One of the things that has puzzled, occasionally annoyed, but ultimately mystified me was that, when my sisters and I told people that my mother had died, and knowing that she hadn’t died in an accident or the like, not a small number of them, whether they got the news in person or by e-mail, said something along these lines of “I didn’t know she was sick.” Well, that’s just the thing; she wasn’t.
I’m stealing an e-mail my sister Leslie sent to one of those people. “She was not physically ill. In fact,she was feeling great, had just taken her shower and was getting dressed in anticipation of having the bus pick her up to take her to Adult Day Care. She complained about her head hurting, but did not have any of the typical stroke symptoms.
[Our sister] “Marcia decided to call 911 to be safe, again, not because she had the typical symptoms. They determined that she had had a massive stroke and moved her to a facility that has a better neuro dept.” This was referred to as a brain bleed, a rarer, and apparently more problematic, type of stroke, which measured 9 cm, when the “average” stroke is 2 to 3 cm.
“She was in ICU for 2 days before they moved her to a regular room in the neuro. dept. They monitored her closely, taking her blood pressure, temp, etc. every few hours.
“On Tuesday, her eyes were opened a bit, so we were feeling very hopeful. When Marcia cleaned out her mouth with a swab, she grimaced, and when Marcia said ‘oh, you don’t like that’ she answered ‘no’.” She also raised her eyebrow in response to another comment. “So, we got all excited, thinking that perhaps she could have pulled out of it, as we know, nothing is impossible to God.
“We met with the Dr. and he said we needed to add the feeding tube, or let her go peacefully, which could have been 1 or 2 weeks to live…We agreed to give her a fighting chance and elected for the feeding tube. The MD had agreed to make it so, and was going to do so later on Wed. Guess Trudy and God had different plans.
“Roger had spend [Tuesday night in her room]. The nurses had been in and out that [Wednesday] AM, and he was staying out of their way. At 8:56 they told him to call us, which he did, and we went to the hospital immediately. She was already gone…went very peacefully, and looked as if she was just sleeping.
“Interesting that Marcia and I were with Dad when he passed and Roger was with Mom…
“What has been also interesting is how we have heard from several people how common it is for people to get better before they depart.”
BTW, the article title comes from dialogue from one of the countless law shows I grew up watching, from Perry Mason and Judd for the Defense to Owen Marshall and the lawyer section of The Bold Ones.