My sister had a stroke
Lesson learned: Don’t trust doctors, trust your instincts!
It all happened the first week in April. Lori, my sister, was complaining about migraines. She went to Plainview Hospital twice and had cat scans and they found nothing. NOTHING.
She went to Island Neurological, a division of ProHEALTH Care Assoc in Plainview, that Monday morning. I tried reaching out to see how she was feeling. She said she couldn’t talk. She called me back an hour or so later. I was in the office. We talked for about a half hour. She was concerned about her job. She was so afraid that they would be upset with her because she was taking off so much time. I told her she needed to take care of her and forget the job. “It will be there when you feel better,” I said.
We hung up and said, “Love you,” like we always did when we hung up from each other and that was the last time I spoke with her.
An hour or so later, her fiance, John, called me and told me to meet him at Plainview Hospital. “Lori collapsed in the house and is being taken to Plainview.”
Shortly thereafter, they moved her to Manhasset at Northshore. The neurosurgeon came into our room and told us she had a massive stroke. It was completely unexpected and we were all in shock.
“You have 10 minutes to make a decision – surgery or no surgery,” she told us. “The blood was massive, it took up 80 percent of her left side and she has a major clot in the right side.”
The prognosis didn’t look good and we agreed not to do the surgery. But then the neurosurgeon came back and said she was responding to the light. “I think we should go forward,” she told us.
Four long hours we waited. The surgeon came out and said the surgery was a success. Lori was taken to ICU with so many tubes coming out of everywhere. She was still in a coma.
A week went by, she was still in a coma. The doctors met with us and told us that she needed a tracheotomy. They said she would survive in a nursing home or at best at home with an aid full time. We looked at her papers and she did not want this. She was only 59 years old.
They were going to take out the vent the next day. When I arrived at the hospital, we found that she was an organ donor. The woman from the organ donor group brought us in and told us about a young man, 35, who she would be helping. For a slight moment, it may have given this whole nightmare a little meaning.
Later that afternoon, her fiance, two daughters and I got prepped for surgery. We were going to say goodbye. We sat in the operating room, with her favorite songs blasting and the four of us hysterical thinking about what life would be without her. She means so much to all of us.
Thirty minutes goes by…. 40 minutes goes by… 60 minutes goes by…. They told us that was it. They had us leave and she was taken back upstairs.
The next day, they transferred her to Palliative Care, still in a coma with a morphine drip. Every day has been touch and go and this roller coaster ride has been a complete and utter nightmare.
Then our birthday came. We celebrate on the same day. Her daughters decorated her room in Palliative Care. It looked so nice. She would have been so happy to have us all there to celebrate with her.
I wish that things could have been the way they were before this happened. I wish that she would call me up and say it’s all been a bad dream. And yet… in my head, I knew this would never happen.
She passed away on May 3rd as she just turned 60. A beautiful person with so much life left, went way too early.
Funeral is today, Sunday, May 6 at Gutterman’s in Woodbury. Services start at 12 pm. Cemetery to follow. Shiva will be at my home first and then will be in her home in Melville on Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday night it will be at her daughter’s father’s home.