Update on Betty Jean’s daughter, Louisa…
For those that may not know the story, 14 months ago Louisa was shot in the face with a shotgun, by her sister’s (Denise, who was in the final stages of ovarian cancer) former husband. The damages to Louisa’s face, skull and brain were so severe that she was not expected to live through the night.
Louisa is now in a convalescent center and receiving no ‘professional’ rehabilitation, therapy or progressive health care, due to the prognosis of her being so severely brain damaged that she would be incapable of improving any further. She is presumed to be completely “blind,” although she opens one eye and her head follows her mother’s every move through her room.
…But, for a Mother’s Love
Each afternoon, whether rain, sleet, snow, sickness or even knee surgery, Betty Jean visits her daughter. She talks to her, hugs her, kisses her face, reads to her and plays her favorite music. Betty Jean has continued to work with Louisa because she knows, she sees what Louisa’s caregivers apparently cannot – that Louisa not only understands everything that her mother is doing, but is responding; Louisa is still fighting to recover – and to communicate her feelings, wants and needs.
One finger, “No!” - two fingers, “Yes!” – middle finger, “You’re not listening to me!”
So, mother and daughter figured out some basics: one finger for “No,” two fingers for “Yes,” and the middle finger for… uh… sort of like… “You’re not listening to me” (also known as: Screw you!)
Mother and daughter also play ball. That’s right! Louisa can throw and catch a ball now!… that is, when Louisa feels like it… if she doesn’t, and mother keeps pushing, even mother gets that blessed… “You’re not listening to me” middle-finger-signal.)
Most importantly, it is apparent that Louisa has re-learned that her life matters, that her mother will never give up on her and that, to her mother, the quality of her daughter’s health care is more important now, than ever – now that she is unable to fully fight for her own quality of health care.
Yesterday, Louisa pulled out her Tracheostomy Tube – for the fourth or fifth time since she was injured. She was rushed from the convalescent center to the hospital emergency room. This time, Louisa was able to communicate to the doctor that she did not want the breathing tube reinserted. This time, the doctor listened – because Betty Jean, who had traveled through a snow storm, arriving just moments before they reinserted the tube, asked the doctor if she had asked her daughter if that is what she wanted. The doctor said: “No, she can’t communicate.”
This time… Betty Jean was able to say: “Oh yes she can!”
And, this time…
…Louisa was able to say “NO!”
This time, a doctor said, “I am listening and I hear you, Louisa.” As of this morning, at 10 am, Louisa has been breathing comfortably, on her own, for 20 hours. Her oxygen level is normal. The doctor, a woman, also began ordering tests on her overall physical condition, as precautionary measures, in Louisa’s best interest. As a result of this doctor’s thoroughness, they discovered some other, unrelated medical issues that needed attention. That’s called: “Health Care” – especially for those caught in situational cracks that may not have a voice – other than the voices of others, fighting for their rights.
In the early hours of this morning, a male nurse, who had been on duty the very night Louisa had been shot, 14 months ago, rolled a regular hospital bed into Louisa’s room in emergency…
…Mother and Daughter slept, side-by-side.
I am certain that if I could have asked Louisa if it would be okay that I post a video in tribute to she and her mother’s love, it would have been “Two Fingers”…
To Mother and Daughter, Betty Jean Kling and Louisa…