Jul 20, 2019 Latest post:
Aug 18, 2019
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I am not even sure how to start so I'll give you a little background.
Gwen grew up on a farm in St. Michael, MN in 1947. She was one of 7 children. She has lived a full and busy life. She played the role of moderator, brownie troop leader, hockey mom, cook, boo boo fixer, all while balancing work and family. We have many memories of biking, neighborhood walks, camping, baking, and fishing. She and my dad celebrated their 49th anniversary in February this year. They adopted 2 children, Sarah and David. They are blessed with four wonderful grandchildren, Elizabeth, Brandon, Jonas and Hannah.
In March 2019, my Mom was becoming increasingly short of breath without exertion. She was unable to walk 10 feet without stopping to rest. She visited her doctor, thinking it was some type of remnant from a cold. However, her oxygen saturation level was dangerously low at 70 (normally its around 99). She was admitted to North Memorial and this begins our story.
Mom was transferred to ICU for a few days before her condition stabilized. She was diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Failure and Congestive Heart Failure. Basically, she had a lot of fluid retention, which caused her lungs to not fully expand so she could exhale the carbon dioxide. She wasn't able to get enough oxygen in either. This caused confusion, dizziness and a frightening feeling of suffocation. Imagine quickly huffing and puffing into a paper bag.
We weren't given many options. Tracheostomy, nursing home or family home with CPAP. We opted out of the tracheostomy as that would eventually lead to a ventilator and then she couldn't communicate. We opted out of CPAP as wearing a device on your face at night caused her tremendous anxiety. This really wouldn't significantly extend her life to warrant this. My parents made the tough decision to just come home. She was placed in a hospice/palliative care program in March 28. She returned to their home the next day and we worked together to provide her the best round-the-clock care possible.
My parents, with the help of friends (Ruth Lehn is an angel) and the hospice team, managed her stay at home until the weekend of June 22nd. She was too weak to walk and her medication management became very challenging. She was admitted to respite care at JA Wedum and will be discharged to hospice care at St. Therese tomorrow on July 3rd.
This is where you come in. We can use your support and words of hope and encouragement. Dad will read your messages to her. (Her eyesight is diminished as well.)We would like the time she has to be shared with friends and family and filled with joy and laughter.
If you are able to visit her, she would love visitors anytime after 1pm. ST. THERESE 8000 BASS LAKE ROAD, ROOM 374, BED 1. If you are unsure of her schedule and how she's feeling, just text my dad. 763-913-7415 I hope to update this page weekly or as needed. Thank you again.