Kristen Canning’s Story

Heart Failure Survivor, Age 35, Visalia, CA

Gives and receives support


Kristen's Story

My mom is why I am here . She is only 57 years old and has had a triple bypass, stents, valve repaired and replaced, angioplasty, implanted defibrilator, and 9 heart attacks. She has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Peripheral Artery Disease. She has spent a lot of time in the hospital and is now in End Stage Heart Failure. After her first heart attack she was placed on permanent disability and moved in with me. Over the last couple of years her health has really gone down hill. She isn’t who she used to be. I wouldn’t be either if I had gone through what she has. Her Cardiologist said that there is nothing more than can do for her because everything that they would do they have already done on her. The rest of her life is going to consist of frequent visits to the hospital and possibly more medication. My mom is my best friend and I will be here fighting for her until the end. The reason I write this is because Heart Disease not only affects the patient but it affects their family too. All we can do is continue to raise awareness and keep fighting for the ones we love. So, I wrote the previous 2 years ago. It is now June 16, 2014 and my mom has been gone for a year. She lost her fight against Heart Disease May 27, 2013. The reality of her being gone still hasn’t fully hit me. She went to the hospital by ambulance because she wasn’t feeling right and was having trouble breathing. She was in the ICU for 3 weeks before they moved her to another floor where she would stay until she died. A few days after she went to the hospital she was doing good, they had taken her off of the ventilator and she was alert and responsive. Then she started having trouble breathing so they put her back on it but she was still alert. I remember because it was mothers day and I took her cards from myself and my children. She was trying to talk to me like she always did and I had to remind her that she had a tube down her throat (she was very stubborn). The next day is when things got worse. They had her heavily sedated, she wasn’t producing urine, and she had gotten an infection. For a few days she wasn’t getting any better. Just a couple days before they moved her they were slowly lowering the sedation meds and seeing if she would follow commands or respond. She always had a hard time coming out of sedation. My family was all there to visit her and it was like the light was on but nobody was home. I held her hand and talked to her and told her everyone that was there and when I said my nephews name she looked over and started making fart noises (my nephew is 14 and is constantly making those noises). A little while later she was kind of thrashing around and would make some noises but nothing we could understand. I grabbed her hand and leaned in front of her face and said,”mom can you hear or see me”, she stopped looked right and me and said”yeah”. That is the last time I talked to my mom. If I had to do it all over again I would, no questions asked.

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