Well, I found this article in Woman's Day about a contest they are having wanting you to tell how heart disease has affected a close females life and yours. That got me to thinking about what we went through with momma over 10 years ago. I'll never forget!
Daddy had been paralyzed for about 2 years, Aunt Lucille had just passed away two weeks before, grandma was quickly deteriorating with Alzheimers (some of the siblings were taking turns caring for her in their homes), and momma had been named executor of Aunt Lucille's will. We got a call from daddy in the early morning hours of Oct. 25, 1996. Momma was having a heart attack and the ambulance was on the way. They took her to Hendricks County Hos. They gave her meds to thin her blood and the pains subsided, but she was in bad shape. They didn't want to do anything else because they thought she needed to improve first, I guess. They basically did nothing but have her rest and watch her for the next few days. My sister got the ball rolling and on Oct. 28, momma was transferred to Indiana University Hospital. Thank God! She had another heart attack that night and it was a bad one. They rushed her to emergency surgery immediately. My brother was staying at the hos. and he and my sister were the only one to see her briefly as they were taking her down the hall. (My sister was able to get there after she received the phone call as they were wheeling momma to OR) This was around 8:30pm. We got to the hospital and heard nothing till approx. 1:00am. I must admit that this was one of the worst nights in my whole entire life. I have been blessed with not just an awesome mother, a praying mother, but she's also mine and my sister's best friend. Read Proverbs 31, that's my momma. I was upstairs at a canteen when a dr came out and told daddy that they had lost momma. She had a very diseased heart and the 1% chance that they could bring her back she would most likely be a vegetable. When, Susie, my Godmother, came to tell me I was devastated! I started crying and when they tried to lead me away I dropped to the floor and began to pray for my momma like I had never prayed before. I reminded God of all she had done, the people she had prayed for, how faithful she had been, and then I told Him that He raised Lazurus from the dead and that I knew He could do the same for her. I don't know how long I prayed but I didn't quit till I was done! We went back downstairs and waited some more. At approx. 7:00am they came and told us that they had to use the paddles 3 times in order to bring her back. They had lost her for 7 minutes and she was without oxygen to her vital organs for 14 minutes. Her aorta was brittle like an eggshell and they couldn't close things off there, they had to do the artery by her leg. They replaced her aorta and 3 other arteries but couldn't find enough good veins in her leg to replace all that needed replaced. They now said she had a 20% chance of living and they still couldn't guarentee the quality of life she would have. We waited some more until they let us go back to see her. Daddy and us kids went back and it was like a nightmare. Her hair was neat, so typical of momma, but she was so still and pale, the breathing tube taped to her face, the other tubes and needles. They told us to talk to her. We asked daddy if he wanted to wheel closer to the bed. He dropped his head, tears falling, and then just wilted. A nurse had to take him to another room to take care of him and I panicked. I ran for Susie, our Pastor and my Godmother. I needed her. She came to be with us.
The days seem to run together and I remember when she finally opened her eyes. We were so worried that they wouldn't be clear and focused and knew that could mean brain damage, but I talked to her and told her that Debbie was there and kind of moved. Her eyes searched and when she found Debbie they stopped. We knew then that she hadn't lost memory and such.
Another time she was looking at the clock. I asked her if she wanted daddy and she shook her head and finally I asked if she just wanted time to hurry and pass and she shook her head yes. Still another when we told her we loved her she mouthed "I love you" amidst all the tubes.
One of the scariest times was when they were weaning her off of the breathing machine. The machine would beep when it was time for her to take a breath on her own, the nurse would wake her and explain what it was and that she needed to take a breath. Then the nurse left and it was just momma and I. I would stand there and each time, make sure I woke her and tell her to breathe. I was so scared. I didn't know it but my brother was watching me for some time through the glass. He understood my fears but knew I had to let her do it on her own. He came in and took me outside the door and told me just to watch. Sure enough, the machine beeped, momma opened her eyes, turned and looked at the machine, and then......she took a deep breath. I was so proud of her but one of the hardest things was not being able to stay and make sure she took each breath herself.
Eventually, momma was completely off of the breathing machine and doing well. The surgeon came in ICU to see momma and told her, "You know we lost you!" Momma told him that she had been told. He told her that she was a "miracle lady." Another surgeon who was in the operating room came to see her before she went home, when thanked him for what he had done he told her, "Don't thank me, Thank Him" and pointed upwards.
Tabitha, my niece, and I spent alot of time at momma's helping her and daddy. Now, 15 years later, I look back and I'm amazed at my momma and what God did for her. I took her back to her heart doctor for a check up and he told her that she healed back better than most and if it wasn't for the staples you wouldn't even know that she'd had open heart surgery. When we wanted to know what kind of life expectancy she had, the doctor couldn't tell us. He said she shouldn't even be here now, so he couldn't say. Momma had more than just human doctors that day, she had a Master Physician in that room and He just wasn't done with her. So many people were praying that night and numerous people were there for us and her. She took care of daddy till he passed away in Dec. 2000, she pastored our church for approx. 6 years, took care of a little lady that couldn't stay home alone, and did so much more and is still going! As of May 2010, momma fulfilled 2 of her dreams. In spite of a broken shoulder and surgery, whe went to Israel in March 2010. She finished up her schooling and was able to go thru the ceremony to receive her high school diploma. Should you let the fact that you're 74 yrs old stop you? Not at all! Momma has now finished her first year in college with a scholarship and on the honor roll I might add! As of today, March 5, 2012, momma is in the second semester of her second year of college. She has also gotten 2 small scholarships!!! :-) She has her own dorm room to stay in whenever she wants and the girls love having her. Momma is loved by all and she loves all!
Once when she was in the hospital she heard a little lady calling out and just had to go down the hall, IV trailing behind, to check on her. That is just the kind of person my momma is!
(UPDATED March 5, 2012)
In May 2014, momma received her diploma with a 3.75 GPA! God is not done with her yet. So proud and thankful!