In Memory of Debbie Bertsche
July 22, 1947 - February 12, 2005
31 July 2004
My Whole World has changed. For anyone who doesn't believe in God, it is important that you read this. July 22, 2004 was my mother's birthday. She turned 57. I was with a friend of mine that night. We had gone to get a pizza and were driving back to his house, when we saw huge plumes of smoke coming from his subdivision. When we got to his subdivision, we both witnessed a burning building firsthand. Let me say that this was scary but exhilirating at the same time.
Over the weekend, my wife and I went with some friends to spend some time on our friend's boathouse. In that weekend some weird things happened. I went with my wife's friend to Walmart and was instantly drawn to the book by Mitch Albom, titled, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", which I bought and really touched me. It made me start to really look at my life, and start to appreciate the little things that I have overlooked.
Flash Forward to 07/27/04, Tuesday. My wife and I are home watching a movie when my father calls at 10:49 PM, telling me that he had bad news. My mother had been airlifted to the University of Cincinnati with a possible Brain Aneurysm.
My mother and father have always been in good shape, they work out 3 days a week at the Y. Tuesday evening my father was on the computer listening to some music, while my mother was finishig the 5th Harry Potter Novel. She came upstairs afer she finished the book and was very happy. She adjusted my father's headphones and went back downstairs. A few minutes later the phone rang, and my mother usually answers after the first two rings. This time she didn't. My father went downstairs and found my mother in a pool of her vomit. She was unresponsive and said that her head hurt. My father called 911 and they took her to Mercy Fairfield, where they performed a CatScan to discover that she had suffered from a possible brain aneurysm. They immediately airlifted her to UC's University Hospital. My wife and I arrived around 11:30 PM, followed by my father who had to drive down from Mercy. My brother and his fiance drove down from Columbus, Ohio, and my sister and her boyfriend started driving up from Tallahassee Florida.
My mother had an angiogram done and she had already been sedated becuase they had to put a breathing tube down her throat. So she had the angiogram done and the neurosurgeons came back around 2:15 AM to tell us that they were going to take her to surgery. Her surgery lasted for 4 hours. At 6:30 AM the doctor came back out and said that she had suffered a brain aneurysm, and that her temperal lobe on the right side was the affected area.
Now it is 07/31/04 and we are four days into the ordeal. My mother is in a Coma, and the doctors have been watching her closely as she is starting into vasospasms, and they are trying different drugs to get her blood pressure up. She is holding her own right now, and her numbers are good, but they need her pressure to get higher. I am being strong for my family: my father especially, along with my brother and sister. The friends that my wife and I have have been extremely supportive too.
There was a phrase that stuck with me during my mother's surgery..."The Human Spirit will endure." I truly believe that God has spoken to me over the past way and I wasn't aware that he was. I now know and it has changed the way I look at my life and everyone involved with my life. I know that my mother's road to recovery will be long and difficult. I am prepared for the worst and I am praying for my mother everyday.
I have been reading Mitch Albom's books as well as Morrie Schwartz in his own words. I have been writing about everything that has happened and I am looking for support from whoever can provide some support. Please contact me with any support you can give for me and my family.
Thank you in advance for helping me and my family in this difficult time of our lives.
Update: 16 August 2004
I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to everyone for your continued prayers for my mother on her road to recovery. I know that I had sent an email to most of you personally in regards to my mother's condition. I wanted to send an email to everyone that sent me an initial email to give you an update on where we are now.
My mother has started to open her eyes, and is beginning the initial response to voices and some movement with her eyes. On Thursday, 08/12/04; she was moved from University Hospital to The Drake Center; which is a very reputable rehabilitation center here in Cincinnati. They will be starting a type of Passive Rehabilitation, although I don't know all of what this entails, it sounds like they will begin to get her to wake up out of the coma. Her vital signs have all been good and the swelling in her brain has gone down, although it will be 3 months before the bone flap is reattached. Her color looks good and she is no longer on any kind of medication.
Last Wednesday, after having to wait a week because of traumas elsewhere in the hospital; she received her Tracheostomy and Feeding Peg into her stomach, which helped reduce pain that she had from having the breathing tube down her throat for a two week time frame.
Overall, she looks better now, and if we can all continue to pray for her recovery, she will get better.
I will email more updates as the weeks and months progress. Thank you all for your prayers and please keep in touch.
Update: 13 February 2005
My mother has been in and out of University Hospital since the end of the year. Ever since October 2004, she has run a fever of 102+ degrees consistently week in and week out. She has suffered from a UTI, as well as recently; suffering from hydrocephalus, as well as an overproduction of CSF fluid from her spinal cord and being drained from the top of her head.
This past weekend looked like things were going to get better. February 5 and February 6, 2005 were good days, and even though she had been moved from the NSICU at University to the Progressive Care Unit...things turned for the worst on February 10, 2005.
My mother suffered a 2nd bleed on the brain, and the doctors are not quite sure why this happenend. She had a lot of blood which put pressure on the base of the brain stem and filled the arterior ventricle with blood. From the looks of the Cat Scan, things were pretty bad.
Yesterday was the longest day of my life, and we spent the entire day at the hospital. After we spoke with the doctors, we had three options:
1) Combat the Infection with Antibiotics,
agressively, with my mother being bed-ridden afterwards.
2) Combat until the infection completely took over, where Septic Shock would eventually take place.
3) Provide my mother with Comfort Care
Knowing that my mother was a good mother and a wonderful person, we as a family know that she would not want to see herself completely bed-ridden for the rest of her life. We opted for the Comfort Care.
After being removed from the Ventilator at 9PM last night, my mother passed away this morning at 12:40 AM. She was 57 years old. She will be greatly missed, but the pain that she suffered is no more, she has joined everyone else in our family that has passed before us, and is watching down on us now.
I just want to thank everyone that has shown their kindness and gratitude over the past 7 months. I have talked with complete strangers who have suffered from this dibilitating attack on the brain, and I want to say that each and every one of you is special in God's eye. Don't forget your place in your family, and most of all; live your life to the fullest and remember that no matter what you do in your life, you are special to everyone that you meet.
I'm sure that my mother has now met her "Five People in Heaven"
Thank you all.
© Copyright 2004 Bryan
All Rights Reserved - Fair Use acknowledged
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