My profile in the bio of this blog states that our eldest daughter “passed away in her sleep” due to cardiac arrest. This is true but not the whole story of what happened that morning.
While it is true that we feel (most “we” here refers to my husband and Izzy’s father) that Isabel left us that morning, it is also true that the EMTs and firefighters got her to the Stanford Hospital minutes from our house, where an amazing surgeon put her on an ECMO life support machine, after two hours of CPR. Normal protocol might suggest that there is little hope for a person’s brain and organ function after two hours of CPR due to low oxygen intake, but Izzy’s age most likely prompted the amazing team to do everything they could. And they did. When I say that Izzy left us that morning, never do I imply that Stanford didn’t do their utmost best for her for the next five days she was on life support. Her death certificate reads June 24th as her official passing. That is a truth, but not the whole story.
Firstly, I want to clean up the misconception that I created in the early, panicked, horrified, shock-inducing first days that Izzy suffered a heart attack. I used this term on Facebook and it caught and spread, but it is inaccurate. A heart attack usually occurs when there is a blockage of some sort and the heart still attempts and struggles to function. It can be felt. It has symptoms. The person is often awake and conscious of what is happening. In a cardiac arrest, the heart simply stops.
In the early morning hours of June 20, 2018, Izzy’s heart stopped. She did not suffer. She did not feel pain. She went to sleep that night, and then she left us.
But that is not the beginning of this story. There is so much to say, so much to think and feel and know, and I’ve finally come to a point where I need to write about it. It’s what I do. My mode of spiritual transportation, so to speak. The posts won’t be chronological to what happened or has happened, I can see that now. They will be what I need to say, when I need to say it, and I feel this is proper anyway. Time is not linear. (Time is a flat circle, all right, all right all right). There is the chronological time of history, and there is the nebulous “time” of our collective consciousness that is not beholden to any such barrier or restrictions.
And yes, if you’re not down with, or at least open to this kind of talk, what I write here probably isn’t for you because there likely will be a lot of it. But I’ve learned a few things, seen a few things, felt a whole lot of things that have given us peace through this experience and part of what I want to do here is share whatever I can to give hope to those who are hurting, just as it has helped me.
Thank you for reading.