Woman hears family saying their goodbyes, fights to communicate when removed from life support
PHOENIX — Many of us have had to or will have to do it — make the painful decision to pull their loved one off life support. The Pellettiere-Swapp family had to, but their story took a turn that some call miraculous.
“Everything can be taken away. You can wake up one day and everything is fine, and then your life is a mess,” Steven Pellettiere-Swapp said. “Keep your family close and don’t let them go.”
His advice comes after a heartbreaking and amazingly miraculous ordeal he and his family recently experienced.
“I don’t consider it a miracle but everybody else, that’s how they reference it,” Lyndon, Steven’s mom, said.
Last month, Steven found Lyndon unconscious. He called 911.
Lyndon, 45, fell into a coma for 12 days.
Her doctors told her family — her husband, her daughter, Amanda, and Steven — that there was nothing more they could do for her.
Respecting Lyndon’s decision to preserve her organs for donation, the family decided to take her off life support. One by one, each family member sat with her, talked to her. Lyndon heard every word they said.
“I remember people talking to me,” she explained. “I remember when people came to visit, my niece reading to me.”
“[Doctors] told [my family] that I would start to make noises when they turned off life support. I was very agitating. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t respond. I could just hear conversations around me and about me,” Lyndon continued. “I remember a doctor opening my eyes, messing with me, and telling my family I was not reacting.”
Lyndon says she tried desperately to speak.
“In my head it was very clear what I was saying, but it wasn’t to them. I was finally able to get out ‘I’m a fighter,’ which is what my husband was whispering in my ear. [He said] ‘I need to you to fight.'”
Despite all medical predictions, Lyndon was back, responding, not even realizing what was happening Amanda came in the next day and melted down.
“I looked at her, and she just says, ‘Hi,’ and I just fell to my knees,” Amanda said tearfully. “I told her, ‘I thought you had been gone for 12 hours.'”
“I don’t take for granted that I get to come home and kiss my mom,” Steven said. “Every day I come home from work, seeing her and talking to her.”
Lyndon has a message for people who have, and maybe one day will have, loved ones hospitalized, physically not responding.
“Just because you are not conscious does not mean you cannot hear,” she said. “So you should talk to your loved ones if you are in that situation. They hear you.”