Sunday, November 29, 2009


A memorial service for Bill will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, December 12 in Chicago. We will post further details (location & time) as we have them.

In early spring we will have a memorial in Carbondale followed by the spreading of his ashes.

For both Chicago and Carbondale we hope that some of Bill's friends might like to play some music - please let us know.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sad News

Dear friends of Bill,

On Wednesday, November 25, we had to let Bill go. He died peacefully, surrounded by people who loved him very much.

Thank you all for your caring and concern during these difficult weeks. We are planning a memorial service and will publish the specifics here once we have them.

Bill's family

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Over and Out

Now that Billy is through the operation, we're going to let him pick up handling his own PR when he feels like doing it. Probably the best way to be notified of new activity is to subscribe to the blog - you'll get an email when there's an update. If anyone needs to get in touch before then, you can reach me at

We have loved hearing from all of you and are very thankful for all of the support we've been getting from all of Bill's loved ones. Thank you from the whole family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

He's out!

The surgeon just came down to say Bill made it through like a champ!

tuesday morning update

hi friends and family -

bill went in for open-heart surgery about half an hour ago. sorry for the break in posting and thanks for sending notes - we've been reading them to him. please keep him in your thoughts today. the surgery will be very long, so don't look for any updates until at least the end of the day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Music Request Fulfilled

Thanks everyone - we have a couple of ipods on the way in so we'll be fully stocked with music for now.

That skinny little kid

Thursday Morning Update

We're really trying not to get too excited - these are tiny baby steps - but this morning Bill reacted to discomfort by moving his arms. That's a change from yesterday and the doctors are very happy to see it (as are we). We're talking to him and touching him and encouraging him to wake up.

A request: does anyone have an mp3 player with some of Bill's favorite music on it that they could drop off at the hospital? We've been playing what we have, but it would be great to be playing him what he likes.

Pics of uncle Billy

We love you, uncle Billy !

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


We miss you, Bill. Come back and rock out.

Wednesday Update

Bill hasn't yet responded neurologically, but the heart failure team, who is running the show, say it will be a few days before we really can draw conclusions from that. Please keep sending your positive thoughts.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some Photos

Evening Update - Tuesday

Bill's still holding steady on the tandem pump. The neuro team will be doing some tests in the next day or so, to get a sense of his brain function. We're hoping for good news there, and still looking for signs that he is regaining some kidney function. Basically he's about where he was this morning, which is better than backsliding. Bill's sister (Brooke), stepmother (Lisa), sister-in-law (Cris), and niece (Sophia, pictured) will all be arriving tonight and tomorrow.

There has been a deluge of photos, so I'll try to post some of those in the next couple of hours.


Good talk with the docs this morning. In the words of the intern who was here on Saturday night, "he's still here three days later. That's HUGE." The cardiac fellow added that the data on how well the pump is doing its job are "great." Our next big goal is to get his kidneys back in the action. We're hoping that will happen over the next couple of days. So, you know, drink a little water, and think of Bill.

In celebration of Bill's persistence in bouncing back, here are some recent photos from the Diet Christ reunion show in Carbondale, courtesy of James and Patrick.

Some Photos of Billy William

We Love you So Much Billy!

Night Shift

The pump is doing a great job. Bill had to be put back on dialysis, but overall right now we're pretty happy he's stable and blood is profusing in his body the way it needs to be. The nurse has not had to increase his sedation, which is good, and his respiratory activity is also good. We'll talk to the cardio team in the morning to get a better idea of how he's doing overall and what happens next.

We've been reading your messages to Bill - thank you so much for posting them.

It would be great to have a picture of Bill rocking out on his guitar (or bass, or harmonium, or whatever) - does anyone have one of those? If you do, please send it to and I'll put it up here. In the meantime, here are a few more from the archives.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tandem Pump Installed

The tandem pump has been successfully installed and Bill is back in the CCU. Now we will be waiting to see how his organs respond to having the machine helping pump for him. Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers.

Another tidbit

We'll try not to overwhelm you with posts, but we wanted to share some more good news: Bill did have a reflexive response when the doctors started lifting him out of his medically paralyzed state: he coughed and has had some facial movement and is wiggling his toes a bit. All very welcome signs. He's still heavily sedated, so we won't expect him to be interacting anytime soon, but we're happy he's responding to stimuli.

He's now getting that tandem pump put in, so we won't have any more substantive updates for at least an hour while if all goes well.

Such a talented young man, and so handsome!

Bill had a bunch of old family photos on his phone and we think this one is pretty cute.

Monday Morning Update

Hello, friends of Bill Hartley! Due to the overwhelming amount of concern for and interest in Bill's recovery, we decided it made sense to put updates on a blog where you all can check in at your leisure. Please feel free to comment on posts - we'll pass along all of your messages to Bill.

The background: Bill called for an ambulance at 2 AM on Saturday (Oct. 31). The ambulance took him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Shortly after he arrived he lost consciousness and had to be intubated for help breathing. Within a few hours they had found blockages in his left anterior descending and right coronary artery, which they were able to partially clear and support with three stents and a balloon pump to help his heart pump.

They moved him to the cardiac care unit and got back test results indicating that his heart attack had been massive, with a lot of damage to the heart resulting. Saturday night he was in terrible shape - his lungs were full of fluid, his blood pressure was very low despite being on maximum dosages of medication, and we were being prepared for the worst. Around 1 AM, his heart began to beat erratically, without actually providing a pulse, so the doctors had to do chest compressions and administer electrical shocks and more medication to knock his heart into the right rhythm. We were very lucky to be at Northwestern, in the CCU, when this happened - the room was instantly full of specialists and they were able to respond to the situation incredibly quickly, which is important, because it lessens the chance that there was significant further damage during that time. After that they were concerned that his heart might do the same thing again, as often happens in these cases, but we were lucky - it has now been about 36 hours since it happened and his heart has maintained a steady rhythm. The next day they started him on a number of other fairly aggressive treatments. One, called Arctic Sun, lowers his body temperature to about 90 degrees to allow his heart and brain time to relax and regenerate while his metabolism is slowed. They were worried that his blood pressure would drop and they would have to discontinue the therapy, but he held steady overnight and this morning they started warming him up. His lungs are also clearer now, which is good news.

Unfortunately, we got some bad news this morning as well: his heart function has decreased somewhat over the course of the last day, which is affecting his kidney and liver function (and they have already been damaged by the original heart attack), and they think that the balloon pump they installed on Saturday morning isn't enough. The next step is what is called a tandem pump, an external pump that will help his heart get blood to the necessary organs to allow them to recover, and take some pressure off the heart. The procedure is not terribly invasive, and they will be beginning it an hour or less from now.

Our good news for today is that we learned that Bill was at least somewhat conscious when he came to the ER, and that the amount of time his heart was in distress that one terrible night in the hospital was limited, so the doctors are somewhat optimistic about the degree of any neurological damage. That has been a huge concern for us and we're very grateful for that new information.

Bill's condition continues to be somewhere in the stable critical range, and he is in no way out of the woods, but his track record so far is pretty amazing - he's done much better than the doctors thought he would the night he had to have his heart re-started. We just keep hoping he will keep defying expectations, and we are very grateful for the crack team at Northwestern who are helping him to do that.

We will try to update this blog when we have new news. Since Bill is not conscious and we can only have two people in the room at once, we are asking that friends send their good wishes and love from the comfort of their own homes for the time being. He will be delighted to have you all visit when he's ready for visitors, and we'll let you know when that is. In the meantime, please play or listen to some awesome music on his behalf. And quit smoking, okay? It's bad for you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from Bill's family.