I never imagined losing my mother at 26 years old.
There is not a day that I don’t think about her and the life we could have had together.
“I sat with her for about an hour before a nurse came over and told us we didn't want to be here.”
This is not the first time I have witnessed a hospital not doing its job properly. Unfortunately, I know it won't be the last either until we ALL get together to confront this issue. I never imagined losing my mother at 26 years old. She ended up passing away 11 days before my 27th birthday at only 58 years old. She was a little overweight but had no underlying health conditions and never took any medication. She could have had another 20 years. I am her only living heir, so I became her power of attorney. I was allowed to visit after 7 days, but I want to share all of our text messages leading up to that and then what I witnessed while I was there.
My mother was exposed to COVID on Thursday, August 12, 2021. For the most part, she felt fine. August 15, she complained of being cold and hoped it was nothing serious. August 17, she decided to go get a test and was positive, but the doctor told her she was the least sick person he had seen all day. She complained about being very dizzy the next couple of days. She laid around on the couch and by that weekend she was sleeping a lot and had developed a minor cough. On August 25, she was unable to get up off the couch that morning. My boyfriend and I lived with her, so he went and purchased an oximeter. His mother is a home-health nurse so once we took the reading, he sent a picture and she told us to go to the hospital. It said 79/80.
When we got to the ER, my now husband and I sat with her for about an hour before a nurse came over and told us we "didn't want to be here." The nurse assured me that they would find my mother and take her where she needed to be. Instead, they called her name over and over and since she was so out of it, she did not hear. By the time they found her, the nurse told her they thought she had left. That was around 8:30 pm. Around 9:00 they did a chest x-ray and then put her back out in the hallway while she waited for a room. We later found out she had developed pneumonia.
The Night Crew
Here are our texts: On August 26 at 3:42 AM, she finally texted me her room number and code. She started out on 5 liters of oxygen and by 12:49 PM she was on 12 liters of oxygen. At 5:31 PM she texted and said they still couldn't find a vein for her IV and that they wouldn't let her walk to the bathroom anymore. She said, "they bring dinner and I'm trying to eat. But then they start poking me. I'm trying to eat but can't because 5 people are poking me and I can't eat. Then it's cold. They've done this all day. And I don't get why they bother to bring food if they aren't going to let me eat." At 6:54 PM they finally were able to get her IV in. On Friday, August 27, she ate her entire meal and was very proud. However, she started coughing up "yuk" which I later found out was blood. She texted me at 3:50 PM saying, "It's still heavy heavy heavy oxygen. They are giving me steroids, blood thinners, and some Covid drug." The doctors had been giving her Remdesivir.
That night around 8:40 PM she texted saying, "You better pray. The night crew is awful. She left me on the toilet with the door wide open. Then seemed totally that pissed I wanted to brush my teeth. finally, I was like, I'm not a bitch. I'll brush my teeth and go to bed and leave you alone." - Saturday, August 28, 8:57 AM she was no longer allowed to use the potty chair by her bed. 9:12 AM - I want out of here. The day crew is great. The night crew will kill you. I'm not sure I can survive the night crew. I thought they were going to kill me last night. I prayed. Please let me go to sleep and wake me up when they are gone. On Saturday, August 28, just 3 days after being admitted, was also the first day the doctor brought up a
ventilator, and the first day she wore the BiPAP mask. She was scared.
The same day around 3:57 PM she texted saying, "Nurse won't come to the call button. Nobody has checked my vitals in hours." Dealing with this was very overwhelming for me and I didn't know what questions to ask. I ended up having my husband's mom call since she was a nurse and could ask the correct questions. They never once made it seem like there was anything to be concerned about, but all her texts say otherwise. We were eventually able to get her a decent nurse on the night shift on August 28. She loved that nurse. On Sunday, August 29 - 9:40 AM I asked if she had to wear the oxygen mask and she said, "No, I did not have to wear it last night. As I said, the lady last night knew what she was doing." I did not hear from her much after that the rest of the day. At 6:48 PM she just said, "can't talk." On Monday, August 30 - She was now unable to swallow and had the BiPAP back on. They had brought her breakfast, but when the mask came off her oxygen would plummet. She was unable to eat, except they would leave the food for her to look at and unable to reach.
Left to Starve
“They bring food, won't let me have it.”
At 1:47 PM she texted, "I wish they would give me a break from this thing (BiPAP). Just 16 minutes. I've wanted that since 8 AM. It's getting to be cruel. I've worn this for 36 plus hours. They bring food, won't let me have it, take it." On Tuesday, August 31 she got a new doctor who brought up the ventilator again. She did not want it. At 5:11 PM she texted "I want to go home. I'm starving. I'm dying of thirst. I am so dried out that I can no longer swallow. Is there any way I can try to come home and see if I can rally? I think they are killing me." At 5:31 PM she texted "They won't let me out of this thing long enough to just see if I can try really hard to drink. I literally begged them to please just stop today that I just can't take it anymore, but they won't. I feel so trapped. I want to go home. I don't think I can take much more of this mask."
At 5:36 PM she texted "New doctor comes in and says, "you've been eating." Fuck no. They no longer bring food. Do they have no charts?????? And, in the night you press the button, they don't come. They ask, "how may I help you," yet you can't talk (she had on a BiPAP). The tube came out in the night, could not get them in here. I wish they would knock me out until they are going to take this off. But if it's not soon I am going to revolt."
Between that, we called to figure out what was going on. The nurse tried to act like she had drank Ensure.. when I told her she said, "wtf did they say I had Ensure - not a bottle of it." They knew she could not swallow but ignored her requests for help. Thursday, September 2, I was allowed to come to visit. When I walked into the room I was shocked to see my mother worse than when I had dropped her off. I began cleaning up her room because I didn't know what else to do. I sat with her the majority of the day and tried to help her eat.. while she was struggling to chew, I could see her oxygen dropping. The doctor arrived and told her to just stick with the ensure, so I helped her drink what she could. I was under the impression I could not spend the night, and no one acted as though I could. I came the next day and repeated the same as the day before. I watched her struggle with basic physical therapy movements, but we were still planning for her return home. We were going to get her a walker to help her get around.
Signs of Hope
“I really thought she was improving.”
On Saturday, September 4, I really thought she was improving. She had woke up and texted me saying she was having an "ensure picnic." That night, she had a bad night and was put back on the BiPAP. She also started having massive chest pains and was afraid she was having a heart attack. This was also the last day she was able to fully be my mother. Even with her BiPAP machine on, she texted me while I talked about my boyfriend to her and she gave me advice. She was ready to get better and have more good days. "I had a great day yesterday and I'm ready for another one. Ready for water. Ready for Ensure. Ready to make as much progress as I did yesterday." I noticed her right leg was swelling so I pointed it out to the nurse.
On Monday, September 6, she managed to get off the BiPAP for a little while and a nurse helped feed her applesauce around 2:47 AM. My mom had barely eaten in days. By 8:21 AM, she was back on. She said she had a great night, but then "some woman came in and messed with me and totally messed up the apple cart." When I arrived, she wanted to take the BiPAP off, but it was obvious she was having a very hard time breathing and I was very worried. It looked like she had ran a marathon and could not catch her breath no matter how hard she tried. She ended up asking for the BiPAP and after that, it never came back off. I knew things were not going well, so I called my boyfriend and told him he needed to come. While he was riding the elevator, he found out from another visitor that we could stay the night.
For the next 2 nights, we stayed all day long and overnight. They did not check out her leg until that Monday or Tuesday where they found a blood clot. They also found a blood clot in her lung after I requested another chest x-ray. They were not giving her any nutrition in an IV and by the time they tried, they were waiting for some type of vitals to be balanced. During my time staying, I watched them not come when you pushed the button. She started complaining about not being able to breathe even with the BiPAP on and they only administered anxiety medication. They would bring food and set it in front of her, knowing she could not eat, so I started placing it out in the hallway and finally, they realized not to bring food. She was mostly unconscious all of Tuesday except when I brought in a diffuser from home and played her favorite music to try and bring as much peace as I could.
During the night shift, no one would come and check on her for hours. At one point we had to go out into the hallway to find someone even though we had repeatedly requested help. On Wednesday, September 8, I was officially her power of attorney and I had to make the decision to put her on a ventilator. By that point, she was trying to remove the mask herself, but her eyes were no longer open at all and they hadn't been for a while. Once she was on the ventilator, she was much more at ease and was not struggling as much. They also finally gave her some nutrients. During that time, she had renal failure, which is why they suggested I take her off the ventilator on Monday, September 13. When I arrived, I could tell it was time because she was puffy. However, that is not what is written on her death certificate. They put Acute Hypoxemic Distress Syndrome, ARDS, Pneumonia, and COVID.
She Should Still Be Here
“My mother was my best friend, mentor, leader, and accountant.”
I am angry with our healthcare system and the protocol that is in place. Not just with COVID, but with all the diseases. My parents taught me about holistic medicine at a very early age because that is how they treated my dad's brain cancer. It helped prolong his life long enough for them to find someone to do surgery. Our healthcare system should be a place that promotes ultimate healing. A place that's warm, loving, and gentle so that way the body can be stress-free. When we are stressed, we are unable to heal properly. Not being able to see our families, the rigid and cold environment, and the lack of communication and love from all staff promote stress in the body. We were not properly educated on COVID, the protocols, and the rules. Not only has our healthcare system become a death factory, but so has our country. From our clothing, food, healthcare, jobs, and government, it is all infiltrated with evil. We are spiritual beings, being treated as a statistical number. Every husband, wife, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, and co-worker matters. We all matter and so does the treatment we allow into our lives.
My mother was very intelligent. She originally started school as a Chemistry Major, but then went on to become an Accountant since she knew she would be able to get a job. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Business Administration from MTSU. She worked for various firms and decided to work for herself starting in the 90s. She ran a successful CPA firm out of our home up until she died. I received so many letters from her clients. She was a one-of-a-kind CPA and went the extra mile for her clients. Being the age that I am, she missed out on me obtaining my Health Science Associate, which I was completing when she passed. She will miss out on bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, my children’s births, birthdays, holidays, and so much more. My mother was my best friend, mentor, leader, and accountant. Since I was her only living heir, we were very close. There is not a day that I don’t think about her and the life we could have had together.