This is the story of my mother. She was 44 years old and awakened one morning with a horrible headache. She called off work and planned to visit the chiropractor later in the day. The pain became unbearable so she went to the emergency room at the local hospital. It was there that it was discovered that she had an aneurysm in her head. The doctors made plans to do surgery to clamp off the bulging portion.
Her surgery was not very eventful. However, the aneurysm did rupture after they had opened her skull. The doctors said she had lost some blood but nothing life threatening or particularly dangerous. Over the next five days, she did very well. She experienced none of the adverse effects they had mentioned that could happen, she felt fine, a little sore, but fine.
Then on the sixth day after her surgery, she began having horrible headaches again. She begged for pain medication but to no avail. They ran more tests that revealed that the healthy veins/arteries around the one that had been clamped were having spasms. They tried to elevate her blood pressure to force the arteries to stay open but it didn't work. That night, she had a stroke.
With the pain and the effects of the stroke, she was incoherent the next day and the doctors decided to send her to a bigger hospital with better neurosurgeons. By the time she took the 15 minute helicopter ride, she was in a coma. The hospital tried several things. They put a shunt in her head to reduce the overwhelming pressure caused by the swelling. They even took out the part of her brain that had died during the stroke. They gave her medicines to keep her in her state of coma so she would not jar her head or get worked up and increase the swelling any more. We waited and after fourteen days, the pressure in her head finally relented. They quit giving her the medication and tried to wake her up, but she wouldn't.
They then ran tests that showed a lack of a real blood supply to the base of her brain. The part of the brain that wakes a person up had died due to a lack of oxygen. A few days later, we gave the hospital permission to unhook the life support. She lived almost an hour with no life support before her heart finally gave out. It was the most gut wrenching experience I have ever had. We let her go only six days after her 45th birthday...a young woman still.
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