Should You Be An Organ Donor? Our Story. Traumatic Brain Injury.
Our Family Story.
I have been putting off telling our story, but I think I need to now. It was sad and awful time for us.
Something I hope never to go through again. We all hope we go before our children, but it doesn't always happen. Our child almost went before us.
I have always believed in being an organ donor and I have told my kids they should be, and then one day the most terrible thing happened. The phone call parents never want to get.
We were heading for bed early because it was near the holidays and we were exhausted. The phone rang and I heard my husband say, "I just don't know." Then he handed the phone to me and our son's friend was on the other end and ask if our son was allergic to any drugs. I told him none I knew of. I was already putting my clothes back on while talking on the phone. I could hear our son yelling in the background. My husband and I felt like our hearts were going to jump out of our chest. We wanted to get to him as fast as we could.
We can live with our own sickness, but it's awful when it's our kids. I felt the same way when our oldest son got very sick while in Saudi Arabia and we couldn't get there to be with him.
We both finished throwing on clothes, called the rest of our kids and we took off for the hospital. Friends of our son had gathered and were looking at us with sad eyes. The doctors were saying they didn't know if our child would make it.
The flight life would be coming soon and he would be taken to a bigger hospital. Traumatic brain injury they said. His heart had stopped on the way to the hospital. I won't go into the full story. Just what happened to us in the hospital?
Our daughter's friend was there to meet the flight. She lived in the city
In The Hospital.
I have to tell you first we never saw his doctor he never came out to speak to us. We only saw a physician's assistant. She was the only one we dealt with and she didn't like us because we questioned everything.
When you're in the hospital with a family member things are so different than you thought they would be. Faster than you can think they want to turn off the machines. Why do they want to turn off machines, because they want the organs? They're throwing the papers in your face. When they ask you, they have made the decision your loved one will not make it. You're not ready to let go. After an EEG, they told us he had flat lined (brain dead). We couldn't kill our baby.
They make you feel like a loser because you won't sign the papers. Believe me; things really change when it's your loved one in the hospital bed. We were afraid to sign the papers. We didn't know the law in our state. Could they turn off the machines without our permission? We thought as long as we didn't sign those papers they would keep the machines going.
We saw the nurses and doctors giving us dirty looks and heard them talking behind our backs about how foolish we were. Every day they came after us with the donor papers in their hands asking us to sign. They did this over and over again. We were not giving up not so soon on our son, not once did one of them say they were sorry for what we were going through.
Doctors can be intimidating. Don't look at them as celebrities. Stand up for yourself and do what you believe in your heart is best. Don't let them bully you.
Our son didn't die, two months later he came home with us. If we had let them turn off the machines would he have made it? I don't think so.
The machines and the medication they gave him helped keep the brain swelling down. If he had not had them he would have been brain dead. They had already told us he was brain dead. We would just not believe it. I will give them much credit for what they did to save him. I also think we saved him because we fought for him.
Organ donor is the right thing to do if you feel this way, but I'm just saying be very, very careful. We will never be organ donors.
No More Check Marks.
Clipboard girl just about followed us all over the hospital!
I have taken the check mark off my driver's license for an organ donor. I will let my family decide.
Think twice before you turn the machines off so fast. Wait, give your loved one time. If we had not waited our son would not have made it.
When they realized he was going to make it they told us he would never be able to do anything for himself. They had decided they would transfer him to a nursing home which takes care of this kind of patient.This nursing home was four hours away from us. We told them it wasn't going to happen we would decide where he would go and our plans were to bring him home and try to take care of him. I don't know if we could have done it, but we would try. If he had to go into a nursing home it would be near us.
Trying To Recover.
I wish I could say once he woke up our nightmare with the hospital ended, it didn't. We still had to fight with them tooth and nail for his health. They do things behind your back without telling you. They weren't letting his friends in and didn't tell us they had stopped them from seeing him. One day our son said to me "Mom, I'm so sad." This did it we made them open his curtains and let light in. When we found out they had stopped visitors we insisted they let them in.
We also insisted they take one doctor completely off his case. I watched him when he would come in to see our son. If our son held out his hand to shake the doctor's hand the doctor wouldn't touch him. He talked to us like we were dumb. Reasons enough not to have him as our son's doctor.
We started to see improvement with him from this day on. When he got on the phone and dialed numbers without help they were shocked.
Another thing happened to him, a woman would come in and use this machine on his chest each day to keep his lungs open so he wouldn't get pneumonia. He was like a little kid. He didn't want it on his chest. I held his arms down, but couldn't hold his feet down. He managed to raise his foot up and push her away. She threw the pump at his head. The heavy pump just missed his head. I was so mad.
She knew what wing and floor she was on; she knew what she would have to deal with when it was brain injury patients. She could have really hurt him. He didn't hurt her; they should have sent help with her in the first place. He was not the only young person on this wing with a brain injury. He tried to tell her he was sorry, she would turn her back on him. Why in the world would they have someone like this crazy woman working on the floor or for that matter even in the hospital?
With brain injuries, patients almost always rant and rave and say words they would never say otherwise. Our son did this to my husband one day. I was sick and didn't make it to the hospital this day. The nurses ask my husband how he could stand the rants. My husband told them he is our child and we love him. He can't help what is going on in his brain. He asks her if she had read the brain book. She should have known all patients with traumatic head injuries did this without realizing what they're doing.
They were constantly telling us to read this brain book they had given us. Our son-in-law did read the book and he told us exactly what it said. The big problem the doctors hadn't read the book and they truly needed to do this and maybe they would have understood their patient better.
There were three young people on the floor all three had brain injuries. The girl on the floor was always trying to get out and banging on the doors. They're grown, but they're like children.
Life wasn't easy for him after he got out of the hospital it took awhile. His job was gone, a job he loved doing. His life was so completely different.
He is now doing great. We have never been sorry we fought with the hospital over turning off the machines.
Be A Hospital Advocate
When a family member is in the hospital you should always be there to be the patient's advocate. I was told this many years ago by a friend who's son was in the hospital. There are so many things which can and do go wrong.
One day they tried to take our son to surgery. They were heading out with his bed when my husband caught them and pulled the bed back. He had to almost fight with them to get them to understand they had the wrong person.
Another day our son was given a powerful medication called Haldol. When I got in the room he had his arms in the air and was shaking and said to me "Mom, what's wrong with me." I started asking questions and the nurse told me what had happened, she was also upset and said they should not have put him on this medication. This is the same medication they put Andrea Yates on the woman who murder her five children. They also gave him more than they were claiming to have given him.
When our son-in-law walked in wearing a suit and caring a briefcase the doctors in the room went into a full panic mode. They thought he was a lawyer, it was actually pretty funny.
Thank goodness our son was ok. I can tell you from this moment on we told them we didn't want him to have any medication until they told us and explained what the medication was for.
He was transferred later to a hospital in the city where his sister lived. The nurse there accused us of trying to take all he had she said she had seen this happen many times. She said this because his sister had come to the hospital and had tried to see him. This hospital had also tried to put him in a dark room with no company allowed.
The girl must have been crazy our son didn't have anything. He had no money. His job was on the line because he wasn't there hadn't been for almost two months, in the end, he never got his job back. When all was said and done and he did come home he had a $100,000.00 bill what his insurance did not pay. We were his family just there to take care of him. He didn't have a wife but did have a girlfriend. They had only dated a short time and were not living together.
This is just my story about what happen to us in the hospital.
I'm Not A Crusader.
I have been criticized because I refused to berate families who have donated organs. I have been told I care only for myself because I won’t denounce those parents who have donated their children’s organs. This is a choice they have to make I’m not a judge of what other people decide to do. I’m also not a crusader I just wanted our story of our son out there.
What I do know is being an organ donor stops a beating heart. Does God really want me to do this? I don't know the answer, but it worries me to stop that beating heart.
I feel very sad for all family members who have to make this decision.
Ben Utecht and His Traumatic Brain Injury
- June 28, 2014: Utecht writes songs for daughters - StarTribune.com
Former Gophers and NFL tight end Ben Utecht wrote his daughters a letter expressing his love in case he reaches a point some day when he can’t remember them because of the damage inflicted on his brain.
Father Saves Son's Life. Hospital Was Turning Off Machines.
- Father brings gun to hospital to buy time for his ‘brain dead’ son | fox13now.com
HOUSTON -- A Texas father has been released from jail after police say he brought a gun to a hospital to stop the staff from taking his son off of life support. George Pickering II's son was declared "brain-dead" after he suffered a massive stroke in
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Should You Be An Organ Donor. Our Story.