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Funeral arrangements made: East Lawn Mortuary 5757 Greenback Lane Sacramento, CA 95841 (916)732-2020
We will be having a funeral service this Thursday, November 13, 2003 at 7:30PM. We will be having a smaller outdoor burial service on Friday, November 14, 2003 at 10:30AM.
Bottom line: Jessica passed away yesterday afternoon. Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We are filled with much strength at this time knowing that God's plan was fulfilled through her. Continue to read for details.
I was unable to post anything yesterday because the hospital didn't have internet access available on Sunday.
The doctor pulled us aside Saturday night with an update on Jessica's condition. The neurologists had been in to see her, and concluded that she was not brain dead, but could possibly become so within the next couple of days. One of the procedures that could help relieve the pressure building up within the brain would be to take a piece of her skull out and insert a probe into one of the ventricles which could do a number of things to help. They would require a CT imaging scan before attempting this procedure. Since Jessica was hooked up to the heart-lung machine, it would have been unsafe to bring her to another part of the hospital to do the scan. Also because her blood needed to be thinned to be on the machine, the neurologists refused to do it because of the risk of bleeding into the brain. Dr. Roth (a very special man who was by Jessica's side almost incessantly) became tearful in telling us this. He really cared for us and Jessica and always held out hope that she would pull through this.
The doctor decided to try her off the heart-lung machine (clamp the tubes) and the breathing machine (ventilator) for 15 minutes to see how she would do on her own. She did really well. Dr. Roth started the long process of weaning her off the machines so that she might be able to do the procedure the next day.
We decided to get some sleep because we knew the following day would be a long one. We called our parents so that they would not be surprised if something happened to her the next day. Even though nothing would happen until the next morning, they all came immediately to the hospital and slept on the couches.
The next day, we sat by Jessica's bed and waited as they were still weaning her off the machines. Dr. Roth was there in the morning, but turned her over to a physician (Dr. Frankel) who was there to cover the weekend. The neurologists came by again, and there was much discussion about how to proceed.
In the end we were told that after much examination at the bedside, she was pronounced brain dead. They tried her off of the ventilator, and she did not respond this time. Their recommendation was to take her off of life support within the next couple of days. They left the decision to us as to when. We didn't want to prolong matters, so we had them do it that day. They stayed and answered our questions. They believe that the brain injury was due swelling which was caused by liver failure during surgery. She felt no pain. Her higher brain function had ceased by the time the pain and sleep medications had worn off. They are still unclear what causes the liver to fail. It is a mystery that Dr. Hanley (the surgeon) has been chasing after for 15 years.
Gene and I got to spend some extra time with her getting her cleaned up. We gave her a sponge bath and washed her hair. The nurse gave us her barrettes to put in her hair. Her face was so beautiful, it was almost glowing. The chaplain came and said a prayer with us at the bedside.
They let us be there as they stopped the machines. We watched her heart as it slowed to a stop at 4:19PM. We stepped out of the room as they pulled all of her tubes, closed up her chest, and got her all cleaned up. They gave us a private room to be with her and hold her. None of us hardly touched her while she was in the ICU to prevent infection, so this was a real special time and something that I will really cherish. The nurses were really touched by our love for her and were crying.
We believe that she actually left us sometime the day before. I like to think that when she waved her arm up and down that she was waving good bye.
I know she probably followed the light. She was always very facinated with lights. She doesn't need to suffer any longer. She was our angel who came to visit us for 6 months, and we are very grateful she did.
We have always prayed that God's will be done in her life. We believe it has. We had the best doctors working on her, but it was her time to go. God has a purpose for every life, and we know that she has fulfilled her purpose in her life and in her death. We have been able to be very strong through this whole thing. Our strength comes from above and is due to all of your prayers. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for thinking of us when you pray.
We know all of these things in our hearts and minds, but we still really miss her. It was hard coming home and seeing her things laying out as we had left them. Many people from our church were waiting outside to see us. We are thankful of their support in getting through the first few hours of being back home.
Now we just take things day by day, moment by moment. We will continue to gather strength from above and from each other. I told Jessica to pick out her brother or sister while she's up there and tell God to send them down. We still have hope for what the future holds.
I will be putting in a few more photos that we took of her before her surgery.
Jessica's last photosWe will miss you dearly, sweetie.