‘That’s my brother,’ he stood next to me crying. He never left him. His skin was white as a sheet.’: Mom ‘so shaken’ after son’s stroke scare, ‘No moment is promised’

“This is a very long and shocking post. I’m going to be all over the place in my writing because I am still very shaken. Bare with me.

It was a normal day. No school. The kids got to sleep late. Ate breakfast. We went to a neighbor’s house. We dropped something by Finn’s school and played for about 20 or so minutes. We headed to Wegmans to pick up our Thanksgiving meal. (I’m NOT a good cook.)

We were headed towards check out. The boys had been a little mischievous trying to touch all the yummy things out on display. We were walking fairly quickly towards check out with both boys following me while I was pushing the cart. Finn was lagging a little (normal Finn) so I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He responded, ‘I can’t keep up, carry me.’ I asked if he wanted to ride on the front of the cart and hang on; he smiled and said yes. We were only a few feet from check out. I pushed him for maybe 3 seconds and one of his sides went limp and his face was leaning (more like balancing) on the cart. I went to pick him up and he collapsed on the floor.

His skin was white as a sheet, his lips were solid blue and he wasn’t breathing. He didn’t breathe for a little over a minute. I started screaming for help and a Wegmans employee came over, saw he wasn’t breathing and yelled for someone to call 911. 911 was called. We were straightening out his body to do chest compressions and breathing for him, mouth to mouth, when a small amount of bile dripped out of the side of his mouth and he began to breathe again. I sat him up with me. He was out of it and lethargic. He didn’t speak for a little bit and finally said ‘I want water.’ The entire time Mason stood next to me crying saying ‘That’s my brother.’ He never left him.

EMT came and we brought him out to the ambulance. Oxygen, heart rate, temp, everything was normal. He could also now speak and stand up. We called CHOP and they said to bring him to our local hospital immediately for an EKG. EKG and cardiac function were perfect (for Finn). CHOP then ordered a CT scan of his brain because they wanted to make sure he didn’t have a stroke. We got the CT scan and his brain looked good (for Finn, as you all know, he does have heterotopia).

We finally got CHOP, our local hospital and me all on a call and CHOP is very concerned that Finn had a stroke. It could have been a seizure, he has had them in the past, but unfortunately, they are very concerned it’s leaning towards stroke. Because Finn’s anatomy pushes blood both in AND out, this would cause it to not show up on a CT scan. We sat for a while trying to figure out what to do because again, at this point, he is ‘essentially’ back to himself.

Courtesy Kelly Blumenthal

We were able to come home and will be headed to CHOP next week to meet with cardiology and neurology. Unfortunately, with strokes, there is not much that can be done other than getting help immediately when it happens. The minutes and yes seconds literally count. The next few days will be very relaxing and making sure Finn is sleeping, eating, drinking, has stamina and then we will have more information next week.

I cannot even begin to express how incredible Wegmans was today. I kept telling them after things were calm how embarrassed I was at the big scene on their busiest and most crowded day of the year and they said they were so happy it happened with them because they had plenty of people to help.

Mason is VERY shaken up. He is very worried about his brother and best friend. He has not left him since. He has been SO strong and brave and loving. As always, the EMT community was fantastic as well as our local hospital Mary Washington (Dr Garth). The nurses were beyond patient and spent so much time trying to calm Finn. And of course, thanks to our family for dropping everything to do whatever was needed.

I’m so very shaken by this experience. No moment is ever promised. We can’t walk around with monitors 24/7, we just can’t. Finn JUST had a brain and cardiac MRI on September 10 at one of the best hospitals in the nation. We JUST went to CHOP. His heart has been BEAUTIFUL and exactly how Dr Spray left it. But there is NO cure for heart disease and Finn’s is so complex. We only buy time that’s it. Time, not a cure. We have had over two years of pure bliss with no doctors or hospital visits other than follow ups and tests. We have been BLESSED. But Finn is still a very complex cardiac case and there is only so much technology can do right in this moment.

We have been shown so many times in this journey that things can turn at any point. We’ve seen through countless other families that things can be going perfectly and then not in an instant. We are no different. All we can do is the best we can which right now is rest, more follow ups and to be grateful and to enjoy every single dang moment. Every SINGLE one. Because one day, no matter how many miracles you’ve seen, you could be standing on a grocery cart and have it all end right there in that moment.

I’m not going to preach to you all to hug your baby’s tighter tonight. We all feel that with every tragic story that we see in our news feeds with each passing day as we live in this crazy world. I’m just going to say that no matter what your life or day brings you, try to smile. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy. Say yes to life experiences and LIVE YOUR LIFE to the fullest. In the one minute today that I thought Finn was gone I was not thinking about finances, people who have made me mad in the past, what I looked like, how much I weighed, what people thought of me, the fact that this kid has clogged two toilets and one sink in a month and drawn on two walls. I wasn’t thinking about how tired I was when they were newborns or how I am going to get all the holiday things done before the holidays are over. NONE OF THAT MATTERED. The only thing that mattered was his face, my memories and the incredible moments that we have had as a family since he and his brother came into our lives. I know it is hard guys but breathe in all the good that’s around you and spit out that bad. All that matters in the end is the good. Enjoy your moments and we will as well. Because God just gave us a few more.”

Courtesy Kelly Blumenthal

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kelly Blumenthal of Prayers for Finn. Follow their journey on Facebook here and Instagram here.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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