Mother’s Last Hours
On Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m., after a nice Sunday dinner at moms and a few games of Euchre, my younger brother, Mike and I were getting ready to leave. I reached out to give mom a hug. She had a great big smile on her face and said she felt so good she thought she would live another 10 yrs., so I spontaneously twirled her around and we danced the jitterbug for a few seconds. We laughed and giggled then I kissed her good bye and told her I’d be over in the morning to fix her hair and get her ready for a 1:00 appointment with her lawyer. She had the papers drawn up the previous week, changing her ‘Will’ and was planning to set the preliminaries for divorce proceedings. She was so happy and really looking forward to getting out of her “unhappy marriage” as she had tried three times before. Mom was on the brink of starting a new life, when it was purposely snatched away from her, by people who were suppose to take care of her.
I dropped Mike off at his house, went home, watched TV for a little while and went to bed early. Then around 9:30 p.m. I got a mixed message call from my stepdad. He said, in a very pleasant voice, “Momma’s having a spell and she’s not feelin’ good”. I asked to talk to her, he said, “Nope, she can’t come to the phone, she said she was dying”. I then said, “She has a phone by her bed, put her on that phone”. Hes aid, “Nope, she can’t talk, she’s not breathin’ good”. I said, “How long has she been like that?” He said, “Doh, about an hour or two”, I said, “I’ll be right there”. His tone of voice was happy and he didn’t seem the least bit alarmed, plus he had a warped sense of humor, so I thought maybe she was just having an allergic reaction to something she ate. I had absolutely no idea, how accurate his words were. Besides, he surely would have called 911, if she said she were dying. A small child has sense enough to do that.
I got dressed and headed back for the 20 mile drive from my house to my mother’s house. I arrived shortly after 10:00 p.m. When I entered, the living room, Glen was sitting in his easy chair, as usual, watching TV and eating a fudgesicle. I went directly to my mother’s bedroom, totally unprepared for the shocking, heart wrenching, scene, that stared me in the face.
There mom was, lying on her bed, incoherent and unresponsive. Her eyelids were partially open and her eyes were rolled back. Her mouth was open, desperately gasping for air. Her right leg would twitch every few seconds, but she couldn’t move, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t blink and was gasping for air. I wondered why Glen didn’t call 911.
My first reaction was to administer CPR and call 911. I reached for her bedside phone, but there was no dial tone, the line was dead. I later discovered her phone had been unplugged. Glen was still watching TV and didn’t offer any help. I screamed toward the living room, at the top of my voice, “Glen, call 911″. He ignored my plea, so I ran to use the kitchen phone. I looked over and saw him calmly sitting there, just a few feet away, glued to the TV.
Teary eyed and frantic, I yelled at him, ‘Why didn’t you call 911?”. He kept watching TV, shrugged his shoulders and said, in a slow drawn out voice, “I d-o-n-‘t k-n-o-w”. He wouldn’t look at me,that’s when I noticed a dark mark on his forehead.
I grabbed the phone and ran from the kitchen, back to moms’ bedroom, while dialing 911. I felt relieved because the squad was on the way. Mom’s false teeth were lodged in her throat. I removed her teeth and continued CPR,while waiting for the squad. Crying uncontrollably, I begged mom to hold on.
Then out of know where, my step sister-in-law, Nancy appeared at mom’s bedroom door, with a vital signs monitor in her hand, beside her was her step daughter-in-law, Crystal. Nancy slowly walked toward mom and me, Crystal stopped in the doorway. Neither of them seemed the least bit concerned, over the life and death struggle, taking place before them, they were totally unemotional and didn’t say a word. Neither one asked what happened. I believe they already knew, because they were there earlier, between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. and caused mom’s fatal condition.
It seemed so odd to me, seeing Nancy and Crystal together, Nancy didn’t like Crystal. Not very many people did.
Nancy walked around the bed to where I was frantically working to keep mom alive and without speaking, she placed a vital sign monitor cuff around mom’s upper left arm.
Crystal wouldn’t enter the room, she just stood in the doorway, as if she were assessing the end results, of her part, in the tragic scene. Both of their demeanor’s were perfectly calm. They showed no emotion. Then Nancy finally spoke and ordered me to quit giving mom CPR.I politely said, “No”. She said again, rather firmly, “Quit giving her CPR”,her vital signs are normal”. I said, again, just as firmly, “NO”. Then Crystal, still standing in the doorway, spoke up and said, “Do you want me to call your brothers and sister?”. I said, “yes…..Then for the third time, Nancy DEMANDED me to quit CPR. I glared at her, through my tears, and yelled loud and clear, “N-O-O-O-O”.
Just at that moment, the squad arrived and broke the mounting tension, between Nancy and me. The paramedics were lifting mom onto a gurney when my brothers Pat and Mike pulled into the driveway.
I could finally relax for a few seconds. I took a deep breath and pondered briefly over the puzzling sequence of events, that had just taken place over the past few hours. The pondering was short lived, Tisha, the ambulance driver, quickly snapped me back into reality, by asking me if I wanted to ride, with my mother to the hospital. I gladly said, “Yes” and started toward the door.
I glanced over at my stepdad, looking for a glimmer of emotion or sadness, he displayed none. He silently sat there in his chair, focused on the TV. He never even looked at mom or me as we went out the door. I thought, he was so cold hearted. There went his wife of 18 years, right past him, strapped to a gurney and fighting for her life and he didn’t even care, he must have been on his third or fourth fudgesicle by that time. That’s when I noticed the bloody mark on his forehead, again. Perhaps a defensive wound.
I climbed in the front seat of the ambulance, next to Tisha, the driver, who is also Nancy Gallwitzes sister-in law. It was a dark rainy August night, as we sped down the country road, for the half hour ride to the Knox Community Hospital. My two brothers followed in their car.
Tisha was complaining about the blinding glare from the ambulance console. So I took off my over blouse and covered the console. It blocked the glare and she thanked me.
I turned around and begged mom to hold on, that’s when I saw the two male paramedics, inserting a large tube down her throat. My worst fears were realized. Mom was being put on a breathing machine. I held onto a thread of hope that once we got to the hospital, the Dr’s. would revive her.