Thursday, November 15, 2007

Show's on Hold at the Big Top

Sandra had just finished helping me with my shower. I was exhausted and was looking forward to settling down for a nap. I'd barely sat down on the couch when the phone rang. It was the hospital. The doctor was calling to tell me mom wasn't doing well. She was doing okay until shortly after 1 o'clock. They were planning on taking her to the OR at 1:30 to put in the Pleur-X catheter. For some reason, the oxygen levels in her blood started to drop and wouldn't rebound. They were having to use a lot of forced pressure to get the air into her lungs. They did the procedure at the bedside instead because they didn't think she was strong enough to travel to the OR. They had some difficulty getting the catheter in, but they said that the fluid 'spewed' out of her with such great force, they couldn't believe it. We arrived shortly after they finished and they were getting the chest X-ray. She looked really bad, but I'd learned from her nurse they'd given her a lot of morphine and ativan which just completely knocks her for a loop.

She opened her eyes for a quick moment and squeezed my hand before nodding off again. The doctor had stepped down to the ER before we'd arrived, but came back to her room after a while. He was very concerned about the amount of pressure needed to ventilate her lungs. It was still very high, but had come down from the high number it had been earlier. He essentially told us that this was probably it; they had done all they could to help her. He added that taking her home was not an option because home vent's can't deliver the amount of force that she needs now to get the air into her lungs. He wanted me to make a decision right then and there to put her on hospice. I asked him if he had told all of this to mom. He said she had been too sedated. I told him I wanted to talk to her before deciding anything.

I went into the room and held her hand. I asked her to open her eyes and listen. She did. I explained what had happened and what they were telling us. I told her she was very sick. And they I repeated to her what I told her weeks ago: I would do what she wanted. If she was too tired and wanted to go, I would let her go. If she wanted to fight, I would tear down the walls and defy anyone to hold me back in fighting for her. I then asked, "do you want to still fight?" With less hesitation in answering any question I've asked her in the last week, she nodded 'yes.'

I walked out of her room and found the doctor. I told him what I'd done and her answer. I explained that I've been with her throughout this and based on what I've seen, her body doesn't handle insult very well initially, but that in a day or two, she tends to bounce back. She pulls from reserves that no one had any idea that she has. She wants to fight and I must follow my gut, despite the doctor urging me to let her go. If things don't change in a day or two, we'll revisit things. But for now, fight mommy. Fight!


Anonymous said...

Oh Stephanie! Your mother is an amazing woman... and so are you!!!!! Saying extra prayers tonight for you both.

Monica and Will

dpapathakis said...

You guys have such a beautiful family. Such strength :) I am sending love and angels to you and your special momma. Love, Denise

Anonymous said...

Stephanie Dear:
Wow, the rollercoaster ride continues, bless your hearts. Carolyn is truly amazing, such an inspiration to everyone fortunate enough to know her. The strength you both have shown throughout your ordeal(s) is just mind blowing. May God continue to bless and comfort all of you.
Love from Charleston,
The Shannons