Wednesday June 15, 05
The insanity of the drive to be thin
SCHIAVO AUTOPSY RESULTS RELEASED
Terri Schiavo's brain was about half the size of a normal brain when she died. She was severely and irreversibly brain-damaged and blind as well.
Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin concluded that there was no evidence of strangulation or other trauma leading to the collapse that left her with brain damage in 1990.
He also said she did not appear to have suffered a heart attack and there was no evidence that she was given harmful drugs or other substances prior to her death.
Autopsy results on the 41-year-old brain damaged woman were made public Wednesday, more than two months after Schiavo's death ended an internationally watched right-to-die battle that engulfed the courts, Congress and the White House and divided the country.
Shiavo's husband, Michael, had her feeding tube removed and she starved to death after 13 days. The autopsy says that she died from dehydration.
I WAS VERY HAPPY when Terri's feeding tube was removed from her stomach. I felt a kinship with this young woman -- being a recovering anorectic myself. I believe in my heart, that she NEVER would have wanted to live in a persistive vegetative state. This autopsy proves that she would never have regained a sense of self -- on any level.
STRANGE COINCIDENCES ~ TODAY, DR. PHIL'S show featured an anorectic from Australia. It was the first time that he had focused on this disorder in a meaningful and thoughtful way. This young lady's words mirrored my own. I do hope that she is able to get out of this hell. Already she has suffered from a heart attack, at just twenty years of age. She may end up in Terri's shoes if she does not get help ASAP.
I DON'T KNOW what kind of permanent damage has been done to my heart. The last time I had an angiogram, it showed that my heart was in fact enlarged.
MY RIGHT CAROTID ARTERY has been completely destroyed. It is 100% occluded. Three years ago, I was at Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Cleveland. I started to feel ill. I vomited, my head was spinning, and I felt weak. I thought it was mainly due to the heat, exertion, and riding the roller coasters. The next day at home, I started feeling worse. I was extremely nauseous. I couldn't keep anything down. Then I felt excruciating pain in my right leg. Soon I was crawling on the floor. I could not stand. My neighbor rushed me to the ER.
My mom flew up from Florida to Ohio, a few hours later.
A Broviac IV catheter was inserted into my right jugular vein (so they thought). I was hospitalized for three days. My calcium level was so high -- I had a severe case of hypercalcemia. My level was 7.7. Most would have died of heart failure, with a level of 6.0 or higher. The medical staff diligently flushed my blood with fluids to lower my CA level. After three days, it dropped to a safe level -- although it was still not normal.
After pushing to be released from care, the doctors agree to send me home, and thus signed the orders. The nurse came into my room to remove the catheter that had been stitched into my neck, to hold it into the vein. She cut the stitches then pulled the catheter out. All of a sudden she started screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Help! Help!" My mom went running down the hall of the hospital corridor to summon other nurses and/or a doctor. Another nurse came into the room immediately. The two of them applied pressure to my artery to stop it from squirting out blood. It turns out that the catheter was not inserted into my jugular vein, but rather, into my carotid artery by mistake.
Vascular surgeons were paged. Within minutes, there were eight health care professionals in my room. A very good-looking surgeon took over for the nurses and applied very firm pressure to my artery for 15 minutes. He was trying to get a clot to form. In the mean time, two other IV's were started -- one in each arm. Blood was drawn to see if I needed a transfusion due to the large amount of blood lost. Fortunately, I did not.
Three days later, I flew to Florida to have an arteriogram done. I was sedated. Then a wire was inserted into the artery in my groin. A dye was injected through my vascular system. Scans were then taken of my brain to see if it was getting enough blood. Also, the extent of the damage to my right carotid artery, needed to be assessed -- as a minor blockage could put me at risk for a stroke. It was determined that no blood was flowing into my brain from this artery. It was 100% occluded -- 100% ruined. Fortunately, my left carotid artery and smaller arteries in my neck are compensating for this loss.
What are the long-term ramifications of only having one carotid artery? Well, hopefully the other artery will never get blocked. If it does, I will be at risk for a stroke. This could lead to severe brain damage or death.
So why did I develop hypercalcemia? It was due to taking calcium antacids, coupled by the fact that my system was not flushing out the excess calcium, as I was not drinking enough fluids.
MORAL OF THE STORY? Don't take calcium antacids. Take Pepcid or Zantac instead. Also, don't let yourself get dehydrated. And lastly, don't develop an eating disorder.
Well, the last one may or may not be within one's control. Though the ironic thing is that this disorder is ALL about CONTROL.
To be continued...