Maggie did not suffer. For that I am grateful.
She was in her bed with her nurse at her side administering medication. Something happened - we will never quite know what. The best guess is that something plugged off her trach causing her to stop breathing. The nurse started screaming for help and I ran downstairs to find her working frantically to help Maggie. I took over, but nothing helped. She was just lying there. The nurse called 911 and got Steve. I started compressions, but I felt like a chicken flapping my wings. Steve took over on the phone giving me instructions from the dispatcher while we waited (and waited and waited) for the paramedics. It seemed like it took forever, but of course it didn't. They came in and took over. They worked and worked. Steve and I held onto each other and watched in horror. They worked for ever. Finally the head paramedic said, we will work for five more minutes, but then there's nothing more we can do. I wanted to tell them to stop. I knew it was too late. It had been more than 30 minutes. I said it to Steve, but I could not make my mouth say the words to the paramedics. Just when they were ready to stop, they got a pulse.
I quickly put on some clothes and got into the ambulance with them. Someone helped me into that ambulance and fastened my seatbelt and I sat there for a minute waiting for the driver to get in. I could not see Maggie but I could see the guys working on her in the back. the driver got in and was ready to go but one of the guys in the back said, wait, let me make sure I still have a pulse. I could not believe what was happening. We drove to the hospital with lights and sirens and I was struck by how muffled the sound was in the truck and by how very very long it seemed to be taking to get there. They whisked her into the trauma room and a crowd of medical workers descended on her. Steve arrived within about a minute and we stood out of the way in silence. A nurse came up next to us and said if we need anything at all to ask her. She said her name was Joy. i stared at her but said nothing. Joy. Wow.
Maggie wasn't in the ER for long. We went right upstairs to the PICU, a place we have spent many many days in Maggie's life. I knew the people in there. The doctor covering the ICU was straightforward and kind. After a very short amount of time she looked at us and said simply, "This is a fatal injury."
The staff in the PICU and in all of the hospital was really amazing. It was our darkest day and they were so helpful and kind.
Maggie never regained consciousness. Really, she was gone by the time I reached her bedside that morning but she came back briefly so we could say goodbye. We called the boys. Tim arrived quickly and Eddie made arrangements to fly in from Orange County. It was sad and unbelievable. We all knew what was happening and we faced it together. We said our goodbyes to the heart of our family, the heart of all of our lives.
I feel very honored by and grateful for the amazing outpouring of support and love that my family has received since February 15. I also feel very honored and graateful to have been Maggie's mother and to have shared her amazing life. Maggie's spirit was - and is - so strong we could not contain it. It touched everyone she met, including those who know her only from this blog. The world would be a better place if there were more Maggie''s in it.