...I'm not worrying
but praying and thinking about how long our family has
known Cindy Snell Wolff.
I first met her when she walked to the school bus and
climbed on to travel to kindergarten with my daughter
Cindy's father had brought her because her mom had
Multiple Sclerosis and could not make it to the bus stop.
Cindy and Beth were both five years old and have remained
friends from that day to this and have never lived more
than ten miles apart, although they have traveled a life
Beth and Cindy are 46 now and their birthdays fall in
November with Beth a few days older than Cindy,
something Cindy has always teased Beth about with
birthday cards hinting at her being the older woman.
Cindy always plots ways with Beth's two girls, Morgan
and Kayleigh to push the issue.
Beth knew that Cindy had been suffering headaches
but did not realize the extent of the pain, although she
had told Cindy that she should certainly get herself to
the family doctor.
Beth is the school nurse for the same school district the
two had attended and Cindy always teased her about
that fact too, saying Beth was such a stickler in health
Last week Cindy awoke with such pain that her husband,
Steve, took her to the emergency room where she was
evaluated and promptly taken by ambulance to the
Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh where she underwent
surgery for a brain aneurism.
Although her condition is better today than yesterday, she
remains in intensive care and in critical condition.
Her situation is very tenuous.
She had pressure on the brain which the doctors lessened
with an opening in the front of her skull and they did a
newer procedure which involved spiraling a wire into the
aneurism at the back of her brain area and placing a drain to
empty the blood and allow for healing.
She was treated with Lasix which helps alleviate fluid
buildup that was inhibiting her breathing and she is
breathing more easily but with a mask that helps force
The doctors are trying everything to keep from using a
ventilator but each time they remove the oxygen her
pressure goes down and they need it higher to keep
the blood flowing freely and preventing a stroke.
She has already developed a blood clot in her leg and
they placed a filter in the area to keep the clot from
traveling to the lungs and heart.
Beth has been trying to visit Cindy after work as often
as she is able and soothes her in telling her that her only
job is to stay calm, deep breathe and let the doctors care
Cindy has been removing her mask to try to have sips of
liquid and Beth found a small opening through which Cindy
could use a straw.
When Beth left this evening Cindy was enjoying the first
taste of diet pepsi she has had in weeks. She has been
limited to ice chips and was promised her first real
breakfast tomorrow morning.
Cindy's husband Steve has stayed with her for seven days
now, with their son and daughter traveling to Pittsburgh
along with their Aunt Linda each day.
The same Aunt Linda that was taken to the same hospital
by lifeflight in December after being critically injured in
a head on crash.
My husband Bill was in ICU at Presbyterian at that time
and Beth and Cindy, who were visiting him, were called to
the emergency area to find Aunt Linda being rushed to
Linda is walking again after having bolts and plates placed
in her legs and hip and weeks of physical therapy but still
has only partial use of her left hand.
At the time of the accident she had just returned from a
shopping trip with her daughter who was to be married
in three weeks.
Just last year Linda became a widow when her husband
died after years of suffering Multiple Sclerosis.
Cindy was the primary caregiver for her dear grandmother
when she fell ill seven years ago and has been sharing
her care with her cousin until Mrs. Snell died last year just
before Linda's husband.
It has been one thing after another for Cindy and her
family and each member has stepped up to the plate in
any way they could to help each other, never though,
as much as Cindy with Beth at her back.
What Cindy is going through is quite a lesson about the
way life seems to work. Givers give until they can't
anymore, then someone else must step up to shoulder
I'm not worried, I'm praying and thinking that Cindy has
so many years before her. A son who is attending college
and a daughter who has a key role in the high school
musical, Music Man in May and Cindy has never missed a
I'm thinking I don't want her to miss this one either.
I guess I'm hoping there will be so many prayers and
well wishers that she won't.