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My Mom Has Suffered a Catastrophic Cerebral Hemorrhage

Last night, just three or four minutes before going on the air with my radio show, I got a phone call at home from a friend of my mother's named Terri who lives near her in Pennsylvania.   Terri said that my mom had called her because she wasn't feeling well, and  asked Terri and her husband to come over right away. . . .

When Terri and her husband Don arrived, the house was locked.  Lights were on, but no one was answering the door.   My mom's car was in its regular parking space.

They called my moms house via cellphone . . . no answer.

So they pried the front door open and entered.  They found my mom, face down on the bathroom floor, unable to move or speak coherently.   From what they saw, it appeared to them my mom was having a stroke.

They called 911 and an ambulance and paramedics were on the way.

Hearing this, I knew I could not do my live show, so I let the intro run - playing the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and then Stars and Stripes FOrever to celebrate the verdict.   When that song was done, I told my audience what had happened just a few minutes earlier.  I explained that I could not do the live show and had to leave my home in New Jersey to drive three hours to my mom's house in Pennsylvania.  I told them I would play music for the rest of the show.

My son and I high-tailed it up to Pennsylvania.  On the way, we got a call that my mom was being taken to a particular hospital and to meet there.

We arrived and when I went to the Emergency Room Desk to inquire about my mom, the woman at the desk told me to sit down and wait a few minutes because . . .  get this . . . "The Chaplain is coming down."

Oh shit.  The Chaplain?

 Within a few minutes, the Chaplain came out and took me back to speak to the two neuro-surgeons who looked at my mom.   Here's what they told me:

Mom had suffered a massive, catastrophic bleed in her brain.   They said that most people who suffer a bleed that big, don't even make it to the hospital, but my mom did.

They went on to show me the CT scan images of her brain.   

The first image was looking from the top down, and there were two massive white patches which they told me was leaked, clotted blood.  Probably the size of a tennis ball on the left, and maybe the size of a golf ball on the right.

But, they told me, there were NOT two separate bleeds.  The left had bled so much, it filled the ventricle cavity between the left and right lobes of her brain, then overflowed onto the right side.

Next, they showed me a side view, which showed more white patches of blood going all the way down her brain stem in the rear.

They told me that a person who has this kind of bleed "does not survive."

They went on to say that if we thought there was any chance of saving her, the surgery would have to be done at a different hospital, down in Wilkes Barre, because that's where vascular surgeries are done.  They cautioned, however, that such a surgery would likely kill my mom, and then the worst part:

IF SHE SURVIVED THE SURGERY, THERE IS SO MUCH DAMAGE TO HER BRAIN THAT SHE WOULD LIKELY NEED A TRACHEA TUbE/RESPIRATOR MACHINE TO BREATHE, FOOD TUBES TO EAT, AND WOULD BE BED RIDDEN FOREVER.

My mom would never want to live like that.  

They further explained that they put my mom on a ventilator because she is not breathing on her own.  The machine is set to allow her to do so, but she is not doing so.

Then, they asked: If your mom goes into cardiac arrest, what do you want us to do?

Oh good God in Heaven.

................................. ........................ I am not God.  Who the hell am I to decide?

What if I decide, and I'm wrong?  Will I have KILLED my own mother?

My mind is reeling.

They took me in to see her, and her body is twitching.  Her eyes are closed, but when we lift her eyelids up, her pupils are fixed and unreactive.  She showed no sign of knowing we were even there.

Docs say the twitching is from what's left of the brain stem, sending sporadic signals to her body.

They then asked me again, what I wanted done?

I was crying so hard.  My son was crying.  This is the most devastating thing ever.

I love my mom.   I don't want to lose her.  But what I saw was not my mom.  Lifeless eyes, no response to my touch of her hand.

I told the Docs I needed time to figure this all out.  I told them to leave the breathing tube in (they suggested removing it but I said No), but if she codes . . . let nature take its course.

They took that to be a Do Not Resuscitate Directive.

I don't know what to do.

If we do nothing, the bleeding will continue.  The skull does not swell.   And the leaking blood cannot be compressed.  That leaves the brain itself as the only thing to be crushed by the pressure build up in the skull.

If I ask them to perform the surgery (and they might decide not to) it will probably kill her.

If they perform the surgery and she survives, they believe she will be a vegetable.

Oh Holy God in Heaven, what should I do?

My son and I are now back at my mom's house.  We'll sleep here tonight and head back to the hospital in the morning.

4:17 AM

 

Hal

 

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