Reposted for Bamagirl - to reply hit reply button

Author
Topic: DH's niece - withdrawing life support
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-13-2008 08:21 AM

Hi, Folks.
This doesn't affect me directly, in that it isn't my decision, but it's very hard on the family...
My husband's brother's youngest daughter is in her early 20's. She suffered a brain injury as a teen, which resulted in an impaired ability to use good judgement. She is the mother of two small children. She never married the father, whose parents have custody, so she has an apartment nearby, close to her own mother (BIL's ex). This is in a small town in upstate Alabama. She has two adult sisters who live outside Atlanta with their families.
Last week BIL got a call that she had been found in her apartment unconscious and unresponsive. They had gotten her to the local hospital ICU and stabilized. My understanding is that she can breathe some without a respirator, but they are using one to provide support. At some point before she got to the hospital, she had stopped breathing - no one knows for how long. She also has some liver damage. The dr's and police believe she is a victim of a new date-rape drug that has been making the rounds around there.
A few days ago, the ICU staff told BIL that she seemed to have changes in her bp and heart rate as different folks would visit and speak to her, and the neurologist was giving her a 40% chance to wake up - although with probable additional brain damage. Over the weekend, however, all that hope has dwindled away.
Yesterday morning we were told that they would probably take her off the machines sometime this week. The police said, that upon her death, they would immediately order an autopsy. The family has already purchased a crypt in Mississippi next to my MIL (her Granny) who passed in December.
So now we are waiting for that dreadful phone call. DH declined to make the 5 hour trip to be part of the hospital vigil.
Has anyone here gone through anything like this? It's frustrating to get information 2nd and 3rd-hand, but I know DH could not handle being there right now.
I feel like I'm already mourning for her, even though she's not officially gone. She spent a summer with us when she was 11 and LOVED being with our horses. When we saw her in December, she was so animated talking about that time.
Well, that's the good thought I'll keep with me today.
Thanks for listening,
Barb

IP: 216.231.185.132
glenderella
Moderator
posted 02-14-2008 12:45 AM

Hi Barb:
Wow, I cannot even imagine going through something like what your DH's family is going through with your niece. What a sad story - so young, so sudden, and so tragic!
Know that you have been and are in my prayers. I am so glad to hear your mom is doing better... Meanwhile, dear heart, take care and love to you. Hope you have a peaceful, loving Valentines Day tomorrow.
Hugs, Glenda
[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 02-14-2008).]
IP: 71.197.206.138
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-14-2008 10:03 PM

Thanks, Glenda.
As of this evening, young Chelsea is in a private hospital room under hospice care. The family member I spoke to said there is more room for visitors and hospice is helping provide a calm atmosphere.
I made the mistake of discussing this with Mom today. She started crying. My mother NEVER cries. So we talked some more about it, off and on amid other lighter topics. She said she felt bad because Chelsea is so young and there Mom is old and "doing nothing" and still around.
Sigh! I take comfort that things happen the way they do for reasons I cannot fathom, but must be for a greater good somehow.
Thanks for listening again,
Barb
IP: 216.231.185.132
glenderella
Moderator
posted 02-15-2008 02:27 AM

Barb Dear:
Sometimes we need to talk... The pain is so heavy. Your mother understands!
Love, Glenda
IP: 71.197.206.138
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-17-2008 07:37 AM

Just an update. Chelsea passed peacefully Friday night. BIL was holding her and reading Bible verses. He sounded calm on the phone when he called. There is a lot of tension between different family members, so I know we were right not to go. But now there are "negotiations" dealing with bringing her home to rest.
I know it's common here for there to be bickering among siblings when parents pass. Here we have parents (ex-spouses) bickering when a child has passed. So sad that people are that way.
So thanks, once again for all the prayers and good thoughts. They do help.
Love n hugs,
Barb
IP: 216.231.185.132
GRM4LOVE
Moderator
posted 02-17-2008 11:04 AM

{{{{{{Barb}}}}}}....just read this whole post... I am sorry to hear of your loss... but I feel the peace surrounding the her transition as well...
it's good that you to now in your heart that it was best for you and hubby to remain at home...
As for family... it is truly sad and yet the average family does experience it... unfortunately most do not take the opportunity to heal the dysfunction's, the anger and hurt.. carrying it only hurts them more... forgiveness and love is what it is about... but sometimes it is sooo difficult for sooo many,
will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
IP: 207.237.221.103
glenderella
Moderator
posted 02-18-2008 02:29 AM

Dear Barb:
At least Chelsea is at peace now... As far as those left, the pain must be enormous! It is so sad. I am hoping you and your DH are holding up alright. Take care...
Hugs, Glenda
IP: 71.197.206.138
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-18-2008 09:41 AM

Dear Gail and Glenda.
You are both such angels. Thanks for all the loving support. We're doing okay right now. Still waiting to hear about arrangements. We know the funeral will be hard on everyone, but it really is such a necessary part of the grieving process. I'm grateful to know I have this safe place to come if it gets to be too much. My concerns right now are for her folks and sisters. She was the baby. This is so hard for them. So that's where my prayers and positive thoughts are centered.
Thanks again and again and again for listening.
Love n hugs,
Barb
IP: 216.231.185.167
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-21-2008 08:00 AM

Just a final update.
The visitation and services were yesterday in a little country church. Of course she looked beautiful, except there was no smile and her eyes were closed.
BIL did okay most of the time. His remaining daughters, their husbands and kids were there. DH and I both cried at the casket and me some during the service (music gets to me). Otherwise we're fine.
At the cemetary, MIL's crypt marker isn't finished yet. So BIL had her picture taped to the front of her slot. I swear it was as though she was presiding over everything. At one point all the mourners around the coffin turned to acknowledge MIL, and the hysterical grief of her recent passing swept over everyone for a few moments.
We drove home from the cemetary. Driving both ways in one day makes for a long day. But then I asked DH, when he was working, didn't he leave the house around 5:30 and get home before 4? He said yes, that was true. So we had basically put in a full days "work", something we used to think nothing about when we both had fulltime jobs.
One last thing I want to share with this group: MIL's brother said that one of his granddaughters went through a similar ordeal as Chelsea, but no one in the immediate family would pull the plug. She was on the machines until finally her skin started to breakdown. The way Uncle put it was that she had started to rot. So we should count our blessings that Chelsea was not made to suffer or linger that way. I share that image because I know some folks here will be faced with that awful decision.
So, on that unpleasant note, I'll sign off for now.
I love my in-laws, but I'm hoping not to see them again so soon under similar circumstances.
Hugs to all,
Barb

IP: 216.231.185.155
GRM4LOVE
Moderator
posted 02-28-2008 08:04 AM

Hello Barb...
I am pleased to hear that it went well...
interesting that another granddaughter passed in a similar way. Did you know of it?
MIL's are like that.. they can communicate from the other side...
also pleased to hear that you and hubby fared well through it all...
please keep us posted... take care
gail

IP: 207.237.221.103
bamagirl
Member
posted 02-28-2008 04:08 PM

Thanks, Gail.
No, I didn't know about this other similar death. Uncle had a first marriage and was only recently reunited with his daughter after 40+ years, so I don't really know anything about that part of the family.
BIL called yesterday to tell us MIL's marker has been placed. He's still sounding very bereaved... If DH is up to it, we may go visit them for a few day next month. We'll see.
Gotta go.
Hugs,
Barb

IP: 216.231.185.154
GRM4LOVE
Moderator
posted 03-01-2008 06:36 PM

Hi Barb,
BIL has experienced two traumatic losses very close together. I am sure it must be extremely difficult for him, especially the loss of a child.. there are support groups he can become involved with, or perhaps he can speak with a minister.. he made need some professional counseling to help him sort through it all as well...
hoping hubby and you continue to do well and heal... take care
gail
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