Sunday, October 30, 2011

How we lost Lucy

I know I need to write this down and have a record of this but I've been avoiding it. For some reason writing down the details seems much harder than telling someone what happened.
We were not expecting Lucy to die. No one was. Her doctors were surprised. We all were. Lucy died on a Thursday. On Wednesday she had a slight fever but was doing well. I spent Wednesday morning with her and Chuck came to switch me sometime midday. He brought Hazel with him and Lucy and Hazel were able to see each other briefly. That would be my last memory of Lucy responsive. She smiled at Hazel. Chuck came home Wednesday night with nothing but good news. He told me they were thinking of extubating her the next day. I arrived early that Thursday morning. They told me her fever was a little worse. I was there for rounds. She would occasionally open her eyes that day but it didn't look like she was looking at anyone, just starring off. I was worried.
The previous Sunday I was really worried about Lucy. I felt an impression that I needed to ask my brother-in-law Matt to give her a blessing. I thought this was strange but later in the week I called my sister and asked her to ask him. We arranged for him to come on Thursday. So here we found ourselves on Thursday. Lucy was clearly not herself. She had been intubated for 11 days but even while intubated she'd wake up for part of the day and be interactive. She was burning up and around noon I learned that her fever had reached 106 degrees. The nurse didn't seem too worried which calmed me down a little. My mom got there around one to let me go home but I felt like I needed to stay. The nurses and doctors were running tests to find a source for infection. Everything was coming back negative. Several times I mentioned how absent she seemed but everyone told me it was because of her fever. I kept praying for a miracle. I kept thinking about the prompting I had received to ask my brother-in-law to come. A couple of hours before she died they looked at her heart with an echocardiogram and everything looked fine. Then at 5:30 she was scheduled for a CT scan to check if the infection had gone to her brain. When we walked down with her she was so lifeless. I asked the nurse if she had given her any drugs. She hadn't had any narcotics for over 7 hours. I was shocked. Again I felt we needed a miracle. I believed we would see one. My brother-in-law met my mother and came to the room where Lucy was having the CT scan. We all walked back to Lucy's room in the ICU. Her CT scan looked fine too. Chuck had arrived and was waiting for us in Lucy's room to help with the blessing. The nurse started Lucy's antibiotics and left the room so we could give Lucy a blessing. My mom, Matt, Chuck and I all got up and stood around her crib. Chuck looked at me and asked if I would say a prayer. I folded my arms and looked at Lucy. At that moment with folded arms, Lucy left us. They did CPR for 25 minutes but she could not come back. Heavenly Father took her before we were able to give her a blessing. He let us know that THIS was her time. There was nothing more for us to do. He waited to take her until Chuck, my mom and I were all there. It was not the miracle I had been wanting or expecting but it was a miracle. Every time I begin to wonder "what if we had done this or that," I remember how she left us. The doctor looked at her EKG after she passed. There was no sign she was about to flat line. It came from no where. I really felt like she wasn't there all day. I think Heavenly Father was waiting for us all to be there. Something that rarely happened. Earlier that day my mom had read Elder Cook's talk from conference, "The Songs They Could Not Sing." She read it twice. She later told me the scriptures that stood out from the talk were, "The elders...shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me." and "Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; fear not..., for God shall be with you forever and ever. " These scriptures have brought me a lot of comfort since Lucy died. Lucy was home the weekend of general conference. We were pretty stressed out with Lucy home. She required so much oxygen that if the nasal cannula came off for just a few seconds she would desat. I remember feeling like I hadn't got much from the talks. Then I heard this talk, it was the last talk of the weekend and I felt some comfort.
We received the results of the autopsy a week ago. I was worried that if I learned the cause of her death it would cause me to resent those that were in charge of her health but it hasn't. Lucy's last open heart didn't help in any of the ways we were hoping. That we knew. Four weeks after the surgery they did a cardiac cath to balloon her left pulmonary artery. The spot they ballooned caused an aneurysm that may have contributed to her death. If they had done more echo cardiograms they should have caught the aneurysm but they didn't. Lucy's time was known. I know I can't spend my time asking, "what-if?" With Lucy there are too many, what-ifs. It would drive us crazy to entertain those kinds of thoughts. We believe Heavenly Father made it known to us that it was her time. We had exercised all of our faith but it wasn't meant to be. We love our little girl. We miss her. We wish she could have stayed longer. I'm grateful that her life touched so many.

7 comments:

Tom/Tabitha said...

I am glad you shared this, and that you are sharing your knowledge that she died when it was her time. That is so hard, but we knew that we had lost our son at his time to go also, so I know what you mean. Continued hugs and prayers for you and yours!

Sandra and Dave said...

Eliza, I don't have the gift of words to express just how grateful (that doesn't really seem like the right word...appreciative? no, that's not it, either...can't think of just the right word) I am that you and Chuck have shared so much of your experience with Lucy. It has helped me and strengthened my faith in so many ways that I can't express. It has also helped me be more specific in my prayers for you. And...not ever having the pleasure of meeting Lucy, I feel like if I did meet her, I would immediately know her. I'm grateful to you for that. You have had, and continue to have so many praying for you. I love you both.

Allison and Brent said...

I just listed to Elder Cook's talk this morning, and thought of you and your family. My heart still aches for you, but I know you're strong and full of so much faith! Thank you for your example! Love you, cousin!

Noelle said...

We love you guys and we still pray for you! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to just run 'downstairs' to say hi...only to remember that you're not there.

I saw Pam the other day and just the sight of her made me sad all over again.

Know that you're always in my thoughts.

Debbie Gardner said...

Eliza, We love you. Your faith is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

Anaise said...

Thank you for sharing Lucy's story. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

StrawberryBlond said...

Can I ditto everything Sandra said? I am grateful that you have shared your experience with us. I don't know what else to say except we love you guys VERY MUCH.