Hello my Friends. I apologize for my extended absence, however I had a valid reason.
My 24 year old son Anthony suffered a stroke. The end result, a global anoxic brain injury. He was out with friends on a Friday night at a local bar. He left by himself to come home and never arrived.
Now it’s not the first time Anthony has stayed out all night, so at first light Saturday morning an empty bed was not much of a concern. However, there was something different about that morning. There was a little sense of “dread” that I couldn’t shake away.
I had my coffee, my morning workout, but I chose to cancel my nail appointment. There was just an inner inkling I had that I shouldn’t be out of the house. I was glad I listened to my gut.
My husband came upstairs a short time later and interrupted me on the toilet. He normally doesn’t disrupt my time on my throne, so I knew this was not good.
“Get dressed, we need to go to the hospital now.”
An ICU nurse called him from my son’s phone asking if we had a child who was missing. Hubby said we may, and she asked that we bring identification to the hospital.
My Brother-In-Law had just so happened to stop by a few minutes before, and the 3 of us drove to what would become my worst nightmare. We drove to the moment that would change my life in irreversible ways. And bring me more sorrow than I can bear.
Rushing through the maze of floors, doors and security I finally saw my fate.
My son, my Anthony, unconscious and on a ventilator.
The crying was quick, leaning over his body begging for him to open his beautiful blue eyes. His hair was so soft and I ran my fingers through it, praying this would be over soon.
The doctors said that he was purposefully sedated and we would try to wake him in the morning. I had my husband bring me my medications and I hunkered down for the night. There was no way I was leaving my baby.
The next 3 days he remained unresponsive to all attempts to wake him. A CAT scan was performed and it confirmed what I was not prepared for.
Anthony suffered intense brain swelling and probably irreversible brain damage. The swelling in these types of cases is usually more confined, his was to frontal and temporal lobes.
His motor skills, coordination, speech, all damaged. A good dose of rehab could help, I continued to pray with the hospital Chaplain. He was amazing, as were his nurses.
The rest of the days on the ICU floor have been almost automatic, robotic for me.
Anthony sedated, off sedation and agitated while EEGs and more scans were performed including an MRI. His brain swelling had gotten worse, not better, and I called in second, third, and fourth opinions from some of the top Neurologists in their field.
They all concurred on his care and final diagnosis.
His care: Top notch. The hospital used all the right protocols.
The diagnosis: Extensive and significant brain damage. He would need to remain in a 24 hour care facility. Anthony is unable to breathe on his own, and his brain functions won’t return. He was to remain in a vegetative state on a ventilator. Indefinitely. Not weeks or months, years or forever. His lungs were deteriorating.
The final confirmation came just before Mass in hospital chapel. Ted and I walked back into the chapel and tearfully finished the mass.
Joey, Louie, Anthony’s Godparents and I had a family meeting that night and agreed on a final course of action. His brothers knew he would never want to live via machines and his father and I both have living wills including a DNR.I am moving my son to hospice today. Some of his family will be here for the extubation and I am going to be by his side until the end. I brought him into the world, I want to hear his last breath and feel his heartbeat one last time.
I can’t stop crying. I would give away every possession I have in order to make this nightmare end.
I need to get dressed. This will be the most agonizing day of my life.
Please pray for my son’s eternal rest.