I lost my sister Marybeth to ARDS in August of 1998.
In May of that year, Marybeth went into the hospital to have an ovary removed after it had been causing her trouble for years. After the surgery, Marybeth came home from the hospital and began to receive in home health care to attend to her wound. She was having difficulty with the wound, as it was not healing properly. After approximately two weeks, she went back to the hospital so they could clean out the wound in hopes of stopping the bleeding and helping the wound to heal. One week later, she had a temperature that was high enough for the doctors to worry and told her to go back to the hospital. They admitted her then and she began her battle.
They ran several tests on her to determine why she had a fever. The other puzzling factor was that her white blood cell count was low, which is unusual when you have a fever, your count should be high. She began to get progressively sicker, and began to have trouble breathing.
“She began to have trouble breathing. Days went by and the hospital told us she now had ARDS.”
Since she continued to have trouble breathing, they decided to next do a lung biopsy. When they were doing the biopsy, the lung collapsed and they intubated her. They then had to put her into a drug induced coma due to agitation from the vent. Days went by and the hospital told us she now had ARDS. At first I thought it was a generic term they gave everyone who had trouble breathing. I soon found out it was not a term, but a syndrome.
They decided to do a bone marrow extraction to see if they could determine why her white blood cell count was low. After what seemed like weeks of testing, the results of the bone marrow extractions told us she had Leukemia.
The doctors were at the end of their rope on how to help her, so we made the decision to move her to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL. The doctors there were hopeful that the Leukemia could be cured if they could stabilize her from the ARDS.
She spent the next 3 weeks on the ARDS roller coaster.
She would get better, one day to the point they were going to remove the vent, she would then spike a fever again and take a turn for the worst. One day they could not stabilize her with medication and she slipped away.
“Throughout this ordeal, no one could give us good information on ARDS what it was, how it affected people, anything.”
This devastated us, mostly because we didn’t understand how this could happen. Marybeth was in fairly good health, and was only 36. Throughout this ordeal, no one could give us good information on ARDS what it was, how it affected people, anything.
Marybeth was a wonderful, caring person.
She was a registered nurse, a daughter, a sister and a friend and will be missed by so many. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of her.
This is the reason why I got involved in forming this Foundation. It is the hope of our family to help others to get information, provide support or to deal with the loss of a loved one to ARDS. It is also our hope to raise funds for research that is being done.