A couple of months before 51-year-old Brantley George Gubler entered the hospital in late June, he started having stomach pains.
As his wife Angela remembered what happened to the love of her life today, her voice quavered and she fought back tears.
“The pains would go away, so he didn’t think too much about them,” she said. “He was always extremely healthy so it didn’t seem like a big thing.”
But the pains got bad enough to where the Bargain Pawn Shop salesman had tests run by his family doctor.
And then, about a week later, on June 25, the day he went to pick up the lab results from his doctor’s office, he felt miserable.
“No wonder,” Angela Gubler said. “The doctor looked at the labs and said his white blood cell count was so low that he didn’t know how my husband was even walking. He put him on oxygen, called an ambulance and had him taken to St. Rose (Dominican Hospital, Siena campus) immediately.”
On Friday, Gubler died.
Though Dr. Lawrence Sands, head of the Southern Nevada Health District, did not give out Gubler’s name at a press conference Monday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal learned that the 51-year-old man Sands spoke of as the second Clark County resident to die an H1N1- or swine flu-related death was Angela Gubler’s husband.
Sands described the deceased as having “an underlying medical condition.”
“We found out he had leukemia when he was in the hospital,” Angela Gubler said. “We had no idea. It was such a shock.”
Even though he was on a ventilator almost from the day he entered the hospital, Brantley Gubler told his family how much he loved them.
“He could still write for a while,” said his wife, a sixth-grade teacher at Silvestri Middle School.
Each day his fever rose and his health worsened. Pneumonia settled in. His immune system was shot. The best efforts of doctors and nurses couldn’t keep death away.
“The doctors and nurses were phenomenal,” Angela said, “but the Lord needed my husband now.”
Faith — the Gubler family belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — “is getting us through this,” she said.
Angela Schumacher met Brantley Gubler at Sam’s Town 24 years ago. He asked her to dance. Three months later, they were married.
“He’s been my world ever since then,” she said.
They had four children together, three girls and a boy.
July 1 was Brantley George Gubler II’s birthday.
“That was so hard for my son — it was his 16th birthday,” Angela sobbed. “My husband would always take him hunting deer.”
In August, Kelsey, the Gublers’ 21-year-old daughter, is scheduled to go on a mission to Brazil for her church.
At their church, as well as at home, Brantley Gubler sang with the soul of a man in love with life, his wife said.
“He had a beautiful tenor,” she said. “At church he loved the hymns. And at home he sang country and songs he would just make up.”
When she met her husband, he delivered produce. He also had worked for Clark County, taught gun safety classes and sold souvenirs. A year ago, he began selling guns at Bargain Pawn in North Las Vegas.
“He had a zest for life,” his wife said of the man who taught family and friends to rappel off mountains.
“He’d be up at Red Rock rappelling,” she said. “My son started rappelling at 2.”
When Sands announced Monday that a 51-year-old man was the second county resident to suffer a death related to H1N1, he also noted that two patients with the virus are hospitalized and in serious condition. Another is hospitalized but improving.
He added that there are another seven patients who are hospitalized with what is believed to be H1N1, but test results are pending.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million Americans have contracted the disease. Most people have such mild cases that they never even go to the doctor.
Angela Gubler isn’t listening to people talk about the flu right now.
“I can hear my husband singing,” she said.
Contact reporter Paul Harasim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2908.