waving to his brother, Kelly Doolan, and his wife, who would soon follow him to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
“After that they either gave me something to sedate me or I passed out,” he said. “I don’t know which.”
Doolan later found out that he was suffering from a severe staph infection at the site of his internal defibrillator. He spent 34 days in a medically-induced coma.
“My sister-in-law, Kathy, said at one time there were 19 different wires or tubes connected to me,” Doolan said.
Caudle said while he was in the coma, Doolan’s condition rapidly deteriorated. He even reached a point where he might have died if not for the breathing machine.
“He was in that condition for more than a month but we just continued to pray for him,” Caudle said. “Actually his condition got to the point where doctors were discussing whether to just unhook everything or not. Mickey had told his family to keep him alive as long as possible so they didn’t unhook things. Then, the doctors felt like his oxygen level was so low that he would undoubtedly have a great deal of brain damage.”
So, after more than five weeks in a coma, the doctors gradually took off Doolan’s oxygen to see if he would be able to breathe on his own.
“Instead of dying like everyone expected he suddenly began to improve,” Caudle said. “Then, amazing everybody, Mickey began to improve significantly.”
Though he is still going through rehabilitation and physical therapy programs in a local nursing home, Doolan is positive he will make a full recovery and has even been able to attend his home church, Coon Creek, each Sunday.
“It’s so humbling to think about so many prayers sent out for me,” Doolan said. “They were all praying for me. My church family, my friends, and even my little nieces had their Vacation Bible School kids praying for me. The whole town of Collins and surrounding areas were all praying for me. It’s an awesome feeling and I appreciate it so much.”
Kayla Rinker/contributing writer