Ailing comedian returning home

After a close call with death, Jay Sierra is returning home to Sequim - possibly by the time this article appears.

Sierra, a 33-year-old well-known comedian, was admitted to Harborview Medical Center on April 16 - more than 70 days ago - with pancreatitis. He was placed in the intensive care unit, medically sedated, and on dialysis for weeks.

A feeding tube slowly supplied the nutrients Sierra needed to live, nothing more, resulting in the steady loss of about 1 pound per day for the first month.

Once his breathing tube was removed, a tracheotomy was put in place, and Sierra was awakened from the medically induced coma. After he beame stable, Sierra was moved to a regular room to focus on long-term recovery - the grueling process of learning to talk and eat again.

Now, much to his friends' and family's delight, Sierra will continue his recovery at a nursing facility in Sequim.

"I'm getting better," Sierra said quietly and carefully over the phone.

"I can't wait to go home."

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The disease can be spurred on by gallstones, heavy alcohol use, medications, infection, trauma, metabolic disorders and surgery.

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

A fund is in place at First Federal bank to help the family with medical and living expenses. Donations can be made at any First Federal branch.

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