Friday, March 23, 2012


We had quite a scare this week after my son's wedding.  His wedding was beautiful and perfect on Monday and we were so pleased with how it went.  However, my mom, who lives in CA, had to fly in for the wedding.  As some of you know from previous posts, she has been having some health problems.  In January, a week after she was here in Texas visiting, she had a brain bleed.  She's been having complications ever since.

She didn't know if her doctor would release her to fly for Josh's wedding, but thankfully he did and so she and her husband came.  They had a terrible time getting here.  Their first flight was cancelled due to weather and their second flight was so late that they missed their connecting flight.  So instead of getting here late Wednesday night they got here Friday night after spending the night in a hotel in San Francisco.  That was a bummer all by itself.

While they were here she noticed swelling in her feet and ankles and shortness of breath.  She called her doctor Monday morning before Josh's wedding.  During the reception her doctor called her back and told her to go to Urgent Care because he was concerned about DVT (deep vein thrombosis).  Urgent Care sent her to Baylor's ER because they didn't have the machine to test for DVT.  So she went to the ER.  While she was there they told her she should not be taking Imitrex for her migraines because of her brain bleed, which her doctor in CA had NOT told her.  They also ruled out DVT and said she was probably suffering from the side effects of the steroid (Dexamethasone) she took for 6 weeks after the brain bleed.  And they released her from the hospital.

So because of what the doc said about Imitrex, she stopped taking it, even though she's been suffering from migraines almost daily.  The ER doc had given her Vicodin to help with the migraines but the following day (this past Tuesday) she had such a terrible headache (after her flight home was also cancelled) and she could not get rid of it.  She ended up back in the ER Tuesday night.  They admitted her because after the CT scan they wanted to do an MRI Wednesday morning.  On Wednesday morning before we left the house to go see her, I called my brother to let him know what was going on.  He was on his way to the airport to catch a flight for a business trip but he decided to skip it and go to the hospital.  My mom's husband had called her before we left to check on her and she was doing fine.  As soon as we got to the hospital I saw the back of my brother from the hallway standing at her bedside.  As I walked into the room and could finally see around him, I saw my mother.

My mother...a woman of strength and beauty.  A woman whose beauty defines her every step and whose strength carries me when I am weak.  A mother is her children's resting place.  Because my words can't express how much I love my mom, here is a poem I found online that describes her perfectly:

Mom, you're a wonderful mother,
So gentle, yet so strong.
The many ways you show you care
Always make me feel I belong.

You're patient when I'm foolish;
You give guidance when I ask;
It seems you can do most anything;
You're the master of every task.

You're a dependable source of comfort;
You're my cushion when I fall.
You help in times of trouble;
You support me whenever I call.

I love you more than you know;
You have my total respect.
If I had my choice of mothers,
You'd be the one I'd select!

By Joanna Fuchs

My mom was lying in the bed almost comatose.  Her beautiful face was white and her head was tipped back as if she was looking at the ceiling.  She was only breathing every 10-12 seconds and her breaths were very shallow and jerky.  Her diaphragm was kind of spastic as she took each shallow breath.  I was sort of in a state of shock.  My brother said we should try to wake her up.  He was gently nudging her and saying her name.  We did this a few times and then her husband walked in.  (He had been parking the car so he hadn't been in the room yet.)  He immediately asked what was going on and the nurse kind of fumbled around and said she had given her Dilaudid (a very strong pain medication) along with Phenergan (an anti-nausea med).  He demanded she call the doctor.  Within a couple of minutes we had the Rapid Response Team (RRT) in her room (about 8-10 people).  The respiratory specialist put her jaw in a position that would allow her more air.  He stood there for 5-10 minutes holding her jaw so she could breath better.  Everyone else was kind of scrambling around getting information on what was going on, what her condition was, why she was there, and what meds she'd been given.  They decided to give her something to reverse the effects of the Dilaudid.  It took 4 doses of this reversal to wake her up, but she finally did.  This all took place around 9:40am on Wednesday.  Even though she woke up and began breathing better (but not great) she was almost totally out of it until 5:30 that evening when everything finally wore off.  The whole day was spent watching her, waking her up, and telling her to breath.  It was sleep apena at its worst.

Her husband, my brother, and I all decided we think it was the Phenergan that messed her up, or a combination of the two with Phenergan being the main culprit.  She had received 2 other doses of Dilaudid through the night and she had responded well.  But 9:00 that morning was the first time they gave her Phenergan and if they hadn't reversed the effects, I believe she would have stopped breathing.

No one blames the nurse because she couldn't have known.  Apparently my mom had never been given Phenergan so she didn't know she was sensitive to it.  My brother and I are also very sensitive to drugs, including caffeine.  So none of us is surprised this happened.

I have never been so close to losing my mom.  For the first time in my life, I thought I was going to watch my mom die.  And unfortunately, my daughter would have seen it too.  Because my mom was fine before we got there, I brought my daughter with me and my husband thinking it would be a good way to still spend time with her while she was in the hospital.  Even though my husband took my daughter out of the room for a little bit while the RRT was there, she still saw everything that happened before that.  Thankfully the story ended well and hopefully my daughter's little 10 year old brain will not hold on to those memories.

The neurologist we spoke to said it's fine to take Imitrex for her migraines.  There were some fairly good reasons the other doctor told her not to, but the bottom line is this doc said it's okay.  And now she can keep her migraines under control and hopefully won't end up back in the ER.  I think this was her 4th trip to the ER in 2 months.  Part of the scare was that we thought this terrible migraine may have been from another brain bleed.  But in the end we found out that these migraines were independent of the brain bleed.  The brain bleed happened in what is called a Cavernous Malformation.  It's something she was born with and it is where her bleeding occurred.  The MRI done on Wednesday morning showed this malformation but also showed no bleeding or swelling.  Which means no brain bleed.

The two things she is battling and needs prayer for are 1) these constant migraines - the Imitrex is taking care of them but they always come back the next day, or whenever the medicine wears off; and 2) she is still dealing with the side effects of the Dexamethasone she took for 6 weeks - these will eventually go away but they are bothersome for now.

Thank you all for your prayers, please continue them.  Our God is mighty to save and I trust Him fully.  He is Sovereign no matter what.

I love you, Mom!!  I have thanked God over and over again for not taking you home!

Now, move to Texas.  :)

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