They ended up having to intubate her to make sure she continued to breathe.
By the time she was air flighted out, it was around 7 AM. We all went home to pack our things and head to the hospital. I went back to bed with my husband and son for an hour or so. When we woke we got Harrison breakfast, us coffee, packed our stuff, and finally headed to the hospital.
Two hours later, we arrived. My husband dropped me off at the hospital and took my son to his grandparents to stay there for awhile. When I got there we had finally found out what she had the whole time – pneumonia! They began her on antibiotics, and told us to be prepared to a long and bumpy road ahead; because recovery for pneumonia is apparently this way. My husband and I got a hotel room for the week. Not much progress had been made within the week that we stayed.
Her lungs were not draining fluid and were continuing to fill up. It was a mystery to all of us, including the doctors. They suspected that it was because her kidney was not functioning. Thus, they decided to proceed with dialysis. Every time they would do a dialysis treatment, she would output anywhere from 1 – 3 liters of fluid! This seemed to be helping her get fluid from her lungs. The doctors next quest was to get the intubator out; because if they do not get the intubator out within 10 days (give or take), then the individual must have a tracheotomy put in to continue to help them breathe.
Around the 12th day of the hospital stay, they were able to fully wean her off the intubator and remove it. She went almost 3 days without it and things were finally looking up – we could see the road ahead. Sometime during the night of the 14th day, she had gone into severe respiratory distress once again. At this point, they had to re-intubate. Shortly after that, they noticed that something was wrong with her heart. They took her to have it checked out and came back shortly after with not-so-good-news.
At this time, my husband, son, and I had gone home because we were not beneficial there, and needed to go back to work for a few days. My step dad had come home for a few days as well, and his twin sister (who is a nurse) stayed with mom. We got the call from his sister saying that she had probably had a severe heart attack and we needed to get there now. Once again we packed up our bags and headed out.
But this time it was different, in the worst possible way.
I ended up having to call those of my loved ones who were close to notify them to say their goodbyes, if they so wish. This was the longest, and most emotion filled car ride of my life. I couldn’t explain the emotions going through me. I was angry, yet so, so sad. My mom was my best friend. For the first 11 years of my life, it was just me and her. She was the only person on the planet that I could tell anything to, or ask for anything. And I was so young…and so was she. It just wasn’t fair. I felt like I was robbed of something that I didn’t have yet.
Once we arrived, we had many other family members there to say their goodbyes as well. At this time, she was fully on life support with little chance of recovery. The doctors stated that, even if she were to recover, she would be a “cardiac cripple”. She only had 15% of her heart working, and she would never be able to gain back the rest.
After thoroughly discussing our options and mulling over it with family, we had to make that awful decision. We had to remove her from life support and allow her to be free from the worldly pain she was in. It was not long after we made the decision that the nurses unhooked everything that was keeping my mother, my best friend, alive.
They gave her morphine to keep her calm and sedated. To much of our surprise, she was able to stay alive for a great deal of time. We were able to go in to see her, she was unable to talk though (aside from “shhhhh”, and “pray, pray, pray”). So, we talked and prayed, and she listened. She went extremely peacefully to her forever home on October 6th, 2018.
If I would have known that the last time I hugged her would be the last time, then I would have cherished much more. I would have held her a little tighter, and made sure that this memory was embedded into my head forever. But, I didn’t do that. I can honestly say I barely remember saying goodbye that night before she went to the hospital.
She has taught me so much in life, and now I hope everyday that she can also teach me so much in death.
So far, I have learned that nothing in promised. Even though I have heard this my whole life, it doesn’t sink in until it really sinks in. I have learned to cherish the moments that I have with people, because I don’t know if they are going to be my last. I have learned that being present is so much more worth it then trying to plan ahead.
Overall, I am mostly saddened by the fact that she will not be able to watch her grandson (who was the absolute light of her life) grow up. She wont be there to experience his first day of school, or graduation, or marriage, or her great grandchildren. I am saddened by the fact that I no longer have the ability to ask her questions, or feel her comfort like only your mommy can give. I find myself wanting to call her and ask about her day. Only to have reality kick in and realize that it is now impossible. Even though I know she is there, its not the same. It will never be the same. I am angry that I have to live on earth longer without her than I got to with her.
My plan moving forward is to make her proud. To build a home that she would be proud of. To build a family that would be completely in love with. And to continue to build the type of daughter that she aspired for me to be.