Mom is one tough cookie. Last summer, she underwent surgery to replace her aortic valve. After a few weeks she was back up on her feet and recovering and soon after that she was back into full Mom Mode--shopping online, caring for Aria and Addy, shopping at Costco (with help), drinking coffee (mainly decaf), and eating steak--RARE (albeit in much smaller portions).
Several weeks ago, Mom, thought she had hurt her back after trying, to no one's surprise, to move a king-sized mattress by herself. After three weeks of pain and several intermittent days of feeling "tired" and being "out of it", she finally went to the emergency room because Dad made her. What we found out next, as many of you know, came as a great surprise and shock to all of us. Mom's new aortic valve was infected, and she had been suffering minor strokes, as a result of this infection, which affected her speech and made her generally lethargic.
After spending two weeks with her in the hospital, Mom's team of doctors, including her cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. James Taylor, were able to stabilize her infection enough to perform the surgery to replace the infected valve and adjacent graft. The surgery was completed on the evening of March 24, and all seemed fine under the circumstances. We knew, though, that the road to recovery would be long--initial recovery from the surgery and speech therapy were just two steps in the process. The morning of post-op day 1, Mom was able to be weaned off sedation, extubated, and sit up in a chair. Unfortunately, later on that night Mom lost consciousness and had to be re-intubated and put back on sedation. This loss of consciousness was later attributed to seizures, which were the result of the past stroke symptoms evolving.
After the EEG reading confirmed seizure activity, she was started on anti-seizure medication. Dr. Anand Patel, her neurologist, and Dr. Taylor have monitored her status closely and continue to run tests to measure her brain function and evaluate her new valve and heart function. The CT scans have shown that there was no significant damage to her brain, though the doctors intend to run an MRI as soon as Mom's seizure activity is controlled to examine her brain in more detail.
We will utilize this page to provide you with updates on Mom's progress and status. At this time, Dad has kindly requested that no visitors come to see Mom at the hospital, as the doctors and nurses in the ICU are constantly attending to her, and she is in a highly restricted and sensitive area in the hospital. As soon as anything changes with respect to visitation, we will update you.
Dad is not currently asking for donations, but if you truly desire to make a donation of any kind, in lieu of any donations to Dad or Mom (including any CaringBridge "Tribute" donations), Dad has requested that you make donations in Mom's honor to the American Stroke Association (https://donatenow.heart.org/stroke/
))). Also, we have tentatively set up a "meal planner" page on this site if you would like to sign up to bring Dad dinner since he stays at the hospital most of the day and, honestly, can't boil water. While Au Bon Pain will miss his business, we are sure he'd love a home-cooked or otherwise freshly prepared meal. We are still working on the logistics for this, so we will let you know when Dad is ready for you to bring him food.
We have great faith in our Mom. She is a fighter--strong-willed, stubborn, and determined. We appreciate all of the love, support and kindness that all of you have shown to Mom, Dad and all of us during this very stressful and trying time. With your continued love and support, we are confident that Mom, Dad and our entire family will get through this very trying episode stronger than ever.
With much love,
Burt, Paul, Marissa, Adam, Steph, Landon, and Amanda