Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A letter to Beth.

Please indulge me this letter that I wrote to Beth tonight. I have to get some of these bottled up feelings out. I am distraught, scared, tired and all prayed out. But what she is going through is a million times worse.

January 4, 2011
Dear Beth:
Tonight you are lying in an intensive care unit at the University of Pennsylvania. You have had a massive heart attack due to a dissection of a blood vessel to your left ventricle. It is not something that you could have seen coming or known about. It is rare. You are clinging to life, and even as a nurse, I can’t ever remember seeing this many tubes, pumps, IV’s and monitors on a person. This is as bad as it gets. You had open heart surgery yesterday at Chester County hospital. You had a cardiac arrest as they tried to perform a cardiac cath, which showed two blocked vessels to your left ventricle. That is the piece of the heart that pumps the oxygenated blood out to your body. They took you right to the OR and did two bypasses. Your heart did not start beating so they put you on a Ventricular Assist Device. You made it through the night and woke up and showed some signs of responding. Then they sedated you again and flew you by helicopter down to the University of Pennsylvania. They had planned to put a more permanent LVAD pump in, but found you were having some problems with your lungs. It turns out you had a hole between the two atriums of your heart. We all have it as babies, but yours did not close after birth. It happens in about 1 in 4 people. But having this pump was causing fluid to go into the hole and back into the lung. Your lungs weren’t functioning properly. The surgeon found this and repaired it. Your heart is now beating on its own. But you have not awakened, and that is what we are waiting for. You have been heavily sedated, so it may take a little longer. You have a tube in your groin that helps your heart pump, you are on a ventilator to breath, you have chest tubes, and many IV lines going into your neck. You are very ill and we are all very scared.

We are talking to you, but not sure if you can hear us. It breaks my heart to hear Ed tell you to hang in there, and that he needs you and the kids need you and to keep fighting. You must be tired, but we beg you to come back to us. We all need and love you so much. We don’t know if you can hear us, but we talk anyway, just in case. Everyone is so frightened that you may leave us.  You are so ill, and have been through so much. We wonder how much more you can take, but we pray you can take a lot more and recover. We can’t let you go. I love you so much and I need you in my world as we all do, especially Jensen and Matthew, and Ed. Ed is suffering to watch you go through all of this. If you could only see and hear how much he loves you. It breaks my heart. He is unable to sleep or eat. He is just out of sorts, and so emotionally spent.  I have never seen my big, strong, brother like this. Just raw emotion.

Please come back to us. Please fight hard even though you are exhausted and your body is beat and broken. I can’t imagine never seeing you again, or hearing your laugh, or sharing a glass of wine on the beach with you. I love you. We all love you. Please get better, please fight to stay here with us. I hope someday you will read this, and be back to your life that you love so much. Back to being with your family. You didn’t deserve this. You are too young to go through this. Please be okay.
I love you so much,



  1. Pattie, this is a beautiful letter and one that I know Beth is going to read one day and cherish. I don't know why she has to go through this, but it sounds like she has the most loving, protective, and strong family to help her recover. Please take care of yourself too Pattie. I'm also sending you back tons of positive thoughts and big, caring hugs.

  2. My heart breaks reading this. I am glad to hear how far she has come, but know that she is not out of the woods yet. Thank you for taking the time to update us through your letter to her. Hugs and prayers to all of you.

  3. I am speechless. I wish I could give you a hug in person but I am going to send you some BIG ((HUGS)) here and I am stopping what I am doing right now & praying for Beths healing. God is good and he does amazing things. Never stop believing that and in the the power of our God.
    Love you Pattie!!
    plese keep us posted on things.

  4. Beautiful letter. She will read it. I believe it. Prayers still being sent.
    Hope...that's my favorite word:)

  5. Pattie my dear friend,
    That is very touching. No matter what happens I am sure that she knows that she is the luckiest girl in the world to have so many people love her like that.
    Don't forget what I said, try to get your brother and you to eat something. You both need your strength.
    Lots of Love :-)

  6. I have seen my Dad go through this before and it changes you and your resolve to stay healthy. I stopped to pray for you and your family. May God heal Beth in an amazing way. God bless all of you!

  7. Dear Pattie,

    I have been praying for your sister-in-law Beth and your family and continue to send positive thoughts and prayers your way.

    Hugs, Marion

  8. Oh Pattie!!!!! What a beautiful letter! You have me in tears!!! I'm praying for your SIL and your whole family! The fact that the surgeons found the hole between the atriums and fixed it gives me great hope. The heavy sedation will help her rest better so she can heal! I feel it, in my heart, that everything will be okay! My deepest sympathies for your pain and stress and big, big hugs to you and your brother and their kids!!!