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Marsha Lynn Christiansen
Apr 15, 2018 Latest post:
Jul 5, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. I probably should have started this site long ago for my sister, Marsha, but we were all anticipating an improvement. For those of you who don’t know how this all started, I will give you a quick overview. Over the last year or two, the family was seeing a decline in Marsha’s health and behavior. Losing her balance, even falling, forgetting appointments, not paying her bills, and especially not taking her medicine. We banded together as a family, and approached her about what was going on. We went to the doctor together, and discussed what was happening. She ended up going to Rochester Mayo for tests. She had a Pet scan, brain scan, and spinal tap that told us all what was happening. She has been diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, water on the brain. Her brain matter is shrinking, and then builds up fluid in the brain to protect any movement. There were not many options, except surgery to put a shunt in the brain. When she had the spinal tap, they removed 6 teaspoons of spinal fluid. This improved her memory and balance immediately. Marsha chose to hold off her surgery until October 27th, 2017. There were family events and a sorority reunion to attend. She was worried about how she would look with the scar and hair missing. That’s my sister! The surgery was to take about 2 hours, with a one night stay overnight. She was still tired, and asked if she could stay for one more night. We were at St Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. They said no problem. During the night of the 2nd day, I received an emergency phone call that Marsha was in intensive care having seizures. We all drove to Rochester, and couldn’t believe what was happening. She was intubated, which shocked all of us. What was to be a one night stay over, became 20 days in St Mary’s Hospital. Marsha had seizures almost every day. I witnessed her 2nd grand mal seizure, and I was in sheer panic mode. I had never seen an actual seizure before. We were moved 7 times in those 20 days, 3 times to intensive care, and 4 other recovery rooms. She had a brain bleed in the area of the shunt, which doctors said was causing the seizures. The doctors thought she would recover from this, but every day she was a little bit worse. She could not stand, eat by herself, or any of the normal taking care of yourself routines. The seizures were numerous, and every one took it’s toll on her brain. When they had her meds stabilizes, I had to find a short term facility that would take her for rehab. We ended up at Koda Living Community in Owatonna, where both Marsha and I live. She had physical, occupational, and speech therapy, for 2 months, with no improvement. Medicare wouldn’t pay anymore, so she had to move to an assisted living facility. She has to be moved with a sling style lift for everything. She is unable to feed herself, or toilet, dress etc. Her memory has taken a toll, especially short term. She can speak normally, however, her brain takes a very long time to process anything, so she doesn’t speak very often, and usually just a few words at best. About 10 days ago, Brookdale called me to say she had another grand mal seizure. She has lost weight, 13 pounds just this month! She eats very little, and not every meal. Last weekend, the doctor for the facility, told me to think about hospice. She said Marsha will probably continue having seizures, and she will not get better. She will continue to deteriorate. I am devastated. She was evaluated for hospice and qualified. We do not know a time frame. It could be weeks, months, even years, just that she won’t be getting better. She had a music therapist come on Friday. She really enjoyed that! She even sang some of the songs with me. Her long term memory is pretty good. Short term, not so much. This is all because a simple surgery went bad. Sometimes it feels like a bad dream. Marsha’s address is: Brookdale Senior Living Community 334 Cedardale Dr SE B10 Owatonna, MN 55060