Wednesday, August 20, 2008

silence & tears

It has been a few days since my last post... since Sunday evening, my life has been turned upside down.

Here is why:
"My Dad's youngest brother, Jack(who has downs syndrome), wasn't feeling well yesterday & had apparently thrown-up a lot of phlegm & there was some blood mixed in it. The person at the group home where he lives called my Dad around 4pm to say that she was going to take him to Alton Memorial emergency room.. but that she couldn't take him until 5pm when there was shift change or something. So.. evidently 5pm rolled around and she put him in the car(still fuzzy on whether it was her personal car or the group home's van).. in the front seat. (the group home is located in Pontoon Beach, IL).

She says that they were about 6 minutes out from the hospital when he just slumped over in the seat & was unresponsive.. she couldn't get a pulse/heartbeat. She told us that she figured she could get him to the emergency room faster driving him herself instead of waiting for an ambulance after calling 911(which, she never did.. no call was placed on behalf of Uncle Jackie). She raced him to the hospital and the doctors worked to get him to come back... they estimate that he didn't have a heartbeat for 10 to 20 minutes! All that we know for sure is that he slumped over in the carseat when they were supposedly 6 minutes from the hospital.. he could've been unresponsive longer than that & she didn't notice until he slumped over.. add that to the time that it took the ER staff to work on him.. the latter estimate may be more like the amount of time he didn't have a heartbeat.

We(Mom & Dad, Mark & myself) all rushed to Alton Memorial to be with him.. his heart-rate was finally stable and his blood pressure and respiration looked pretty good late last night when they moved him up to ICU. But.. because his brain was deprived of oxygen for so long.. they don't know what kind of damage was done. They did a brain scan on the way up to the ICU last night & it didn't show any bleeding on his brain. But.. the entire time that we were in the emergency room & with him in ICU.. his eyes were fixed & dilated and he was unresponsive. I just stood and held his hand and stroked his little head.

My Dad is Jackie's legal guardian & he spoke with my Uncle Don(who is in Florida) last night about decisions that will have to be made. As hard as it is to let go.. we all decided that we don't want the doctors and nurses to try any heroic measures if Jackie goes into cardiac arrest again. The doctors have been amazing & so.. very sweet to all of us throughout all of this. Jackie just turned 65 on July 2nd.. he has out-lived all predictions for his life expectancy by decades & the doctors commended all of us on the wonderful love & care that my Grandma gave him as a child and the love & support that we've all given him, too. They were kind words to hear in the midst of all of this.

Mark said last night that he was sure that my Grandma was waiting in heaven for Jackie with a plate full of his favorite cookies. :) We know that Jackie is going to be welcomed with open arms.. it's just hard for us to have to say goodbye. Jackie & I have always had a special bond.. from the time I was about Ladybug's age--it was so hard to see him hooked up to all the monitors and stuff & not responding to my voice last night. I honestly think that it's just his little body that is still working(and barely at that).. my sweet Jackie is already gone."

That is what I sent in an email early Monday morning... this is what followed last night to update everyone. It's far easier & less time consuming to just cut & paste what I wrote.

"My Uncle Jackie passed away this evening around 7pm. We, as a family, made the decision to take him off the ventilator this afternoon when we received the results of the EEG test that they did yesterday afternoon. The EEG showed no activity in his brain... it confirmed what we knew deep down when we were with him in the emergency room on Sunday night. Our sweet Jackie is with his Mama & Daddy in heaven.

We are all struggling with his passing, even though we know that he is happy & not in any kind of pain anymore. Please keep all of us in your prayers.. especially my Dad who has always taken on the role of father for Jackie. My Grandpa(Dad's father) died of what we think may have been stomach cancer when my Dad was just 7 years old.. Jackie was less than a year old.

Jackie was a special blessing in our family.. a true miracle baby from the start. My Grandma was over 40 & had both chicken pox & german measles while pregnant with him.. to top that off, for the first 4 month of his life, Jackie ran a high fever & had spinal meningitis, too(that was all in addition to being born with a severe case of Downs Syndrome). No one believed that he would make it past his first birthday... he made it just past his 65th!

Thank you again for all of the prayer support! You are all a blessing in our lives."

We all truly appreciate your thoughts & prayers as we mourn our sweet Jackie.

1 comment:

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Oh sweet Ladybug, I just want you to know that I have been praying for you and holding your whole family in my heart. I will continue to do so. My heart weeps with yours, even as we acknowledge that he is at peace and perfect and whole with his parents and God.