Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The short story about the "Maureen Event"

Thought I would catch you up on Maureen's sudden collapse, hospital stay and return home.

We thought we were about to lose Maureen for sure last Saturday night around ten o'clock.  I climbed the stairs to go to the bathroom and discovered Maureen there, leaning on the sink and fighting for every breath.  All she could get out was "I can't breathe!"  I immediately called 911.  I thought the whole neighborhood would surely have noticed the ambulance sitting on our street and wonder who was in need of help, but no one seemed interested the next day. The ambulance arrived about five minutes after I called them.  It was so scary for Gail and I because it was Deja Vu.  The night that Ramona passed away, she displayed the exact same symptoms.   She didn't make it to the hospital.

When the EMT' arrived and started toward the front door, I begged them not to let my wife die on the way to the hospital like my sister-in-law did some years back.  They assured me that no one was dying on their watch.  Gladly, that brag held true.  Maureen did get there alive but still fighting for every breathe, only this time, she had oxygen to breathe when she could inhale.

The next time we saw her, she was having a machine breathe for her and she was heavily sedated but evidently not heavily enough, because she struggled against the restraints and constantly tried to regain consciousness through her own will-power.

The problem was not her heart, we were told after one heart doctor checked her and all relevant tests out.  She WAS NOT having a heart attack.
The normal enzymes found in the blood after a heart attack were NOT there and after an Angiogram, they found no heart artery blockages of any consequence.  All the doctors were perplexed.  The could not understand how she was experiencing so much pulmonary edema, fluid build up in the lungs nor could they determine the cause of her heart not pumping as powerfully as it should.  It pointed to heart failure and yet, they were not certain why.

So there she laid, large breathing tube in her mouth, oxygen hose under her nose, a catheter in her bladder and who knows how many IV's in her arms and hands, then there was that large hole in her femeral artery with the special plug type bandage holding the blood back while the artery closed up well enough to remove it.  They used meds to force the liquids out of her lungs and meds to lower her blood  pressure and aid her heart in its pumping and a number of other meds to keeps all systems going.  It was touch and go there for a while.  Kellie, Gail and I were almost living at the hospital while Maureen was in MICU.  After she began to improve, they moved her to a regular room on the first floor and only then did we feel she would survive until we returned after some rest and self-maintenance at home.  Someone had to take care of Jenny.

They still are not sure what caused all this to happen.  One or two doctors believe that it may be connected to the last two days Maureen worked, where she may have been exposed to various types of dust and mold contaminants, whose affect may have been aided by a lack of proper air-conditioning and ventilation.

I can't say how many people and various church groups were praying for Maureen but any believer could see God's hand at work in this event.

Maureen shouldn't have survived she was told by several technicians and hospital staff.  They we all surprised to see her again after a couple days.
She shouldn't have recovered as quickly as she did and she certainly shouldn't be going home on Tuesday, and yet, she was.

Here's another weird discovery:  All these past years, it has been believed by many medical  people, that Maureen has always had something called Mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which the mitral valve does not close properly, thus allowing blood to flow back where it should not be flowing. That, they say was the reason Maureen's heart always beat faster than a "normal" heart.  During this hospital stay, she had an echo-cardiogram that showed her mitral valve was working perfectly.  They did say that it "could be" that one of the two bundles of controlling nerves at the top of her heart was not working as well as it should and that's the cause of her fast heart rate.  They described her heart as over-all weaker than it should be for unknown reasons.  They also said that it may require them to install a pacemaker with a defibrillator in it if these meds don't work the way they are hoping.  Namely that the ace inhibitors and beta blockers will cause her heart to recover some of its missing pumping power by reducing Blood pressure and heart rate, thereby reducing the load and stress on the muscles and allowing them to recover over time. 

I know that we are all glad to have Maureen back at home where WE can care for her.  We placed her in God's hands, trusting that her full recovery IS HIS WILL.  I personally, do not believe there is such a thing as a small miracle.  I also believe that miracles have occurred during this event. Praise God!
  
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