When my twin daughters, Macy and Mallory, were born at 27 weeks gestational age, I bought The Premature Baby Book by Helen Harrison (this was pre-internet). Between the two girls, they had every go wrong that could go wrong according to the book. They defied all odds and were true miracles. You can read their birth story here.
When Mallory was quite sick a few years ago, we had power of attorney papers drawn up. That way I could consent treatment for her and talk to the providers on her behalf. The lawyer asked if I’d like a copy for Macy as well since it would basically only involve changing the first name. We said sure, and life went on. The Monday before Easter, Macy suggested that we get those papers notarized so that I could talk to the doctors’ offices about her medical bills and such as she’s been sick on and off the last six months.
The next day (Tuesday), while I was talking to her while she was driving (through bluetooth), I lost her. When she called me back, she said she “spaced out” for a second and ran off the road. She was fine but shaken up. Wednesday, she woke up with the left side of her face droopy, a pain behind her left eye and blurry vision. She went to the eye doctor who prescribed her eye drops for pink eye. My kids have had pink eye before, and I can tell you that she did not have pink eye.
Thursday, still not feel well, Macy went to work without makeup and her hair not done (definitely a sign she’s not well). Her left side was getting weaker, and she dropped her hair clippers on a customer (she’s a cosmetologist). She went to the spend the night at a friend’s house and fell up the stairs getting even weaker.
Friday morning, she had a follow-up with the eye doctor that sent her on to a neuro-opthamologist. That specialist said nothing was wrong with her, and that she was just being vain! She text me a selfie of her drooping face and called me crying how she was getting weaker and just didn’t feel good and frustrated that nobody believed her. I believed her, so I drove to Omaha, picked her up and took her to the UNMC emergency room.
Macy had all of the symptoms of a stroke, and has a history of blood clots as she is a Factor V carrier, but the cat scan didn’t show any bleeding on the brain. They ordered an MRI that only showed “spots of wisdom” which the doctor didn’t seem concerned about. When Macy started to have seizure-like twitching, they did an EEG to check for epilepsy, since her twin sister has epilepsy. That was negative as well.
They moved Macy to an observation floor, and since it was a holiday weekend, she basically laid there for three days. An occupational therapist finally admitted her since her left side was totally paralyzed now, and her right side was starting to starting to have paralysis as well. But the neurology floor was full, so she stayed in observatory.
Sunday night, as she laid almost totally paralyzed, her right arm slowly reached for the sky. She had a wet washcloth over her eyes. I asked what she was doing. She stuttered that she saw a bright white light and people coming towards her. She said the people seemed familiar, but they didn’t get close enough for her to recognize them.
A couple of hours later, she screamed “Mom!” When I asked what was wrong, she said God talked to her. He told her she was going home and that her mom needed to call someone to come sit with her because she was going to be very upset. I called my mom and cousin who then drove down at 3 in the morning.
Macy presumed “home” was Heaven, and she was fine with that. It was her that had to comfort me when I crawled into bed with her and held her. She told me things were going to be alright. She said she had wanted to visit more places before she died, but if God was ready for her, she was ready, too. She told me where to find her passwords for all her accounts and to give all her stuff to her sisters. She also said she could donate her heart to a classmate of mine (Laurie) that was in the same hospital awaiting a heart transplant.
When my mom and cousin Shauna arrived, Macy continued to get worse, and her organs were shutting down. When she became unresponsive, I put the pulse oximeter on her finger to check her stats. Her heart rate was 158 which I knew wasn’t good as a few months ago, the urgent care had called an ambulance on Macy when her heart rate spiked to 140 (normal is 60-100) after having become extremely dehydrated from influenza A.
It was now Monday, and it took Macy on her death bed to get the doctor’s attention. They finally ordered tests that I had been asking for and put in an I.V. Once Macy got fluids in her, it was like she came back to life! She then realized that when God said she was going home, that home must’ve been home to her apartment! And she felt bad that Laurie couldn’t have her heart (Laurie has since passed away, rest her soul). Macy has always been such a caring person worrying about everyone else.
Macy ended up having a myriad of tests, but none gave us an exact answer. The neurologists think she may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke or possibly a hemiplegic migraine with paralysis. Her bilirubin count was excessively high, so they checked numerous liver function tests (she doesn’t have a gallbladder anymore that usually causes high bilirubin). They came to conclusion she may have Gilbert’s Syndrome, which basically is a person with a high bilirubin count.
Macy has also had a lot of gastrointestional problems over the years from missing one-third of her colon as a baby. They did biopsies and diagnosed her with colitis and put her on Xifaxan (which she claims made her feel like a million bucks the last time she took it).
By Tuesday, the doctors could not believe how quickly Macy bounced back from nearly dying. She was once again a miracle! They talked about sending her home on Wednesday, but I told the doctors that there was something just not quite right with the way she was acting. And that’s when she went manic. I had never heard of post-stroke mania before, and now I know more than I care to know.
Slowly but surely, Macy is on the road to recovery and knows God has a plan for her. Thank you everyone for your continued prayers!