Member Rara Avis
Durban, South Africa
Some of you will have received these 2 emails. After receiving the first, I emailed Shannon, asking her to ask Lindaís permission to put her email into discussions. As you will see from the second reply, Linda said it was fine to put in as we saw fit, so I thought putting in both emails would be the best.
Please can you all pray very hard for our wonderful Linda.
Owl (Please read both emails below. They are from Shannon, Linda's daughter).
This is Linda's daughter, Shannon, writing. Mom has asked me to email some of her closest friends to let you know that she is in hospital (She ordered me not to say anything before now). I took her to our local ER (at Milton District Hospital) on the afternoon of Christmas Eve because she was experiencing very shallow breathing and had great difficulty moving. 4 hours in, she had a heart attack (her first ever) and was moved to the hospital's ICU once she had recovered (on her own without paddles, etc.). Day before yesterday, the hospital felt she was stable enough for a move to the Medical Surgical unit in the hospital. Very shortly after her transfer, she had another larger heart attack, at which point the doctor called me and told me to call her family for last words - the worst moment of my life to date by far. Within 15 minutes of her brother and us arriving at the hospital, Mom had miraculously "snapped out of it" as the doctor put it (again, without paddles, etc.), and was alert and asking for food, talking up a storm, not even aware she had just had a major heart attack 15 minutes prior. No one could get over her strength and will to live. Medical staff were shaking their heads and sitting down in her ICU room in disbelief...I told them she would amaze them and they actually listened this time.
What strikes me is this...Before I told my mom what had happened, she told me that she had just come out of this weird, but very real dream where she was in a massive wind tunnel with her hair blowing right back,and a very bright, full light was approaching her fast from the distance. When she got to the light, she said she was given a choice on whether to go through the light, or to turn around and see her kids. If she chose the first, she'd be choosing to go to Heaven; if she chose the second, she could see her family, but it was going to be painful. Mom said she paused for a second, sucked it up and decided, "I want to see my kids," at which point, she said, she felt an awesome pain in her chest and a gasp of air. Her eyes rolled forward from the back of her head, she looked up and saw Erin and I standing there. She said she knew she had made the right choice once she had seen us, although she didn't know what had happened. I told her what the doctors had just told us and she was awe struck. A strange look came over her face then and she said, "I guess I just decided I don't want to die then!" And then she asked me for an apple. She said she had too much to do this year to not be here. It was the strangest, happiest thing I have ever witnessed.
Mom remains in ICU with a lot of concerns floating in the air now, but her spirits are fairly high. Yesterday was a good day. I was actually able to give her a facial as she sat up, and Erin and I talked wedding and other girl stuff with her, which she very much loved. She was laughing so loudly, we had to tell her to calm down and breathe in her oxygen (she's down to just nasal prongs from a breathing bypass machine, which is amazing)... We have been told that her heart is very weak and her kidneys are near failing, which worries me. We've also learned that she has pneumonia, which is being taken good care of by a myriad of strong drugs as her lungs are clearing nicely. Under normal circumstances, one might have open heart surgery or some other procedure to make things better for the heart and other arteries (she's got congestive heart failure and blocked arteries everywhere); however, we have been given the distinct impression that there is nothing a hospital can do for my mom but to keep her comfortable. Her Internist is liasing with Trillium Hospital as we speak, to see if Cardiology over there is willing to take a look at her or accept her as a transfer patient. It will be a couple more days at least before we hear anything from them. We're not sure they'll be able to help since Mom is so sick, but you never know, I guess.
In the meantime, Mom is pretty scared (as we all are), but is remaining in good spirits. We all still remain hopeful that her body will heal on its own, and that someone will let her go on dialysis to help the process (it can be pretty taxing on the heart, apparently). I don't know how long she will remain in the ICU or when or if she will be able to come home to a regular life. Her blood pressure, gases, sugars, etc. all look good right now, but she needs to be on oxygen and she has little energy to move. We pray every day for her, and I hope you will do the same, too. There's great power in prayer and numbers, I hear...
Visitors are kept pretty tight in the ICU, but she is permitted to have 2 close family members or friends with her at a time, if you are able to visit. There are no regular visiting hours in that ward, so people can come at any time day or night. They only suggest that you don't arrive between 12 pm and 2:30 pm, as that is rest time, and you don't come during the 7-8 pm shift change because they are very busy transfering things around to be able to answer the phone. Once you get up to the ICU, there is a phone on the wall that you just pick up and it will ring the nurses' station phone. You just say that you're there to visit Linda Dowd and then you can go through the doors. Mom is the last room around past the nurses' station by the exit doors on the right. It's a very small unit with only a maximum of 5 or 6 patients in at a time, so she's not hard to find. It's a very nice and cozy unit with big, bright spacious rooms. We're very comfortable there.
I'm sorry to relay all of this information so quickly and impersonally, but I am spending the bulk of my days at the hospital where I can only use a phone in the waiting room, and with email, I can reach more people quicker. I would have written sooner, but Mom did not want to put a damper on anyone's holidays. She hopes you've all been able to have wonderful Christmases and New Years.
Shannon and family
Hello lovely ladies,
I was speaking to Mom last night and tonight and she said that it's okay if someone makes a post on PIP about what's going on with her. She said you can write what you wish. She feels badly that she's been out of touch with the PIP community for so long (she feels some would think she is simply ignoring them), but in truth, she has just been too weak to be on the computer writing the way she used to. Her health at present is very poor, but she and our family remain hopeful that she will somehow heal or improve to the point where she can come home again. In the meantime, she's made herself quite comfortable in the ICU and has become a favourite among her doctors and nurses, who sit and talk with her regularly. Her positive outlook on life, strong will to live, and selfless good nature have been (I am told by staff) an inspiration to others. They all say she's one special lady. I could've told them that.
Thank you again for your prayers. Keep 'em coming!