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Decisions no one should ever have to make ... Rest in Peace, Debra

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Oct 5, 2022 - 12:07:47 PM
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banjoy

USA

10600 posts since 7/1/2006

You guys may recall a few post over the years about my sister, Debra, who is mentally retarded and in a specialized group home in Swannonoa, NC, about 1.5 hours from where I live. She has been institutionalized for over 40 years bouncing around here and there. I became her legal Guardian about 12 years ago and during that time have helped usher her through several serious health issues and whatnot.

My brother Dwight and I have been visiting her every month for the last few years. The siblings on the west coast have kept in touch with her by zoom calls.

The last time I spoke to Debra was about 4pm Saturday, September 24 when she called me. Dwight and I were planning to visit her the next week. About 15 hours after than call, I received a call from Blue Ridge Group Homes about 7:15am Sunday Sept 25, that Debra was on the way to the emergency room with a high fever and very low blood pressure.

The ER called me and she came in with 105 temperature and blood pressure of 50/xx. She was in extremely critical condition and was in sepsis shock. She was on a ventilator, antibiotics, and other life support. She remained in ICU for 6 days and was moved to a regular room where she stayed for 3 days. She was returned to ICU 2 days ago.

Debra has had a hard life physically, been very hard on her. For the last three years+ she has suffered from Extramammary Padgett's Disease which was not treatable other than lotions and creams to help ease the pain and discomfort of that. But that was one of many issues she has suffered from.

Anyway, the last 10 days or so has been testing me to my emotional limits, since I am her Guardian all decisions fall on me. This is a position I always knew was a potentiality, hoping never to have to go there, but here I am.

Dwight and I have visited her four times since she has been hospitalized, the most recent was this morning. Discussions with all family, the doctors, counselors, the decisions are clear and easy to make because there is only one correct choice.

Late this morning Debra has been removed from all support and place in palliative care. She is being moved to a hospice house in Asheville, 2 miles from the ICU when she now is, and will be moved in the next hour. I do not think she will live past this evening but who really knows.

Here are three videos I wish to share. Some of you may have seen these before. The first video was from 2012, a year or two after I became her Guardian and while she was still at a regular nursing home. The 2nd video is from two years ago, at Christmas, where she enthusiastically gobbles down pureed cheesecake but this is pure Debra. This third video I took this morning, in the ICU where she is as I type these words, right before all tubes and support were removed. This last video may be hard to watch but it's only 45 seconds.

Visit with Debra April 15, 2012
youtu.be/16dOCfE357U

Dwight and Frank visit Debra ~ Blue Ridge Group Homes ~ Christmas Dec 26, 2020
youtu.be/sH3ISWELWHY

Debra in ICU 10-5-2022 ~ No More Words
youtu.be/-pF1WPOjeM8

I want the world to know my sister Debra, what a beautiful human being she is. Her life meant something, and I am glad to have been her brother.

I am heartbroken and devastated, and exhausted. I am also relieved that peace and eternity are waiting for her, she deserves a rest. I expect her to pass sometime between now and tomorrow.

Godspeed, Debra, I love you.

I will post again when I need to. Thanks to everyone here for you letting me be a part of this place.

Edited by - banjoy on 10/05/2022 15:26:41

Oct 5, 2022 - 12:25:25 PM
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raybob

USA

13592 posts since 12/11/2003

I'm sorry, Frank. She needs someone to make those hard decisions for her, and thank goodness you are there for her. Peace brother.

Edited by - raybob on 10/05/2022 12:26:14

Oct 5, 2022 - 12:25:46 PM
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15554 posts since 12/2/2005

Prayers going up for Debra, and for all involved.

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:09:41 PM
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4007 posts since 7/8/2010

Frank, my prayers for Debra at this time. And my prayers to you, Dwight and the rest of her family.
All of you have fought a very hard battle. May you all find peace.
She is not gone. She just went around the corner. These words I told my brothers and sisters when our mom passed. I hope they give you a little comfort. Don.

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:14:58 PM
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11541 posts since 8/22/2006

Oh wow I’m so sorry to hear what you and your family are going through. I’m sure with the doctors you are making the right decisions.

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:23:39 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

66978 posts since 10/5/2013

My heart goes out to your sister, to you Frank, and your family. So sorry ,, God bless.

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:35:24 PM
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221 posts since 3/25/2016

Frank, try to remember that your dear sister will be at peace and out of pain. Bless you for your care and concern for her.

Oct 5, 2022 - 1:48:17 PM
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13512 posts since 1/15/2005

So sorry to hear this Frank. You have been a wonderful and faithful brother and you and Debra were lucky to have each other. The Good Lord put some people here on earth to teach and others to learn. I am sure that despite Debra’s challenges she taught you an awful lot about life and living.

Oct 5, 2022 - 2:16:30 PM
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153 posts since 10/5/2019

Sorry to hear this. Prayers for you and your sister and family!

Oct 5, 2022 - 2:22:17 PM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27975 posts since 8/3/2003

Prayers for you, your sister and your entire family.

Sounds as if you made the correct decision. She will be kept free from pain until she passes. She will be in a better place while you and your family will be the ones who grieve and miss her.

Don't second guess your decision. That's very easy to do. I had to make those tough decisions with both mother and Dave and they eat away at your, wondering if you could have done more. You couldn't have.

Oct 5, 2022 - 2:45:56 PM
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59678 posts since 12/14/2005

Condolences.
PM sent.

Oct 5, 2022 - 3:26:06 PM

banjoy

USA

10600 posts since 7/1/2006

Debra passed away peacefully without fear or suffering, at 5:29pm, at Solace Hospice in Asheville. She was 66 years old. She would have turned 67 on November 2nd.

What a loving and joyful person she was. A beautiful and innocent soul.

Rest in Peace, sister.

Oct 5, 2022 - 3:28:29 PM
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Brian T

Canada

19496 posts since 6/5/2008

Thank you and Dwight for your strength in these dark times. To go in peace. Amen.

Oct 5, 2022 - 11:19:35 PM
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Paul R

Canada

16227 posts since 1/28/2010

Condolences, Frank, to you and Dwight. Although there's an empty space in your heart, here's hoping that good memories of a loving person will at least fill some of it. You did very well by her.

Oct 6, 2022 - 12:36:13 AM
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2158 posts since 11/17/2018

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy

Debra passed away peacefully without fear or suffering, at 5:29pm, at Solace Hospice in Asheville. She was 66 years old. She would have turned 67 on November 2nd.

What a loving and joyful person she was. A beautiful and innocent soul.

Rest in Peace, sister.


Very sorry for your loss.

Oct 6, 2022 - 1:25:07 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26468 posts since 6/25/2005

My heart weeps for you and your sister, Frank; I trust she has found peace. You have given your all for her; I wish you the best in coping with your loss.

Oct 6, 2022 - 2:26:53 AM
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59678 posts since 12/14/2005

Here's a link to one of my favorite songs.
I learned it from a Kingston Trio album.
Works best -for ME-at 0.75 speed of what THESE guys do it, and with slightly different lyrics.
Played it at my aunt's request, at the funeral for the uncle who gave me his old Slingerland, and started me down the road to so much banjo.

https://youtu.be/zMkb6B_2RjA

Oct 6, 2022 - 3:03:22 AM
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Players Union Member

pickn5

USA

1718 posts since 8/8/2012

Prayers said for your sister, you and your family.

Oct 6, 2022 - 6:19:19 AM
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STUD

USA

36747 posts since 3/5/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjoy

Debra passed away peacefully without fear or suffering, at 5:29pm, at Solace Hospice in Asheville. She was 66 years old. She would have turned 67 on November 2nd.

What a loving and joyful person she was. A beautiful and innocent soul.

Rest in Peace, sister.


Frank you are as good as a brother can be..

That is how I know you are a good man..

 

Prayers to you n yours...

Oct 6, 2022 - 6:30:17 AM
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slammer

USA

3838 posts since 12/30/2008

Frank, prayers from da U.P. have been sent for Debra, Yourself and your family!!!
Knowing she is at peace has to be your comfort and Thank You for introducing Debra to us!!! Her life did mean something and although I have no siblings, if I did, I would want one like You !!! You did good!!! RIP Debra and Peace to you and yours Frank!!!
Dale

Oct 6, 2022 - 8:25:33 AM
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Bart Veerman

Canada

5322 posts since 1/5/2005

Sad news Frank. You've been awesome brothers to her!

Oct 6, 2022 - 12:33:37 PM
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banjoy

USA

10600 posts since 7/1/2006

I shared a link to this thread with my family and I want all of you to know that your kind words and support is very much received and appreciated by my family and helps bring us comfort. Thank you.

I wrote Debra's obituary this morning and here it is as a pdf file. I have a photo of her I'm going to include when it's printed. This will appear online and in two newspapers, The Spartanburg Herald Journal and The Carthage Courier in Tennessee, within the next few weeks. I'll post a link to the online version when it shows up.

Debra's body arrived at the funeral home back in Spartanburg last night within just a few hours of her passing. She will be cremated and I will drive her cremains to Tennessee for burial at a beautiful small family plot in Brush Creek, Tennessee. With that, my duties to her are fulfilled. I am honored to have been able to help her in her last decade of her life. She was a bright light for sure.

Thanks to all of you for letting me share the life of my sister here with you. It means more than you can ever know.


Oct 7, 2022 - 1:45:25 AM
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phb

Germany

3567 posts since 11/8/2010

Frank, I have watched the videos. I went through something very similar when my mother was put on respirator and know how hard it is even to just sit at the bedside not being able to do anything. The way Debra looked when she was eating that cheesecake is exactly how I feel when I eat cheesecake.

Oct 7, 2022 - 6:12:38 AM
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1680 posts since 9/6/2019

Frank, my heart goes out to you and your family. I have had to make a similar decision when my dad was ill and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I'm sorry for your loss.

Oct 7, 2022 - 8:09:31 AM
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Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

14975 posts since 5/24/2005

Frank, May she rest and enjoy eternal peace, and comfort. Brad

Oct 7, 2022 - 3:41:50 PM
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13512 posts since 1/15/2005

Frank ...... the obit was touching and heartfelt ..... just perfect for your beautiful sister!

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