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Established April 15, 1995
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Harvey and Wanda Panzer
September 1979, honeymoon in Monte Carlo
Wanda and I led a very happy and satisfying, yet a simple if not mundane existence. We were married for 20 years. We spent all of our time together. Though we traveled in the past, "getting away" was no longer necessary. We looked forward to every evening and weekend. Wanda volunteered as a companion to an underprivileged child and devoted much of her time to our home, gardens and feeding the birds (100-200 pounds of seed weekly, for 15+ feeders). My life was Wanda, our two schnauzers, and my piano. As I told Wanda many times, I wanted everything to go on this way forever. Together we enjoyed our family and friends. To ensure that we could go on together for as long as possible, we lived a very healthy and safe life. Healthful foods, exercise, no smoking, very moderate drinking, and regular medical checkups.
19 March 2000
My wife Wanda and I were walking on September 12, 1999 when she couldn’t remember several familiar names. This scare caused her anxiety and other discomfort, attributable or not to the anxiety. On that same day we went to the hospital ER for examination including a CT scan. We were encouraged by good results. As a follow-up, on September 14 she was examined by her primary care physician and subsequently by a neurologist on September 16.
Minor but peculiar and certainly suspicious symptoms continued throughout the 3.5 week period. Hypothesized ailments were viral infection, panic attack, anxiety, stroke, epileptic event and finally a possible recommendation for a psychiatrist. September 23 EEG test. September 24 MRI test revealed an AVM in the posterior fossa. Continued communications with medical personnel of all symptoms during these periods. Results to patient one week later on October 1 with plans for neurologist consultation on October 7 and MRA test on October 8.
On October 6 Wanda suffered a severe headache, nausea, and lost consciousness. The ambulance trip to the ER was too late. An indescribably grueling experience for Wanda and myself. An intracranial hemorrhage caused brain death and life support was removed on October 7.
It is wise to learn from other's experiences. The lesson here is to be persistent and ask specific questions of your doctor; educate yourself through literary sources; get opinions from other physicians, university professors, etc. You may not be properly informed of the seriousness of the condition. An urgent and rapid intervention may be crucial but mistakenly treated routinely. With a time bomb in your head, you must ask yourself how comfortable you are with a "statistically" low probability of the worst outcome.
Though the final resolve may not have been favorable, every chance at survival is a grasp for life. After the loss of a loved one, there can be no overreaction that is enough. As a consoling comment, I was told that as a novice I could not be held to a higher standard than the professional who you have consulted for their expertise. On the contrary, you must conduct yourself at a far greater standard since the personal consequences can be so enormously devastating. This is not a dress rehearsal. The actions you take may save the life of a loved one or yourself. I cannot choose the words to express the impact of such a permanent loss.
Discussion, comments, or questions: Harvey Panzer
© Copyright 2000 Harvey Panzer
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