Virginia Had A Berry Aneurysm
7 October 2005
June 28, 2004 started out like most Monday mornings in our house. The alarm went off at 6 and by 6:30 I knew if I didn't get up right then, we would be late. We only had one child at home that day, my daughter Virginia. I went to Virginia's room and crawled in bed with her and rubbed her arm while I said 'I thought you were going to get up at 6, and it's now 6:30." I usually make her sit up and hug me, but we didn't get home until after 10 the night before and I knew she was tired. I went back to my room and started to get in the shower. I called back to Virginia's room "Virginia, are you up?" She replied with "I'm getting dressed, Mom." My husband had a big project that he was working on and went on to work.
After I got out of the shower, I called back to Virginia and asked how she was doing. After asking a few times, I went to her room and she was lying on her bed dressed with her feet on the floor and one shoe on. I stood in the doorway and said "Virginia, get up honey, you fell back asleep. It's almost 7 and we need to leave in a few minutes." She didn't respond and I repeated myself. I then noticed that she was wasn't breathing. I ran up to her and her eyes were almost closed and her lips were blue. I tapped her cheeks and called her name but she didn't respond. I ran to the nearest phone in the kitchen and called 911. I just knew it was a heart problem and that the paramedics could come and revive her and we would go to Children's Hospital, find out what the problem was and get it fixed.
Although it seemed like forever, the paramedics were at the house in less than 10 minutes. The paramedics checked for a pulse and said 'she's down' and asked me to leave the room. The police told me not to worry that they would lock up my house and I could ride in the ambulance.
A room full of people were waiting for Virginia in the ER. Before a nurse ushered me away, I heard the paramedics say 'We've shocked her 6 times.' A chaplain came in and we prayed. A doctor came in and by that time, my husband, sister-in-law and a few coworkers had arrived (my office is two blocks from Children's Hospital). The doctor said that they had gotten her heart started in the ambulance, her pupils were fixed and dilated and we would be headed up to the ICU soon.
I was so relieved, my baby was going to live and God had answered my prayers that they could get her heart started. Her dad arrived and I shared the wonderful news with him. I didn't know what â€˜fixed and dilated' really meant. The doctor was summoned back into the trauma room because she was crashing. They came back and said that they couldn't get her to respond and in a last ditch effort, her dad and I went in and held her hand and talked to her and begged her to come back, but that didn't work either. By now, it was only 8 am, but it was the longest hour of my life.
The doctors told me they were sorry, but they didn't know what happened. We would have to wait for the autopsy results and that may take a few days. About 4 that afternoon, I decided to call the coroner's office and inquire. The person I talked to told me that Virginia had a berry aneurysm and told me that there wasn't any way that we could have known about it. He told me that this was very rare and he had never seen one in a child, but he had read about it. He assured me that she died instantly and there wasn't anything that could have been done to save her.
I was and still am, heartbroken, but determined to learn about early detection and treatment options.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Melanie Montgomery
© Copyright 2005 Melanie