Augusta general manager Nick Brown is not particularly upset about missing the Winter Meetings last week in Indianapolis. He’s just happy to be alive.
Brown spent eight days in early November at a local Augusta hospital, including four in a medically induced coma, after a case of the H1N1 Virus resulted in him contracting double pneumonia in his lungs. The otherwise healthy 39-year-old Brown did not realize how dire his situation was until he was released from the hospital on Nov. 16.
"My doctor asked me when I was being released if I know the phrase ‘even money,’ " Brown said. "I told him I did. The doctor then said, ‘Well, last Wednesday (when Brown was put in a coma on Nov. 11) I wouldn’t have given you even money to survive."
Brown had never been admitted to a hospital before — "I never even had a stitch before," he said. But in early November he went to an urgent care facility, which misdiagnosed his H1N1 as strep throat. A week later, Brown checked himself into the hospital and was promptly placed in intensive care. His breathing got so low two days later that he was induced into a coma and placed on a breathing respirator in order for doctors to clear his lungs of fluid.
"The good thing, from my perspective, was that the doctors never informed me of how bad it was, but my wife and family members knew. I was kept in the dark, which was a good thing because I don’t know how I would have handled that . . . It was a very humbling experience. from being in the hospital because you are so dependent on others, to the outcry from family, friends and co-workers."
Brown’s friends and family certainly realized the seriousness of the situation. Jeff Eiseman, executive vice president of Ripken Baseball (Augusta’s ownership group) flew down from Maryland the week Brown was ill. He was able to sneak into Brown’s hospital room by posing as his brother in-law, and was on hand to comfort and assist Brown’s wife and family.
"The Ripken Baseball family showed me a lot of concern and caring and love," Brown said. "For my boss to show up and fly down says a lot."
Brown returned to work full time on Dec. 1. He said he is frequently tired and has trouble returning to a normal sleep schedule—a result of his four-day coma.
A trip to Indianapolis, where temperatures rarely reached freezing during the Winter Meetings, was ruled out of the question—both by his doctor and his wife, Stacey. "My wife would have beaten me senseless if I went," Brown joked.
Brown says he had some making up to do at home anyway. For the day he was admitted to the hospital was also the couple’s first wedding anniversary.
"I was talking to a concerned season-ticket holder recently, who told me that I missed four days of my life (being in a coma)," Brown said. "But he didn’t get it. I would much rather miss those four than the next 40."
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