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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Visiting Suzanne: Special Needs Parenting 101 (Part One)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, November 30, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A mother writes down her feelings about visiting her daughter, who is in a nursing home, languishing in an irreversable coma after an aneurysm burst inside the girl's brain.


It seems that our days are spent in a bottle. One day is exactly like the others. No variety. Nothing to spice it up, make it any better.

It has been like this for the past six months, ever since Suzanne got that damned aneurysm that rendered her to her present state.

At the age of eighteen, Suzanne had always been in perfect health: never visited a doctor (except during her yearly physicals), never had as much as a cold or a mild case of the flu; when she did, she got over it quicker than most people.

She was active in sports, was on the high school's debate team, was very intelligent, a studious student who prided herself on making good grades in all her subjects.

Nothing had prepared her--or us--for the events that were to take place, events that changed her life--and ours--completely.

We figured she'd have a wonderful future: get married, have children, go to college if that was what she desired. Nothing seemed to stand in her way.

Then came that devastating phone call. The call that no parent ever wants to hear.

The phone rang at two o'clock in the afternoon. I answered it. It was the hospital calling. Callng to tell us that our daughter, Suzanne, had been rushed to the hospital after a classmate found her lying unconscious on the floor of the women's restroom at her school. Apparently she had collapsed.

Paramedics couldn't arouse her. She was rushed to the nearest hospital via ambulance; doctors and nurses soon took over her care.

Even from the start, the news was not good. She apparently suffered a brain aneurysm: a blood vessel had swollen, burst, inside her brain, sending a rush of blood coursing through her brain, rendering her unconscious. She was in a comatose state, doctors said; there was no indication of whether she would ever wake up again.


It's been like this ever since. Except the scenery has changed a bit. Instead of a hospital room, our daughter now lies motionless in a nursing home, where skilled workers can continue to give her daily care, monitor her vital signs.

She still languishes in an irreversable coma.

Every day that passes, there's little less in the way of hope. One day is like the others. Yet, as her parents, we can't give up. We are pulling for her, praying desperate prayers to Heaven, praying that she opens her eyes, responds to stimuli, move around. We are praying for that miracle that seems awfully hard to reach.

Suzanne lies on her back now, being turned every two hours, so she doesn't get bed sores, which would only complicate matters She's had some sores, but thank God they were able to be treated without too many problems.

A feeding tube gives her needed nourishment during mealtimes, IV's give her meds, keep her fluid levels up, and catheters rid her body of wastes.

She has gotten extremely thin, resembling a little girl of ten more than an almost-woman. Her hair is done up in a makeshift ponytail, making her appear younger than she really is. It's heartbreaking to see her in this manner.

We speak to her, call her name, touch her, hoping for some sort of response. Doctors, nurses come in every five/fifteen minutes, checking vital, neurological responses. Like me, like my husband, they hope for that miracle that seems impossible now.

Because of her inability to get up, she sometimes wears diapers. It breaks our hearts; she looks no older than a baby, yet we know for a fact that she is. She's much larger, for one thing. The diapers keep her clean, catch waste that escape the tubes somehow; these are changed every hour or so, to prevent even more bedsores.

She's bathed every day, twice, so to keep her smelling nice, to keep her as clean as possible. We sometimes help in the bathing/diapering process; sometimes we even help flush out her feeding tube, hang the bags of liquid food up on poles, so she can "eat", get the needed nourishment, to keep her hydrated.

We sing to her, play her favorite rock music tapes, read her favorite books to her. She's crazy about Lurlene McDaniel. Personally, I find Lurlene's books depressing--they're all about death/dying; why can't she read something that's a little happier?? She also loves the Little House books; we read those to her, too, anything to keep her stimulated.

We hold her hands, stroke her hair, her arms, her face. We try to fix her hair in different styles (impossible at times, since she's lying down), we try to make her look attractive to all who visit her.

Luckily, she gets lots of visitors. Her school pals, her teachers, even the principal, come. They talk to her, too, tell her of the latest happenings. She gets visits from her current boyfriend, who has remained steadfast, supportive of her in her hour of need.

Even her little brothers come see their sister. They are ten and eight; they are much too young to understand what's happening to their sister. Yet they want to see her, so we bring the boys to see her.

It is upsetting, but life is not all good; we want them to learn that. We also want them to learn that even in the most desperate of situations, good things can happen, and maybe one day she will wake up, emerge from her present state.

When she does wake up--that is, if she does--, she will more than likely be severely disabled, severely brain damaged. She will require 24-hour medical care, just as she gets here at the Golden Vista Nursing Home. Things don't look good for Suzanne right now; however, if we know our Suzanne, she will emerge from this coma, will come back fighting hard, to regain what she's lost.

*End of part one*

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 12/1/2007
A heart wrenching story, brought me to tearts, because it aas an Aneursym that took Melissa...
God Bless
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 11/30/2007
A heart wrenching story, one that I can sadly relate to...
peace and love, Carole~
Reviewed by Staci Gansky-Wagner 11/30/2007
This story makes us all think anything can happen at any time to anyone. So every day is a blessing, and we must enjoy what we have now. A very good write Karen :)
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 11/30/2007
A deep message here to make us aware that we can't foresee events but that we could and should be prepared for any hardship that are thrown at us and thank the Lord that we are capable to cope with them.
Reviewed by d. k 11/30/2007
A very sad story indeed. How can any parent be prepared for something beyond their control. All that's lef is to wait, watch, talk and sing to her, but above all pray. An excellent write that tugs at a parent's emotions. Keep up the good work!

Reviewed by Mr. Ed 11/30/2007
Nothing had prepared her--or us--for the events that were to take place, events that changed her life--and ours--completely.

So very, very sad, and a profound message for us all.
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 11/30/2007
A very sad story indeed and something that every parent fears about their children. We all pray for miracles yet I believ we are the one who suffers as we watch hoplessly waiting and praying that God will do what He feels is the best because you can't watch the suffering anylonger. Thank you Karla for sharing.

Newfie Hugs are on the way, Rose
Reviewed by Ted Bossis 11/30/2007
So sensitive to forward & only can look at the forward endless larger picture...All love & faith * Ted
Reviewed by Felix Perry 11/30/2007
As Karen stated it is a sad story for the line between love and life is a very thin one. Perhaps in this case her parents are hoping for a miracle and the doctors have given them some hope that she may recover to some capacity what she was. I can tell you I watched my brother in a coma with multiple organ failures to the point that the doctors and specialists said even if he did survive he would be little more than a vegetable. I made the decision that day and ordered him off life support systems. Sometimes if you love someone than you must let them go...

Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 11/30/2007

A sad, sad story...Mother suffering right along with daughter. Very well penned.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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