"Threads of Love" Donor Memorial Quilt: Quilt 27
Rosene Hoover's Life
Janet Oberholtzer (her sister)
Rosene's Early Years
Before Rosene was one, her family realized she had had Cerebral Palsy, which for her meant a lack of muscle coordination over her whole body. She fell often, but she learned to walk at fifteen months and to talk the following year. She also had severely impaired vision, which couldn't be corrected by glasses or surgery, but she had no other mental challenges.
Physically, Rosene started to decline in her late twenties and she began to use a wheelchair regularly. Mentally, she was always learning and stretching herself. She started using a computer with a software program, which said said each letter as she typed. She learned to make cards, motivational labels and posters. Most importantly, the computer was a tool to communicate her thoughts, since verbal communication was often a challenge for her.
Rosene's last year
In January 2008, Rosene started having trouble eating-most meals were followed by coughing and sometimes throwing up. This issue got better for a few months, but then worsened again in late summer. She also said her feet felt "dirty", like something was stuck to them. In April, she started complaining of the same sensations in her hands. These feeling ranged from numbness to severe burning pain. By June, her feet were numb, but the pain in her arms and hands had gotten severe. Daily life became difficult and she required more help with eating and personal care. In August, antibiotics cleared up an upper respiratory infection she had, but overall her health continued to decline. She was frustrated with her health issues and sad that they prevented her from staying at Sunny Crest, going to church or using her computer.
Summer brought a series of doctor visits and tests that showed a surgery was needed to correct some protruding vertebrae that were pinching nerves. Rosene was fully aware of the risks and potential side affects of surgery and it made her anxious, but she knew something needed to be done. She knew Jesus and believed his promises, so she feared being paralyzed or not able to speak more than death.
On October 16th, we reported to Reading Hospital at 7am- Rosene was relaxed and ready for surgery. One of the last things she said was, "I'm ready to go and ready for whatever happens!" Surgery lasted about six hours and all went well. Waking up, she was agitated-her eyes blinked and her lips moved, but she couldn't talk. The next day, we fed her jello and broth the doctor ordered, but she had difficulty swallowing. The order was soon changed to no food, because tests came back showing she had double Pneumonia. She got weaker every day and still couldn't talk. We tried to figure out what she wanted by having her signal "yes" with one finger and "no" by putting her whole hand up.
Tuesday morning around 6am, her lungs were so congested, they had to put her on a ventilator (breathing machine). Along with that, due to failing a swallow study on Monday, her doctors informed us she would need a feeding tube inserted into her stomach. The feeding tube and the ventilator would probably be needed for the rest of her life.
Our first instincts were to tell the doctors we wanted them both. But after more conversations, we realized she wouldn't want that. Legal papers she had signed a year earlier requested that no "extreme measures" be taken for her at any time. The family gathered at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon for a conference with the doctor. He said people with the type of cerebral palsy issues Rosene had often developed swallowing and vocal issues in their 30's or 40's. Since Rosene had been experiencing some of those issues since January, surgery was not the cause of them, but it magnified the already existing conditions.
As a family, we agreed to removal of the ventilator and to allow a natural death to take place. After making her comfortable with medicines, it was removed at 4:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon. As we sang hymns to her for a while, she squeezed our hands and blinked her eyes. It was a peaceful night wither mom and one sister spending the night. Wednesday, October 22nd, the whole family was back by her bedside as she peacefully passed on around 10:30am.
Bittersweet is the word we feel now-because the loss of her is bitter, but the thought of her living without physical challenges and pain is sweet! As we adjust to life without her here-we remember her desire had been to be a singer and know she is happy in the Heavenly choir now!