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Sequim comedian hospitalized

Shonda Sierra takes her wedding vows very seriously.

Which is why she plans to stay by her husband's bedside at Harborview Medical Center until he fully recovers from a recent bout with pancreatitis.

Jay Sierra, a well-known Sequim comedian, was admitted to the hospital on April 16.

Sierra, 36, is in the intensive care unit and medically sedated. Because of the disease, his kidneys, gallbladder and liver aren't functioning correctly, and he's on dialysis.

A feeding tube delivers Sierra the nutrients he needs to live slowly and not overwork the pancreas.

A week ago, doctors didn't know if Sierra would live or die, Shonda said.

Now they predict he'll spend at least two more weeks in the ICU before moving to a regular room to focus on long-term recovery.

All of that could change in a moment's notice.

This week doctors plan to take out Sierra's breathing tube and perform a tracheotomy - a step in the right direction, according to Shonda.

As Sierra starts to wake up from the medically induced coma, he will have to learn to talk and eat again.

"As his pancreas heals, hopefully everything else will too," Shonda said.

"The kidney specialist is optimistic that his kidneys will regain full function."

Sierra suffered an episode with pancreatitis five years ago that landed him in the hospital for nine weeks but it wasn't nearly as bad as this time around, Shonda said.

"He's lost a lot of weight... I'd say about 35 pounds so far," she said.

"He's going to be a different man when he leaves here."

The family is taking each day as it comes.

"Today was fabulous but who knows what tomorrow will bring," Shonda said.

"We are crossing our fingers that he's on the road to recovery."

Once Sierra is strong enough, surgery might be necessary to repair the damage to his pancreas.

Sierra performs comedy shows on the peninsula and in the Seattle and Tacoma areas. He participates regularly in community theater events.

To see clips of him on stage, go online to www.myspace.com/flippinmexirican.

Sierra also works at Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill.

Shonda works at Costco but is taking leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act. The bill secures her job for 12 work weeks without pay.

The couple has four children, aged 6, 9, 10 and 15. The children are staying with their maternal grandmother while Shonda stays by Sierra's side.

A fund has been established at First Federal bank to help the family with medical and living expenses. Donations can be made at any First Federal branch.

Send cards to Jay Sierra in room 202, c/o Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave., Seattle, WA, 98104.



Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@sequim gazette.com.

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