Dave and Doris
I am a 45 year old mother of two daughters. I had the aneurysm burst on Dec. of 1993 just before Dave Aase and I were to be married. We were finally married on July 22, 1995. I now work with Dave at his Automobile Dismantling Shop in Southern California. My two daughters, ages 26 and 18 live together in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ruptured Brain Aneurysm
Dave, who was my fiance at the time, was with me preparing for a Christmas party at my boss' house. It was December 18, 1993, just before Christmas. Dave tells me (because I remember nothing) that I called his name from another room. When he got to the room, I was by that time on the floor having a seizure. I was not breathing, my heart stopped, and I was vomiting blood. He immediately took action and called 911.
They told him over the phone how to administer CPR. At this time it wasn't clear what had happened to me and Dave thought I was having a heart attack. We were lucky enough to be about 4 blocks from the nearest fire station and the paramedics were there literally within about 2 minutes. They brought me to the living room floor and difibulated my chest to start my heart. It took a couple of times of that but they managed to get a heart beat and they put an oxygen mask on me.
Then they rushed me to the nearest hospital where they told Dave and my youngest 13 year old daughter (whom Dave had managed to get hold of) that I'd had a brain aneurysm and that I probably wouldn't make it through the night and to quickly reach my relatives. They were especially concerned that he reach someone closely related to me since I was not related to Dave at the time. My oldest daughter was called from Arizona and it was decided that she make the decisions.
They sent me to another hospital for surgery. During that time Dave reached many of my relatives and they began to arrive. The doctors told my family that I needed surgery soon because I was having more seizures. They operated on me for 8 hours. When they finished a doctor came out and told my family that I had survived the surgery but was in a coma. They didn't know if, or how, I would come out since they didn't know how much brain damage there would be. They even pulled Dave aside and told him that marriage might not be his option now as I might need extensive care. Dave didn't like that remark. He told them that he was staying by me no matter what. He did.
He was with me day and night. I was in the coma for a week and on Christmas Eve day, I showed signs of awakening. The nurse did her best to keep me awake so Dave could see. He had fallen asleep out on a chair in the waiting room (as he said he often did). For about a week after coming out of the coma Dave said that it was hard for me to speak and to recognize anybody. But in within another week they were able to send me to the next floor since I had begun to be able to feed myself.
After that it was therapy to help me sit up, then walk, et cetera. It took 6 weeks before the doctors felt I would be able to go home. Then Dave entered me into an outpatient therapy center which he had to drive me to and pick me up from every day. At this time, my own family was no help to Dave. My oldest daughter returned home and to this day, I hear from her very little. My youngest daughter was so traumatized by it that she told me many times, "You're not my mom any more. You're not the same". Even when I was in the hospital she refused to see me. She moved out of our house and in with her father in February of this year. I never hear from her anymore.
It was so very hard on Dave at this time with literally no help from anyone from my family. I was in such bad shape in that there was not much I could do myself. I couldn't cook, clean, I couldn't even walk normally. It was as if I were retarded and I behaved like a child. It appeared to Dave that I didn't appreciate him or even care for him and if something was sad, I couldn't even cry (my doctor later said that that was a common occurence after brain surgery) and I even laughed, but I was crying on the inside with frustration. At this time, Dave had had all he could take and told me he thought he would have to find someone to care for me and he would have to leave.
The next day he brought me to my therapy center and the psychologist noticed I was depressed. She talked to me and I told her that Dave was leaving me and I told her how hard it was for me to act normal and show or tell any feelings and how frustrated I was. She told me to take a pad of paper and pencil and go to the quiet room and write Dave a letter telling him how I felt. I could hardly write and it took me all day but I managed to get out 2 pages of a letter telling Dave how much I loved and appreciated him and was sorry that I couldn't show him just how much I loved him and that he deserved the best and I wished the best for him and I didn't blame him at all for needing to leave, I understood it. I thanked him and said good bye.
After he picked me up from therapy he told me he needed to go for a ride by himself to think things out. I gave him my letter and asked him to read it while he was out. He did just that and he returned about 3 hours later. He came to me and hugged me and told me that somehow we would get through this together. And we did.
About a year later, July 22, 1995 we were married. In the last year the recovery has been miraculous. To tell someone now that I suffered a massive brain aneurysm, no one can believe. I am able to do almost everything I was able to do before. My only set backs come from behavioral problems, for example, a little bit of silliness at times,and excessive talking (which I never did before), I have bouts of forgetfulness which causes embarassment for Dave at times, lack of balance at times.
The worst problem being the bouts of forgetfulness because for anyone else who doesn't know of my condition they think I'm either stupid or pretending to forget. I have been laughed at for this. People can be cruel. At work here It is hard to remember also but at least everyone here understands. Sometimes I make poor decisions or do stupid things I never would have done before. Some will say, "Oh, I do that sometimes, too", but these are things I never had a problem with before.
All in all I have recovered beautifully and have Dave to thank for this. He is so patient with me. Why, he saved my life! The one thing that hurts me most from all this are my two daughters. I miss them terribly and it brings me into depression to think that this whole thing must have scared them so much that they are afraid to be around me. I wonder, have I changed that much? And if so, if I'm happy, as I really am, why aren't they happy for me? My youngest is 16 years old now but never even calls me, not even for Mother's day. I did see her once for her birthday. I spent the day with her and during the day we drove by the first hospital that I was taken too, where they had told her I wouldn't make it through the night. She looked over at the hospital and managed to blurt out angrily, "That's the place where you died!". She said nothing else after that but it appeared she had tears in her eyes. After that day (in June) I never heard from her again.
Anyway, that's the story. Dave and I are very happy together and lead a good life. I'm a grateful person and mostly happy now, but I still get frustrated and depressed at times and find it hard to dump on Dave. After all, haven't I put him through enough?
Update 26 September 97
A new update to my story would be in order here since the previous update is no longer correct. I told of my two daughters Noel (21 years old at the time of the aneurysm) and Lindsay (13 years old at the that time) having come around to accepting what they had called "The new me". Well, it is not the case anymore.
Lindsay had left to live with her father in June of 1995 because as she stated, "You're not my Mom anymore!" She lived there until June of this year when she decided to make another try at living with Dave and me. That lasted only two months and she ran away to her sister's house in Phoenix, Arizona. I had not heard from Noel during this whole time and Noel is now 26 years old, Lindsay is 17 years old.
Noel took Lindsay into her home with open arms. She asked for full custody of Lindsay and I agreed as I knew I had lost them both anyway. I only hope that my two girls will be okay in life and maybe someday come back and accept me as I am.
I have a good life and am able to do the things I used to do but I suppose my personality has changed somewhat and I have gained a lot of weight which I haven't been able to shed. But I don't see why this should be a reason to avoid their own mother. I am so confused about it and they give no real reason except that I've changed and it's so hard for them to accept me now. I wonder if I'll ever be able to share in their lives with them.
I get depressed at times but am trying to learn not to focus on this and instead focus on my new marriage to Dave. He has been so wonderful to me through all of this and I feel so blessed for having him in my life. So, pity is not what I want here but I did not want to post an update that was not true.
I suppose an aneurysm can bring upheaval to some peoples lives but if they have a supportive family it does not have to be that way. Perhaps others can learn a lesson from my story. If your loved one survives this it should be a celebration, not a sorrow. Well, life goes on, and I am grateful I am still here to live it.
Update 10 March 98
I now have a relationship back with my two daughters who practically dissowned me after the aneurysm. It began with prayers to God for an answer and I was directed to go to visit with the two of them in their home in Phoenix, Arizona. I did this and was welcomed with open arms. Noel (the oldest-now 26) even apologized for her coldness and lack of support of me during those hard times. Lindsay (the youngest-now 17) was very kind to me and even enjoyed my stay with them (for the weekend). I am so happy and thankful to God.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Doris Aase
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