It was August 14th, 2003 I was out working, and had received a call from my mother she stayed with my three boys through the summer as I worked. they are 13, 12, 10 and they loved their Nanny. So anyway I rushed home from work as my mother had stated she had a bad headache and needed to go home. When I got there we sat and talked at my kitchen table for a few minutes. She wanted to take my youngest son home with her and well he wanted to go. But something not sure what came up last minute and he was going to stay home. So we talked our way out into my driveway, we live in the country. She got into her car and said that her headache had gotten much worse much worse. She asked me to take her to the hospital, said she didn't want an ambulance. I put my arms around her and we walked a few feet toward my truck and she collapsed in my arms. I let her down gently.
My boys and husband all present and were all impressive. The oldest ran for the phone, to call the ambulance, the middle boy road his bike to the end of the driveway to make sure the ambulance didn't miss us, and my youngest got cold compresses to put on Nanny's head. We kept her shaded from the sun with our golf umbrella and waited 21 minutes for that ambulance to arrive. She was still conscious and talking. She kept apologizing and asking me not to leave her. My mind raced.
When they arrived they loaded her in and I had to sit in the front of the ambulance and not in the back with her. I could hear her calling for me. I kept calling back to her that I had not left her and that I was with her just in the front of the ambulance. She vomited twice once before and once after she got into the ambulance. After she vomited in the ambulance she seized out and I never got to hear her voice again. They took us to St. Joseph Hospital in London.
I was left to register alone crying and shaking. With all this scare of SARS they tried to prevent me from going into the emergency room with her and I told them I promised her I would not leave her. They lead me into this little room and brought down some support. They confirmed she had had a brain bleed and said to expect the worst. Alone and terrified for my mother who has been the rock in my life she was only 62 years young. They quickly moved her up to another area and were preparing her for transfer to University Hospital, also in London, Ontario. The time that it took seemed like hours yet was so much less.
I went with her and when we got to University Hospital they had stated they needed to complete an Angiogram to see where the blood was coming from and how much. Well just after we had signed the consents and they stated they would know in 15-20 minutes we had our major power outage. The one that affect most of Ontario and some of the US.
After that happened they went back to waiting. All unnecessary staff and visitors were asked to leave the hospital, which meant us too, until the power came back on. So I left around 7pm and went back just before 11pm. Scared to death to leave her side but having had no choice I called every thirty minutes and went back up as soon as it was permitted.
I stayed with her through that night, the longest of my life, and waited till the next morning, Friday, when they could do the tests needed. They came back and had told us that she had had quit a bad bleed, a grade three bleed. But due to continuing power issues and not being able to confirm that it would stay on with Hydro and the fact that the surgery was delicate and it would take 25 minutes to re-power up the OR they were now waiting till Saturday morning to do coiling surgery. So they packed her head in ice and kept a fan on her to help keep her head cool and kept her in a coma with meds to control her blood pressure. All this time she was hooked up to a respirator and every other contraption. I was so overwhelmed, so distraught.
My mother and I had just spent the last few weeks prearranging her funeral arrangements. Not that she was sick, nor expected to need them anytime soon. We went to the funeral home, the crematorium, the cemetery and dealt with the monument issues. So this was really freaking me out. I am grateful for all that time with her.
Well I decided late Friday to go home for a few hours sleep, which I never got. So I got back up showered quickly and was back off to hospital to see her before they did surgery. I had even dug out my small tape recorder my handheld one and taped all my boys with messages to their Nanny, hoping somehow she could hear me and them, when I talked to her. So back I went back to the hospital early Saturday morning before 5am and when I got there WOW, I knew something was up. They had more Ice packs on head and the Doctors pulled us into a conference room and told us she had had another bleed and she was virtually brain dead. I could not believe what I was hearing. They told us that once they removed her from life support she would pass.
After many hours of procedure it came time. The issue of organ donation came up and because she still had a last spark in her spinal cord they could not use any organs before they would deteriorate of which she was an organ donor. She was the most incredible person and the biggest inspiration in my life. Well they started their humane withdrawal of the respirator and when it stopped she went right into the stages of death and a little while she passed. All the time I had sat with her and held her hand I begged her to open her eyes and only when she passed did her eyes open.
I have never had someone so close to me die like this nor have I been with any one else in these circumstances. Sitting with her and trying to make sure she knew she was not alone, was the most important thing on my mind. The nurses and staff were wonderful. After they removed all the tubes I went back in to give her a hug, she always wanted her hugs before she left my place.
I never realized how much my mother was apart of my life, I miss her so very much each day is a struggle. I can't think of a day when we didn't talk or she wasn't here. I still struggle to sleep. It has been 28 days since this has all happened and I still cannot sleep the night through. I was told that I should be tested for aneurysms yet I have no family doctor. I never dreamed someone could die from a headache. I thank God she didn't suffer long. I have read many stories and wish mine had a happy ending like some I had read. It wasn't until my mothers funeral that I realized just how many people she touched in her life and had heard many of their names from time to time and am grateful for their support.
I wish we had been more informed about something like this. After having seen that four out of the twelve beds in ICU were filled with the same all women with brain aneurysms some had been there weeks. Thank God she didn't suffer. It's just so damn hard to loose someone you love so much this way. I love you MOM...
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