Hello Everybody, I have been reading the BAF site for a little over a year now, but this is the first time I have posted. This journey started September 22, 2012, a day that I will never seem to get out of my mind. I received several messages and missed calls on my cell phone after a day of cleaning the yard in the start of the New England Fall. When I listened to the messages it was my mothers boyfriend saying that something was wrong with my mom and wanted me to call him. The other was my sister, who was absolutely frantic. I called my sister back to see what was going on, but she didn's know. I called my mom's boyfriend and he said that Mom was rushed to Huntsville, AL hospital about 3 hours ago and he hasn't heard what is going on. I might add he was out on the road driving a tractor trailer somewhere out in Texas and Mom was staying in Grant, AL with the boyfriends brother.
I called the hospital trying to get info, but nobody had any record of Mom being admitted, so I called another hospital in the area and so on for 4 different hospitals. 2 hours later I call the original hospital in Huntville and was connected to an ICU nurse who again said they have no record of Mom, but there was a woman listed as a "Jane Doe" waiting to be airlifted, she connected me with a doctor who immediately asked my name. When I gave my name he was over the moon to know the Jane Doe who came in actually wasn't just rambling. The only thig Mom could say was that she wanted me to be her POA. He said that he believes she had suffered a ruptured Aneurysm and that she was being readied for airlift to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN. He then asked how soon I could get there. I explained that my sister and I live in Connecticut and will get to her ASAP, he said that the sooner would be better we exchanged numbers and ended our call.
At this point we are freaking out quite a bit, making phone calls for plane tickets and such, but missed the cutoff for that days flights to Nashville, so we decided to load up the car and get on the road. Pulling out of my street the doctor calls and said it would be best if we fly the following morning and even had flight info for us. Back home we go, to book flights, finding one leaving 1st thing in the morning arriving in TN at 10am.
Touchdown in TN,mad dash for the car and a 15 minute ride to the hospital. We get to the Neuro ICU where mom is laying in the bed looking at us with a smile on her face. She can speak, but it is broken, and she can even get up and use the restroom by herself. The doctors come in and tell us that she has an Anne and they will need to so something about it, preferably a coil embalyzation in the cath lab. They explain the process and let us know they have a very high success rate with this type of procedure. Mom is scared, but knows that this needs to be fixed. The procedure is scheduled for Tuesday and she should be home by Wednesday. We all spend time talking and laughing. My sister at this time was in Nursing school and her finals were coming up that week, so mom said that she better get back home and study so she can be the best nurse. I brought her back to the airport Sunday evening and I was going to stay another night and return home Monday. Mom asked if I would stay in the room with her that last night and watch TV with her and talk. We had the conversation of what was going to happen when she gets out of the hospital, was her trucker boyfriend going to be able to take care of her, or should I make arraingments for her to come back home to CT. She insisted that all was fine and that she wanted to stay down in Alabama. Leaving Monday was very hard, but I gave Mom a big hug and a kiss and let her know I am only a phone call away.
Tuesday's procedure went well with the coiling and glue and Mom was released and sent back home on Wednesday late afternoon. She called when she got home and said she was very tired and was going to go to bed. We spoke every day after, even if just for a few minutes. She said that every day she seemed to be feeling a little better and her speech was getting better unless she was tired then it would waver.
On a Tuesday afternoon about 2 weeks later I got a call from her boyfriend telling me mom was haveing some type of spell and the ambulance was on its way. I called the house and the brother answered the phone and put the phone to moms face, she was crying and said that she was scared, I told her I loved her and that help was on the way and tryed calming her until they arrived. She was taken to Huntsville hospital again where this time they decided that she was stable enough to be taken to TN by ambulance, 4 hour ride which took 6 hours because the ambulance broke down on the side of the highway. My sister was done with school at this point, so I put her on a plane and sent her back down with her husband. Again, everything seemed to be status quo during an angiogram, so 3 days in the hospital and my sister was driving her home back to AL. I know it is bad to say, but I also had her checking out the living conditions as I hardly knew her boyfriend, nevermind the brother whom I had never met.
My sister came home, mom was doing better, again speech was getting better, along with her motor skills and she said she was feeling better on our daily phone conversations. On Friday October 18th I got a call from mom's boyfriend brother telling me that mom and him were walking into a local grocery store and she started to fall over, he caught her got her in his truck and she started vommiting and the ambulance had just left. She was again in Huntsville hospital with a young attending doctor who didn't want to send her to Vanderbilt, because he thought they had a better unit to handle moms situation. I explained the entire situation and who her doctor was at Vanderbilt. He stuck to his guns and said he would call the hospital and explain what was going on. 3 hours later he called back and said she was on her way back to Nashville by helocopter and also said that she hadn't opened her eyes and was on a vent becuase they believe she has asperative pneumonia.
At about midnight the doctor called me and said that she had a TIA and it was going to take some time for her to open her eyes. I started calling the hospital the next morning aksing about her and if her eyes had opened yet. The answer was always no, but they said that she should be coming off of the vent becuase she is breathing over it and that is a good sign. I would continue to call and ask the nurses, who were abosolutely fantastic, to let mom know that I love her and to open her eyes.
On Tuesday October 23rd at around 3pm I received a call from one of the doc's that moms pressure in her brain was raising and they will need to bring her to the cath lab and try to relieve it that way, if they could than they would have to open her skull to release the pressure. I gave consent and asked for a call as soon as humanly possible. I received the call about 2 hours later that the procedure was a success and the pressure was going down. That night I was at practice and received another phone call, this time it was from her main doctor, Dr. Mocco. He explained the situation from earlier in the day and then asked when I could get there and that mom was unfortunately not going to be able to survive this ordeal.
To say the least I was broken. I called my wife and let her know, then made the drive to let my sister know face to face. On the way to her I made the calls to my mom's family and let them know. Got the plane tickets and were in TN the follwing morning at 10am.
This time when we got to the hospital mom was in bed not moving, eyes still closed, and on the vent still, basically unresponsive until we started talking. At that point she started to move her hands and was trying to spell words out. We put a white board under her with a pen and she was writing letters in cursive, but that soon ended also. In my heart I know she was writing the letters DNR, but I didn't want to say it out loud. We met with the doctor on the 26th and he explained that stroke activity had entered her brain stem and at this point if she were to survive it would be aided by machine. He was very compassionate and sympothetic to the situation, he also said that he was going to do another scan that evening and asked if we could meet with him at 7am the following morning to discuss.
We all met with him and the entire team working with him at 7am, he confirmed the findings of stroke activity and my sister and I had to make the decision. We knew mom would never want to live like she was, so we let him know that is was unfortunetelly time.
In the room we were able to hold her hand and talk to her. Listen to her favorite music and let her know how much we love her. At 1:15 pm October 27, 2012 My Mother, Amy L. Tipper, passed away at the young age of 53. She will be forever young.
I know this is a long, but I just wanted to put it out there. I have worn a red BAF bracelet ever since and will wear it in mom's honor forever. We will be sprinkleing her ashes with her brother in the Rainbow river this month.
She gave me the greatest gifts I have ever had, Love, understanding, Love!
Thank you for reading,