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We lost Max's Mom

13 years ago

Helen, Max's mother, died very unexpectedly on Jan. 22. We are both unbelieving and devastated. She went in to the hospital on the 21st for an elective pacemaker, although her cardiologist said it would not be elective in another six to twelve months. There was a complication during the surgery and her ventricle was perforated by the screw on the pacemaker wire. She started to bleed and a drain was put in immediately and the blood put back into her leg. The tiny hole clotted over and the procedure was finished with the pacemaker working perfectly. My cardiac surgeon was on standby in the OR but advised against open heart surgery because the problem appeared to be resolved. She was taken to ICU overnight for observation and a drain had been inserted in case there was further bleeding. She was alert and talking and able to eat a liquid dinner. There was no bleeding in the next twenty four hours and the drain was removed. An ICU nurse was with her at all times.

We were at the hospital throughout the day and talked with her. The next morning Max went to see her before going to his office. She was joking and talking about the Dinner Theatre plans we had with her for the following Sunday. In the afternoon, several hours after the drain had been removed, they were finishing the paper work to move her out of ICU, she was talking with her nurse and suddenly slumped over and arrested. They tried for forty five minutes to restart her heart, both in ICU and the heart cath lab.

Her Dr. has done almost 800 pacemaker procedures and never lost a patient. He has been her cardiologist for years; he spent nearly two hours with us and with our son and his family when they arrived at the hospital. Her death was just impossible for any of us to comprehend.

There was a Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial at the church she had attended here for sixteen years. We found a large tray of her Christmas cookies in her freezer and served them at the luncheon afterward and at our house for those who stopped by later in the day.

Max's DB and SIL flew up from Santa Fe and stayed for a day and a half to help us start to go through her things. They flew back home and Max and I and our son and DIL flew to Chicago for her interment in a mausoleum next to her husband and younger son. A priest from the church she attended there, before she moved to Boulder, did the Rite of Committal at the mausoleum Chapel.

We all flew back last night. We will miss her very much. Thank you for reading this - I guess I needed to write it out because I'm still trying the absorb the reality of losing her.

Please mention Helen in your prayers.


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