Wife. Mama. Amateur Cook. Pretend Sewer. Novice To All Things Domestic.

Stroke – Part 2.

Posted on: Tuesday, September 17, 2013


photo (2)




You can read part 1 of this story here.


The drive to Jacksonville is kind of fuzzy in my mind.  I remember Brooke & me stopping to pick up Skye and Leslie wrapping her arms around me. She held me so tight. She was scared. She wanted to shield us from this.

I promised to protect my sisters. To leave if things got too volatile. I promised that I would keep their mental and physical well being my main priority.

I remember the elevator. I remember pushing the button that would take us to the part of the hospital where the sickest people are kept. To the part of the hospital where things are a lot quieter… the sounds of machines a lot clearer.. the halls a lot darker. To the floor where a patient’s status is subject to change in the blink of an eye.

I remember walking into her room- blinking and allowing my eyes to readjust to the darkness, hesitant for things to come into focus.

She didn’t have a ton of equipment connected to her.

She didn’t look like a stroke patient. She seemed fine, wrapped up under blankets asleep in the small hospital bed.

I remember walking over to the bed, whispering “mom?”

No response.

I remember petting her hair, stroking her face, talking a little louder in hopes that my voice would register somewhere in her brain and she would open her eyes- if only for a second.


I remember my sisters each trying to get her to respond to them. I can see Brooke’s pained expression, tears trickling down her cheeks as she desperately begged our mom to wake up.

CT scans showed that there was a very large clot lodged in the left side of my mom’s brain.

It was still there. But medication would be futile because of the amount of time that had lapsed since the incident. Everything behind the clot had been cut off for so long.

It was too late. An entire section of her brain was gone.

The next morning we met the team of doctors handling my mom’s case.

I watched as they tried to illicit a response from my mother’s seemingly lifeless body. I watched as they administered painful stimuli in an effort to activate any type of response from her brain- all to no avail.

It is difficult to put into words the helplessness that one feels witnessing something like this.

You feel alone, confused, scared. You want to scream at the top of your lungs, to shove these people “hurting” your mom out of the room. You want to wrap your sisters up in your arms and carry them away from this pain.

You want to take it away. But you can’t. So you just stand there and try to be as strong as possible.

Things had taken a turn for the worse as they tend to do in these situations.

Because of the size of the stroke, her brain was beginning to severely swell inside of her skull.

If we did nothing, she would die.

They brought in a neurosurgeon who explained that in order to save my mom’s life, we needed to agree to let them perform a hemi-craniectomy. A surgery where they cut away part of the skull in order to allow the brain to continue to swell outside of its cavity.

They said she would be touch and go.

They said she may not make it.

They said this was our only chance at her surviving- that it would not fix her, but the goal being that life would be sustained if her body was strong enough to fight.

I remember all eyes on me.

I remember the doctors asking if I understood.

I remember my sisters and Mike staring at me with expectancy in their eyes; waiting for me to explain.

I remember the fear and uncertainty in my voice as my novice nursing brain scrambled to make sense of it all.

I remember everyone asking me what we should do and then I remember signing the consent forms.

Once the paperwork was signed, things starting speeding up. Time was of the essence.

The last thing I remember before they took our mom to surgery was asking for a few moments alone with her.

I remember my sisters and I each taking a minute to say what we felt needed to be said in case, you know, she didn’t come back.

I remember holding my sisters hands as we prayed over her body; begging God to give us more time. Pleading with Him to heal her.

I can still see the look on the man’s face as he said he was taking her now. I can still see her small body being wheeled down the hall and into the most important procedure of her life.


  • Meagan

    You are as I have always thought, a true inspiration to me. You have really blossomed into a very great woman, wife, and mother. You are a beautiful soul and now reading your blogs and seeing into your past, you impress me even more. With all that you have been through, you shine beautifully! Your blogs are amazing (even this one brought tears to my eyes)! Looking forward to the next post!! xoxo

  • Norma

    I remember your mom… So beautiful, just as she was in the car scene/driving photo. Also, I remember a young, naive and impressionable, and very caring person. Keep in mind, my impression is mixed with personal experience & hindsight. I too was ‘all of those things. Life experiences really change people but I’m certain I don’t need to tell you that. Every time I read your posts, I’m reminded of the importance of sharing my own story. I guess my bravery hasn’t grown up as much as yours just yet but I’m learning. Thank you again for your sincere honesty. You have a beautiful heart. ~N

    • Shayna Shayna

      Norma, you should definitely share your story. Everyone has a beautiful one and I believe that they are not ours alone to keep hidden away but meant to be used to help someone else in an effort to connect and love on other people. Like you’ve done with me. :)

  • Abby

    Wow, I am blown away at what you have written especially this part.. Your words spoke right through me, reminding me of the last moments I spent with my brother. Tears. Thank you so much. For this has truly blessed my heart.

  • Annette Wright

    Tears, my prayers continue.

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