This Is What’s Going On

8:08 pm · category: The Whole Fam Damnly

During a concert at which she was performing on Saturday evening, my mother’s vision started to blur. After being transported to the local hospital, she said her name was “Rhonda Jail” (It’s Rhonda Gale.), but she couldn’t remember her last name, birth date, etc. Her blood pressure was through the roof (At one point, her systolic reading was 200.). Regardless, she seemed to be stable and vaguely lucid, if not entirely coherent. However, a test (At this point, I can’t remember if it was a CT scan, MRI, or something else.) revealed blood on her brain. She was to be sent to UAMS* Hospital via MedFlight, but a catastrophe on the Louisiana border ended up necessitating the use of the helicopter and she was transported to the new hospital via ambulance.

When Mama arrived at UAMS, the EMTs reported that she had remained conscious and sort of lucid for the bulk of the 60-mile trip. She was admitted and more tests were initiated. During that time her blood pressure continued to fall to more normal levels, with her systolic reading hovering in the 150-160 range. She was intubated and put on a ventilator to make certain she was able to breathe in case anything changed and precluded that. The neurosurgeon who was called in suspected an arterial burst and asked for the family’s permission to drill a small hole in her temple to insert a wire of some sort that would monitor the pressure in her head, among other things. However, ten minutes later he returned and said that the doctor to whom they’d sent the test results via computer (It was approximately 2 a.m. by then.) did not suspect an arterial burst but rather a mass of some sort, so they would not be doing the drill-and-wire thingie. Mama was moved to CCU, and another MRI was scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday morning. I went home at 6 a.m. to get some rest.

At 7:45 a.m. I received a call from one of my sisters saying they had discovered more bleeding on the brain, her vitals were destabilizing, and her blood pressure was rising again. Mama was rushed into emergency surgery, during which they drained as much blood as they could and took tissue samples from her brain around the affected area. She was then returned to CCU.

At this point she remains in CCU with no diagnosis. Her vitals have remained within normal parameters except for the incident prior to the emergency surgery on Sunday morning. She is in a medically induced coma to keep her from trying to remove the ventilator tube and provide her body the opportunity to attempt to begin healing itself. She was given a feeding tube this afternoon, and she fought the insertion and actually pulled it out at one point, so they increased the medication to sustain/vamp up the intentional coma. I’m told her reaction is a good sign.

If things remain as they currently are, they will attempt to take Mama off the ventilator tomorrow and see if she comes around. There is, of course, still no diagnosis, as the test results from the tissue sample have not returned. We do not know if there is a mass and likely will not know for a few more days.

I appreciate the good thoughts and prayers from my internet friends, especially the WD contingent. Grace and Jordan have also been wonderful. Thank you all very much.

*Yes, we do in fact have some top-notch medical facilities in Arkansas, including UAMS, Children’s Hospital, and others.

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