Born June 26, 1971 ~ November 13, 2003
The glistening sparkle within her eyes,
That sweet, true smile, day and night...
I can hear her great bubbly voice,
Within my ears,
I can see that beautiful face,
Framed by ,that flowing hair.
Amy, the glowing light of life,
Amy, what a sight...
A vibrant soul with a golden crown,
My Amy, my Amy, I’ll see you, Ames, around.
The very meaning of fun and bright,
She could light up a room, full of light...
Speaking with kindness, to strangers near,
Her laughter contagious to every listening ear.
I wonder how this could be,
Her sweet, sweet smile is now heavenly,
Lord, take good care of Amy,
Until together we’ll be...
Amy, the glowing light of life,
Amy, what a sight...
A vibrant soul with a golden crown,
Our Amy, our Amy, we’ll see you, Ames, around.
By: Naseem (Amy’s 19 year old niece)
Music and lyrics written November 2003
My sister, Amy, went to work as usual on that Monday before the Wednesday and Thursday we will never forget. She was experiencing mild body aches, but didn’t think too much about it. On Tuesday she had a headache and a fever along with increasing body aches and decided to visit her family physician. He thought she was coming down with the flu and sent her home telling her to rest and take a pain reliever to alleviate the ever-increasing body aches.
Amy’s husband, Mark, went on to work, but told her to call him if she needed him. Amy called Mark about fifteen minutes after he arrived at work and told him he needed to come home. He left immediately and arrived home to find her nauseous and in much pain – mainly body aches. Mark made sure she took pain medication as instructed by her physician and stayed up watching over her. Then very early in the morning on Wednesday, they found a couple of places on her that looked like a purple rash or bruising. Amy, a nurse by profession, knew immediately that she should go to the hospital and Mark rushed her to the emergency room.
As soon as the physician saw the purple marks and heard her other symptoms, she was quarantined and placed on several antibiotics, including Penicillin and Rocephin for bacterial meningitis. He wasn’t certain it was meningitis, but wanted to cover all of the possibilities. A spinal tap was attempted, but was unsuccessful. The ER physician said to wait until the radiologist could do it under fluoroscopy. They waited several hours and then her PT was too high to attempt another spinal tap. In an attempt to reestablish her clotting factors they started giving her platelets and fresh frozen plasma. No beds were available in the ICU at that time, so there was a very long wait (many hours) in the emergency room. A spinal tap was finally done later in the afternoon and confirmed what had been suspected – Amy had meningococcal meningitis. Her spinal fluid, which was supposed to be sterile, had 2+ gram negative cocci.
Amy had told Mark not to call anyone, but then later that morning, she told him she wanted her mom and sister there. Mark then called my mother, Ann, that morning (who called my sister, Becki, and me, as well as her church prayer chain) and when she arrived at the hospital, Amy was still lucid enough to comment on the new bracelet she had on. But she was in horrible pain and was writhing so much that she pulled out several IV’s. Becki arrived and at first Amy didn’t recognize her because she had on scrubs (from her job) and of course, was masked. She was fairly cognizant at that point and was able to speak briefly to Becki.
In the meanwhile, my son, Mikel, called me at work to say there was a message from Memaw on the answering machine saying that she was on her way to the hospital because Amy was there with what was thought to be meningitis. When I called my husband, Hamid, (who is a medical technologist in clinical microbiology) at work to tell him about Amy, he asked if I was going to Tampa and I told him I was. I then called Amy’s cell number (not realizing how ill she was) and Mark answered. I could hear Amy moaning in the background. My mother had not yet arrived. Mark said they were waiting on the physician and a bed in the ICU. He told me that Amy was in severe pain, very nauseous, and that her hands were blue. I told him I was leaving for Tampa (two hours away) shortly.
A friend helped me look up meningitis in her medical dictionary and it said that most people who received treatment recovered. I then called my husband, Hamid, and listed Amy’s symptoms and told him that I was going to the hospital. I tried to call my mother, but she wasn’t home. As soon as I got off the phone, Hamid called me back and told me to come get him at work on my way to Tampa. I could hear in his voice that he was extremely concerned. He told me he had talked to a physician at work and that I should call Mark and tell him to relay to the physicians that this meningitis needed to be treated very aggressively. He said that the symptoms were indicative of a virulent form of Neisseria Meningitides. I called Mark back and he said that so far they had been unable to do a spinal tap to determine which meningitis it was. Due to the physician’s arrival, our conversation was cut short, but I was able to tell him what Hamid had said.
Thus commenced the longest day of my life. When I arrived home I quickly packed an overnight bag, told Mikel where we were going, and asked him to pray for Amy. He said that he had already been praying. As I headed to pick up Hamid from work, I called my pastor’s wife, Ginger, and asked her to put Amy on the prayer chain. After I picked up Hamid, our daughter, Naseem, called and I told her that Amy was very ill, but that she was being treated. I could hear the anxiety in her voice, but reassured her that she was getting treatment and told her to pray. (She later told me that she contacted various people to pray for Amy.) All the way to Tampa (normally a 2.5 hour trip) I didn’t ask Hamid if she would survive, but instead kept saying, she’ll get better, won’t she? He kept saying that people survive meningitis (very deep down inside I knew he wasn’t saying exactly what he was thinking, but at the time I couldn’t even fathom that my lively sister would die). We talked to Mark and Mom on our way to Tampa. When I told my mom that we were on the way, she said, “Good; she’s very sick.”
Even though I was told that Amy looked terrible, I wasn’t at all prepared for what I saw when Hamid, Mark, Becki, Mom, and I went to her room in the ICU. I hardly recognized her! She was very swollen and looked like she’d been beaten. Her finger tips, feet, and nose were very blue and she had a blue cast to her skin. Amy’s beautiful long blonde hair was in a braid matted with blood that was oozing from the central line in her neck. She was moaning and moving constantly, like she was hurting and couldn’t get comfortable. Amy’s arms were extended straight out in front of her almost constantly. Her eyes were glassy and one eye had a bleed in the white area. Her breathing was very labored and she was gasping for air. Mark loudly said, “Nina and Hamid are here.” My husband, Hamid, and I looked at each other over our masks communicating, without words, what we were feeling as we witnessed this horrendous nightmare. We were all telling Amy that we loved her, that she was being given the medicine she needed, and that she would be alright.
Occasionally her arms would rest by her side or she would try to get on her side to get comfortable. Sometimes when I talked to her, she would stop moving and look at me...or maybe it was past or through me. Eventually we all had to leave, because Amy’s ICU nurse was hoping Amy would rest better if we weren’t there. Her blood pressure was fluctuating far too much and the monitoring machine was tolling.
Mark, Hamid, and I were able to go back to Amy’s room another time. She was slightly calmer, and seemed to know we were there. She was still moving around quite a bit, and had her eyes open. When she looked at me, I felt like she was asking what was happening. We held her hands and talked to her hoping she could understand, hoping she would hear how much we loved her, and trying to calm her. While we were there another physician came in. Amy mumbled something to Mark and he answered her that it was a doctor. The physician said that it was time to intubate Amy, so she didn’t have to work so hard at breathing. At the time I felt encouraged, because she was struggling so hard to breathe, and I wanted her to rest. I felt that if she could rest, it would give the medicine a chance to work on the infection. Soon after that we left the room, so she could be intubated. Little did I know that this would be the last time that I would see Amy on this earth. Because the nursing personnel were so busy, I never got to go back to see her.
The primary nurse assigned to Amy finally left for home (this was her first day in this hospital ICU and she had stayed hours past the end of her shift). When she came to the waiting room to tell us goodbye, she looked exhausted. I walked into the hall with her. I asked about Amy and she said that she was so sorry. I knew what she was trying to say, but I told her that God could heal Amy. She gave me a sad smile and a hug before she left. (I am grateful to this nurse who worked so hard to help my sister and our family. She let us stay with Amy as much as possible and I know she was very kind to my mother. I wish I could remember her name ...)
The waiting room was filled with people who loved Amy. Even with everything that had happened and the way she looked, I believed that Amy, who was strong and healthy, who worked out, who made everyone laugh – would be that way again soon. I figured she would have to spend a week or two in the hospital, while the medicine worked on the infection. When she coded the first time and nurses rushed to her room and personnel came from other parts of the hospital to help Amy, I still believed she would get better. Our family stood helplessly outside the ICU looking through the windows watching the activity at the far end of the hall. Over and over again I kept saying, “Breathe Amy, breathe. God, please make her breathe.” Then the activity calmed and eventually a physician came out and told us what we already knew – she was still with us. I couldn’t tear myself away from the ICU windows and a little while later while we were watching, the same scenario repeated itself, but this time it felt different. Even though the activity appeared the same, the news was not. A physician came to tell us that they couldn’t bring Amy back. I wanted to scream and scream – maybe I did...I don’t know. This nightmare was too unbelievable to grasp, and four months later it is still seems like a nightmare from which I will waken. It’s amazing how this world continues to move forward without Amy here.
There is so much more to write about life with Amy, and life without her. Yet...one thing is totally clear to me, God is merciful and loving and Amy is with Him in heaven. She has touched countless numbers of lives and she lives on, not only in heaven, but in the memories of many. It is my sincere hope that following this account of the last days of Amy’s life, numerous personal accounts will be added testifying to the impact of her 32 years of life on earth. If you were blessed to know Amy, take the love, compassion, and humor she so freely expressed and give, give, give to others; she would want that.
Of this I’m sure, the time we are on earth is only a droplet in the sea of eternity; I’ll see you soon, little sister.
Nina (Lenora Mazlaghani)
Mark and Amy On Their Wedding Day
Messages to Amy
4, 2005 Not a day goes by that I don't think of
you, Amy. Some days it hurts and some days I just
feel at peace knowing you are with God. I love and
miss you very much.
it is Christmas again. Last year we didn't have Christmas. Didn't get out
the decorations or anything. We did celebrate the birth of our Savior,
Jesus Christ. But this year we decorated and sent out our cards. I miss
you so much, but I know that you will have a better Christmas than we can
even imagine. You're right there with Jesus and Mimi! So Merry Christmas,
Dear Amy, when I look at your sweet face, beautiful, free, fun and love comes to mine. You left a legacy of love behind you and I am sure you fill the Angel Home in Heaven with all the same things. I look forward to meeting you. In the mean time , Could you give my Bear a hug for me. Frankie HBA Ryan's Mom
I love you, Amy, more than I could ever express. I still can't believe that you are gone from us, but I know you are where you are happy beyond imagination. Jesus will hug you for me! I miss you so much my precious daughter! Thank you for all the joy and love you gave to me! Mom
Amy, you've been in heaven for six months today and I miss you so much. I talked to Becki and Mom tonight and there are no words to describe how we're feeling. Life will never be the same, since you're not here. Becki and I talked about how some day we'll be with you and it will be forever. I love you so very much.