Written by Karen Denney
Susan Randels, the owner of Polka Dots, a local boutique in Paoli PA passed away on June 1, 2016, from a thoracic aneurysm. While working at her boutique at the Devon Horse Show, she had been experiencing back and abdominal pain throughout the day and tried to power through until she got home. Unfortunately she passed away that evening. In 2003, the manager of Polka Dots, Karen Denney, had the worst headache of her life and suffered a brain aneurysm. Karen survived, here is her story…
My aneurysm ruptured 15 years ago while I was at home, alone. I was on the computer in our basement office when I got the infamous ‘worst headache of my life’.
I blinked in pain and when I opened my eyes, my vision was blurred. As I stood up, my legs gave out from under me. Somehow, I managed to crawl up the steps and call 911. Before the ambulance came, I had sweated through my clothes (in February) and gotten sick to my stomach. Along with my confusion and trouble speaking, I knew that something was terribly wrong.
Diagnosed with a (brain) bleed at my local hospital, I was stabilized and rushed to Jefferson. It was there that Dr. Rosenwasser and his amazing team saved my life.
I spent 2 weeks in the hospital and returned home with a shunt to drain excess fluid. Aside from the shunt, general weakness and a lot of medications, I felt optimistic and fortunate…and so happy to be home. Six weeks of restrictions passed and I was slowly getting back to the life of being a wife to Bryan, and a mother to my 16-year-old daughter, Shannon and my 12-year-old son, Alex.
Five months later, I was back at Jeff Emergency with excruciating abdominal pain. This time, I was diagnosed with an infected shunt. I stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks on antibiotics and rest. The miracle of it all was that I’d become shunt independent and I was able to have it removed. I came home with a pic line and a bald head (once again), both of which were short-lived inconveniences.
I am so grateful to all of the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who gave me my life back. Family and friends (and friends of friends) were a lifeline and an amazing comfort. They took care of all that I could not.
I have always had a love for angels and I know that I had guardian angels watching over me then, as they continue to now!