Katrina Networking

I am using my networking and marketing skills to pass along vital information to organizations, volunteers and survivors of the 2005 hurricane season. Grants, networking, advocating, assistance resources, articles and more. Updated regularly to better assist you.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Death In My Family

Hello to all.

I just wanted to say that my mother has died.

Her heart attack was 3 years ago 4/1. Life has been increasingly difficult since then.

She had significant artery disease (runs in the family), which caused renal failure in one kidney and renal disease in the other. It also made it impossible to replace her aortic valve, which was damaged as a child during illness.

This past October, she had an episode of what they call Flash Edema - it's where your lungs fill up within minutes, rather than days. It signaled that her aortic valve had completely failed. She went to Baltimore, MD to consult with a surgeon who felt she was a good candidate for what's called Apical Aortic Conduit surgery. They plug a piece of tubing from the bottom of your heart and attach it to your aorta, with a valve somewhere in the middle. This acts as the aortic valve without having to deal with the actual valve. Difficult and risky, this doc only performs about 6 a year. With such small #'s performed, it's assumed they take only the best risk of high risk candidates.

After many tests, she was determined to be a good candidate. 6 weeks after the flash edema, she had the surgery. They kept her fully sedated following the surgery, so the stroke she suffered immediately after the surgery wasn't discovered until 2 days after the fact. It's called an Embolic Shower acquired brain injury.

Rather than the stroke occuring in a single location within the brain, either because of an artery being closed off by too much junk, or by bleeding in the brain, the embolic shower means that many pieces of something - blood clot, arterial placque, fat globs - go throughout the brain and block off the arteries. The bad part about this style of stroke is that it catches the body completely unaware and is unable to build new arteries and veins around it quickly, like it can when the artery is slowly closed off. So, the picture to the left shows what an embolic shower can look like - many areas of dead white spots throughout the brain.

Mom fought incredibly hard to live - surviving ineptitude and infections, normal and extraordinary post-surgical complications. However, 6 months to the day following the flash edema, God finally convinced her it was time to die and go home.

While difficult for us, it's so much better for her.


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