Mom’s End: 1st Update

My mother Jean Cecelia (Lorentson) Mattson (b. 24 January 1939, Waltham, MA) has been sick for many years with a combination of illnesses, most auto-immune in nature. She’s been disabled for about 13 years, and has been getting less and less able to manage herself as the time has gone on. My sister and father have been basically working as primary care givers for the past 5 years with her. Over the last 12 months, she’s been taken by ambulance to the Emergency Room 10 times, usually related to her Congestive Heart Failure condition, but there are many other illnesses that have contributed to that. She recently has lost about 20 lbs., as she hasn’t been eating hardly anything at all. She hasn’t had a lot of strength, and hasn’t been able to control her functions well. My sister and father have been doing everything for her.

On Saturday, my parents watched the Ted Kennedy Memorial, and afterwards my father went upstairs to pay some bills, and my sister went in the the Dining Room to work on her computer, while my mother rested on the couch in the Living Room. About 2:30 p.m., my sister heard a noise from the Living Room, and went in and found my mother not breathing. She tried to get her to breathe, called 911, and my father. The ambulance came in 5 minutes, and they gave her 5 electric shocks to get her heart going in rhythm again. We’ve now learned that she had a blood clot in her heart, and it created the type of heart attack where your heart beats so erratically that blood doesn’t move correctly. The doctors have told us that they think she was probably not breathing for somewhere between 10-20 minutes, as they think she wasn’t breathing before my sister found her. 

My sister called my brother and me (I was in the car on the way to a wedding; I’m sorry I missed it Kat and Dave!), and we turned around and I got in my car and traveled to Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA where I met my father and brother. There we got briefed by a case worker and some of the doctors. 

They were putting her on a cooling treatment to drop the temperature of her body to reduce swelling, and they also had to give her drugs to increase her blood pressure as it wasn’t high enough to keep everything moving. She is also on a ventilator, and she’s been highly sedated. In the opinion of the Critical Care Unit (CCU) doctor there, they think that she’s probably suffered some major brain damage from the lack of oxygen, and at best he thinks that she might be able to get back to the point where she can be alert, but probably won’t be able to have a conversation and have major problems with memory. Additionally, she won’t be able to go home again, and at best will be in a nursing home or assisted care facility with around the clock nursing assistance. Her body had been so weak from the past illnesses that they are rather pessimistic about her ability to recover from this. 

Much of this is dependent upon the review of the Neurologists to see what sort of function she still has. As this happened on a Saturday, they will be examining her Monday morning. The CCU doctor said that her eyes weren’t reacting to light on Saturday when he examined her, and that that wasn’t a good sign. 

The current status as of 8:45 p.m. on Sunday is that her body temperature has been returned to normal, and that they will be taking her off the ventilator tomorrow. My father was there for 3 hours this morning, and 2.5 hours this evening. I guess her eyes are open often now, but she’s not focusing on anything. Dad is taking hope in any form that he can. The day before this happened was their 49th wedding anniversary, and they’ve known each other 53 years. 

I am of course torn between not wanting my mother to pass on, but also not wanting her to suffer and hang out in a limbo state. I would ask for all healing and prayerful messages go to all of my family (as I know many of you want to know the names to personalize this, they are Wally (Dad), Jane (sister), Rob (brother), Jen (Rob’s Wife), Sam (Rob’s Son and the reason my Mom has stayed alive these past 3.5 years), and Jean. While a recovery seems to be far too much to ask at this point, I do ask that you pray for relief and healing in all their forms.

And how am I doing? Good question. I’m hanging in there, trying to be present, and letting what will happen, happen. All your checking in an support has been great, and I ask you to keep doing that. I don’t know what I will need, but I will be updating this note as I get info.

Thanks for your love and support. It means the world to me.

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