Sunday, March 25, 2001
The day started out great, Brenda and I were joking around with Mom. I had my big red bubble gum just waiting for her to get better. And Brenda felt she really needed to get out of bed and into a chair.
When we moved her to the chair, she even gave us all a stern look and then tossled herself into the chair. She was alert and aware of what we were doing.
Our little enjoyment did not last long though, several hours later, Mom’s saturation level dropped below 85. 85 is the cutoff where they need to get respiratory help. They came in and put her on a B-Pap (I think). Brenda got Cindy on the phone and the two of them worked as a team to ensure proper treatment for critical medication, one at 5 and the other at 13 (don’t ask what they mean). Mom’s saturation level should stay at 92% unless being given breathing treatments. The B-Pap is exactly this I think, so I wasn’t too surprised at levels reaching 98. But those levels subsided quickly to levels down in the low 80s. This lasted for five or ten minutes, at which they said we need to decide if the Life Support ventilator should be used.
We had a quick gathering of everyone there, and we even had Cindy on the phone. The unanimous decision was to not start the same treatment we had last week. Cindy wanted to come back out as quickly as possible. So Vicki worked her magic and got her on the 7:30 flight from Indianapolis arriving in Phoenix at 10:30AM.
They left Mom on the B-Pap and her levels went down to the high 70s. These levels are sure to cause irreparable damage, and the B-Pap did not seem to be helping, so we made the extremely tough decision to remove all the equipment, except her feeding tube.
With everything removed except the 3 liters of oxygen, we expected the worse. We all cried, for a very long time… We played her CD…
We had a priest come down and anoint her with oil once again. Father Dan led us in the rosary and we all prayed for Mom. As we had done a few days past, when asked for God’s help he came through. Mom’s levels shot back to 90% all on her own breathing with nasal oxygen ventilation. She seemed to be holding strong and steady.
Monday, March 26, 2001
Monday started at 12 AM and most of us did not leave. Room 343-b was completely full and the nurse’s were extremely supportive. We would dose for 5-10 minutes and then look at the readings, no difference still at 87. And towards 2AM, the breathing treatments no longer helped, but the nurse tried to suction the secretion out, and was able to get a lot out. Her levels shot back up to 90%. The suctions had helped tremendously. They were still doing breathing treatments.
It’s all a blur now, and probably won’t get much better, but she turned for tbe worse and her levels stayed at 80-85% for over an hour. After a breathing treatment which did not help and extremities that appeared blue, the RT suggested Comfort-Care. This is where you try and prevent secretions and keep the tissue from being damaged. It was decided to take Mom on this route and put her on 10Liters oxygen with an NPR mask. We all cried again…
On the Comfort-Care mask mom was staying saturated at 94% oxygen, but what you couldn’t see was the CO2 left in her lungs after every breathe. She had not blinked or winked since noon on Sunday. No idea whether she was still with us.
Cindy joined us around 11AM, couldn’t believe I had not even left the hospital and she had gotten on a flight in Indianapolis, and made it to Phoenix already. Vicki works wonders with tickets.
By this point, it was clear that Mom was not returning. Cindy said her goodbyes and regrets, just like the rest of us several hours earlier.
We had been playing Mom’s CD all night.
Mom seemed to have stabilized at 90-92% saturation level. Which would be good unless you are retaining CO2, which she probably was. Mom’s O2 seemed stable at 92% so several people went home.
At about 4PM, Brenda shined a light in Mom’s eyes, but no constriction occurred. This, I believe, means the person’s brain is not functioning as expected. At this point, Mom was gone. No brain activity, so a lot of what was happening was natural reflex.
At 5:15PM Chris walks in with a tray load of juices and cookies. He said he thought we had too much caffeine from the night before so he wanted to see us drinking juices. And it was good. He had bought some cookies. He went into this long story about how he had scared Cindy with some monkey puppets. It was hilarious. Even Donna was rolling in the aisles. Well, this must have been the blessed moment when Mom decided to leave us, cause we looked over in her directions after Chris was finished, and sure ’nuff. Mom stopped breathing right at that instant.
To many she was a loving Mother, to one she was a loving wife, but first she was a sister to nine other siblings. God, please find a special place for our mother/wife/sister. We will miss her dearly.