The hours, the minutes, the days drag slowly at Primary Children's Medical Center for family and friends of Blake Dye.
Blake, who has been excitedly awaiting his 6th birthday July 24, remained unconscious and in critical but stable condition Thursday at the hospital, where he is being treated for head injuries suffered last Sunday when he was struck by lightning during a family reunion near Huntington, Emery County.The youngster's cousin, Zachary, 5, of Bennion, who also was knocked unconscious and who received a small burn on his right leg from the lightning bolt, was released from the same hospital Monday.
"It'll be the greatest thing if Blake just wakes up and is able to talk," said his grandmother, Laurine Kingston, Salt Lake City, who was credited by other family members with efforts to save her grandson's life.
Blake, who completed kindergarten in May, is the son of Denzil and Joyce Dye of Huntington, Emery County. Zachary's parents are Perry and Diane Dye. Denzil and Perry are brothers, and their wives are sisters.
The two Dye families and about 40 other family members had gathered for a reunion at Old Folks Flat Campground in Huntington Canyon when a thunderstorm hit the area. The campground is about 20 miles from Huntington.
Denzil, Perry and some other family members were fishing about a mile away from the campground when rain and lightning moved across the area. Other family members, including the two boys' mothers, Kingston and other relatives, were visiting in the campground.
As the storm hit, Zachary, Blake and Zachary's cocker spaniel, Abby, took cover under a pine tree, where the boys were attempting to comfort the dog. Lightning hit the tree, raced down the trunk and struck the two boys, who were injured when a "fireball of lightning hit, throwing them about two feet in the air and sending out a puff of smoke or dust."
The lightning strike was "the loudest boom I've ever heard. It stunned everyone. Pine cones and needles came out of the tree like it was raining," said Diane Dye, who turned around from about 50 feet away to see the two boys lying on the ground.
The boys had a plethora of trained medical personnel on hand. Diane Dye is a licensed practical nurse, Kingston is a Hospice volunteer who just a month ago was recertified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques. Also present was Michelle Taylor, a medical technologist and cousin of the two boys and Dan Van Wagoner, Huntington, from an adjoining campground, all rushed to the aid of the boys, whose limp bodies lay on ground.
The women and men immediately began lifesaving efforts on the youngsters, who were separated only by the dog when the lightning hit.
"What I saw was power from a family unit working together in harmony. Everybody worked together almost like they had rehearsed it. It was the grandmother (Kingston) who saved the little boy's (Blake's) life. She breathed life back into his body. It was because of her gift, her talents and the efforts of everybody there that he is still alive," said Rowenna Erickson, Bennion, a great-aunt of Blake and Zachary.
Erickson said Kingston and Zachary's mother must have reached the boys in 30 seconds. As Kingston ran to them she noticed Zachary's leg move, realizing his body perhaps still had more life than Blake's.
"Blake was not moving so she started CPR on him while someone else grabbed Zachary, whose mother started to get him breathing again," Erickson recalled.
She said Kingston's son, Grant, ran to a nearby coal mine to call for help. An emergency medical technician and an ambulance arrived about 30-45 minutes later from Huntington.
Diane Dye, who is employed at a Salt Lake clinic, said her own son's mouth and teeth were clinched so tight that mouth-to-nose resuscitation was required.
She said she believes Zachary was revived in about 3 to 5 minutes. Kingston said Blake's heart stopped five times while efforts were being made to revive him. Kingston didn't tell about her own efforts; it was other family members who recounted the experience later.
At Castleview Hospital, Price, where the boys were first taken, some metal keys were found in a pocket of Zachary's jeans. The keys were marred by burn marks.
Zachary "seems to be fine so far. He remembers (the lighting strike) and talks about it every now and then. Time will tell," his mother said.
"He says he saw the sunlight come through and hit Blake,"
The youngster's dog, also hit by the bolt, received burns around its collar and was taken to a veterinarian for treatment.
Denzil Dye said Wednesday he is encouraged by medical reports received from doctors at the hospital.
"It's very serious and critical, but X-rays (a CT scan) are looking good. So it is encouraging," said the father, who expressed appreciation for support of family and friends.
Two bouquets of balloons from friends and a neighbor were among gifts decorating the bedside of Blake, a strong, brown-haired youngster, at the hospital.
Denzil Dye, who held his wife and son, Clint, 8, close to him while pictures were taken at the hospital
Thursday, said he is grateful for the efforts of Kingston and others.
"Without her, I don't think I would still have my boy," he said, with signs of hope in his voice.
Blake's sister, Cory, 10, said the lighting strike "kind of knocked me. It pushed me up like I was jumping."