Wednesday, November 28, 2007
An Angel Received Her Wings
The following is the last email I will ever receive from Mary:
Date: 11/21/2007 8:01:32 P.M. Central Standard Time
See you Friday afternoon. I can't find my bridal shower invitation is it
Friday or Saturday? HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am in a better place after the death of my good friend Mary. She was on her way to Tennessee to attend my daughter’s wedding. Unfortunately, for those of us who loved her God was ready for her to come home. I was with her husband when we arrived at Crittenden Memorial Hospital and saw that she was dead when we looked into her hospital room.
Mary would have never made the trip to Tennessee if she thought the cold she was suffering with was more than a cold. Mary suffered and lived with pulmonary sacroidosis that developed into pulmonary fibrosis (the abnormal formation of fiber-like scar tissue in the lung). This actually distorts the structure of the lungs and can interfere with breathing, especially the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs.
The attending physician at Crittenden Memorial Hospital said her body received too much oxygen. A normal oxygen level should be around 35 and her level was over 120. He said, in cases like hers when mucus build up the patients turn up the oxygen level on their tank thinking it would help their breathing when they are having difficulties breathing. It is the wrong thing to do because too much oxygen shuts down the body.
I have said it before and I will say it again, when you live with a chronic illness, it is not the illness that will eventually kill you; it will be the medication we take to control our illness that will kill us. Oxygen is what killed Mary just as methotrexate almost killed me last year.
Regardless of knowing, I live with an illness with no cure and Mary lived with an illness with no cure. I refuse to live my life as if it is over. Mary was the same way, she lived life to the fullest and I take comfort in knowing when she died she was happy. At first, I felt guilty because she was on her way to visit with my family, and me but she loved to travel and she loved attending weddings.
Matter of fact, it was at the wedding when the heaviness of my heart lifted. I felt Mary’s presence in the church and at the reception as I was living the Botanical Gardens I felt her stamp of approval that the wedding was a beautiful and loving occasion.