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Dec 282008

Like the night before I fell asleep on the sofa, but I had a little help from the vicodin I took to ward off the headache I had for the past two days of crying. Although, just like the night before I got very little sleep.

I awakened with a sore throat and joked at the hospital that my Yugoslavia (uvula) was swollen (it was).

The doctor was repeating the test today to see if there was any improvement. Giving false hope to our family that any improvement would be a good thing. She could not have come back from this stroke. If she did she would have been on a ventilator and she did not want that. We had come to terms with what we were going to have to do at some point that day. Now we just had to let the rest of the family know so they could say their goodbyes.

The doctors came out to confirm what we had already known. She was not getting any blood to her brain. They then asked that my Dad, my sister and myself meet with them to discuss what would happen next.

When we went with them we were presented with a representative from the Gift of Life program asking if we would consider donating Mom’s liver to help save the lives of others. Mom being a recipient of a kidney (from her nephew — a living donor) she was always an advocate for organ donation. We did not have to think too long before all agreeing that mom would have wanted to help someone else and the only reason her DNR contradicted her driver’s license was because she most likely thought none of her parts would be good enough for anyone to use. We agreed to allow the liver donation. We did not know that this gift would prolong her agony and ours. We were promised it would be over by midnight they just had to confirm death and find a recipient. It drug on and on (and would have been longer and worse if we would have allowed them to take all the tissue they wanted — the gift of life is an amazing thing but allowing this to happen to your own loved one is another thing).

Mom was officially pronounced brain dead at 11:04pm, but they had to keep her on the ventilator until they found a recipient. By 3am we finally had to make them stop we just could not prolong the inevitable any longer. Nor could my sister and I stand to see our dad go through anymore of this emotional torture. We asked that they stop looking and remove the ventilator. Mom was finally at peace at 3:40am surrounded by those who loved her; my sister, my dad, our pastor and me.

We were at peace as well. Knowing her suffering was over then we could have closure. Not knowing when or where they would take her liver was too much to bear.

Dr. Chon stopped by tell us that organ donation was a very good thing to do and also try to explain to us why Mom died. He thinks it started as a very bad sinus infection, which would have caused the headache and vomiting. Being immunosurpressed it spread quickly. The stress of the infection then caused her blood pressure to rise therefore causing the stroke. Although we will never know a definitive answer this wraps up the last 72+ hours somewhat.

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