Holding Hands

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Judy Sharp, Donor

Holding Hands

Posted April 24, 2015

1000035Judy Sharp

My wife Judy went on vacation with her mother to Branson, Missouri in September of 2014.  After they checked into their motel room, Judy’s mom, Esther, came out of the bathroom to find Judy laying on the floor.  She tried to find a pulse but couldn’t. Esther called down to the front desk for help and called 911.

The ambulance arrived quickly, but it took 30 minutes to get her breathing again and to get a pulse. They put in a respirator and took her to the local hospital. Soon after she arrived to the hospital, the doctor called and said she had gone into cardiac arrest. She was alive, but not alert.

We live in Iowa. I packed a few clothes and headed out for the 5-hour drive not knowing if my wife would be alive when I got to Branson. I arrived around midnight and went straight to the ICU unit. The nurse on duty that night really earned her money. Judy was her only patient, but they had about 10 different bottles hooked up to her. She took care of Judy like they had known each other their whole life.

“I hope her eyes are still out there somewhere, seeing all the natural wonders of the world.” - Judy’s husband, Ted 

Judy always loved hugs and holding my hand. I knew she would have squeezed my hand if I asked her. After being in the hospital for eight days with me, her mom and a sister, we finally decided there was no hope for Judy to get better. Her brain had been deprived of oxygen to long, and she had no control of her body or mind.

The doctors said that if the body is deprived of oxygen for more than four minutes, there is little chance of there being good news. What we saw in Judy then was as good as she would get. She would have to be in a nursing home on a respirator for the rest of her life. We knew she wouldn’t want to live like that, so we unhooked the respirator. Before we did, we were approached about Judy being a donor with Mid-America Transplant Services.  

I knew she wanted to be a donor, so we agreed to tissue and eye donation. Skin tissue is used to save the lives of burn patients. Her corneas were placed for transplant by Saving Sight Eye Bank, and we received word that Judy was able to help two people with her corneas: An international patient and someone in Oregon. 

That is all I have found out that they have used of Judy’s donation, but I know I may hear more later. Judy lived about 12 hours after we took out the respirator, and I held her hand until she took her last breath.  

Judy was only 51 years old when this happened. She loved life so much. She was raised in a farming family, so she appreciated so many little things in life: A beautiful sunrise or sunset, the mountains, nature’s wonders of the world. She loved waterfalls as a child and still loved to go on vacation and find them.  We planned to go to California to see the Redwoods but never made it. I hope her eyes are still out there somewhere, seeing all the natural wonders of the world. 

She loved the simple things in life, like hearing the pop of the lids when she did canning.

Her big love was quilting. She bought recently a long arm quilting machine and made beautiful quilts. She loved to make quilts with bright colors and give them to people. Her sister, Diane, and I are trying to finish the ones she had started. They will be a great gift I can pass on to families as the years go on.

Mid-America Transplant Services often sends me sympathy cards and lets me know how Judy’s donation has helped others. They were always very respectful of our situation and very caring of Judy, me and our entire family. 

Life will never be the same without Judy. We were in love and very happy.  I recently retired early and hoped to be able to travel to see all the beautiful things Judy wanted to see.  I will still try to go see those places and will have a piece of Judy with me in my heart.  Memories are all that I have now, but there are some wonderful and beautiful memories of us together. That will have to get me through until we meet again in Heaven. I know she will meet me at the Pearly Gates and want to hold my hand again. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU JUDY                           

Until we meet again my love.                              

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