Patrick Nicholas Marshall
Patrick Nicholas Marshall was healthy as a child, but never had much stamina. He wanted to be carried. Never interested in running and playing sports. He hit his early growth marks in time, but was small for his age, shorter than all his peers. A hearing loss became apparent at age 11. He also had trouble keeping up in any physical activity. Hearing aids in both ears at age 12. Played cornet in middle school band. Stayed in band in high school. Trouble keeping up in marching. He would drag his heels, and had some coordination problems, but he would never quit trying. He was a "B" student in all subjects except Spanish and French.
Patrick went to Orlando Florida on band trip in May 1996. Went to Disney World and got very tired. He was too tired to march, so they let him sit out the Parade. He had a grand-mal seizure early the next morning. We were notified, and flew to Orlando. He was in a coma for two days. His heart was dilated, left ventricle very enlarged, ejection fraction 15% on medication and ventilator. The doctors said that he needed a heart transplant. We airlifted him to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Took a week to stabilize his condition, and another 10 days to run tests. Doctors suspected mitochondrial disease after a few days. Then they told us that he had either MELAS or Kearns-Sayre syndrome. A muscle sample was sent to California, and the results showed the 3243g MELAS mutation.
We brought him home and by Sept, he was able to attend school; although we had enrolled him in a small private school so he would not have to fight the crowds or be under so much pressure. In October, he had his first seizure. He was unconscious for three days, when a cardiologist from Driscoll Children's Hospital saw him and immediately airlifted him to Corpus Christi, Texas. There, they determined that he had also had a stroke. He lost sight in his left eye and had some speech problems, but both were restored in about four days. He was stabilized and discharged from Driscoll and we returned home.
By the end of November, he had his second seizure. He lost sight in both eyes for 3 days, but otherwise he recovered rather quickly. By January 1997, we gave in to his insistence and enrolled him back in regular high school in a special half-day program. In February, he had his third seizure episode and was hospitalized for 3 days. He suffered no further seizures or strokes, hospitalizations or setbacks of any kind after February. In fact, he just continued to improve. He grew 2" in height, gained a few pounds, became much more cognizant and witty; loved to joke a lot and improved his grades to mostly A's. His EEG's slowly improved to the extent that his last one in September showed NORMAL, no seizure activity. His heart also improved to 45% ejection fraction and shrunk to NORMAL size.
On December 6, 1997, We took Patrick to see his beloved Texas Aggies play in the Alamodome in San Antonio. He was very energetic and happy. We drove home on Sunday and arrived about noon. We spent the afternoon shopping, while Patrick baby-set his two younger sisters. He stayed up until about 10 PM watching TV and bathing and shaving. He said he didn't know how he was going to face his friends at school after bragging so much on the Aggies, with them losing. He asked his mother to tuck him in, (something he did every night), told her that he loved her, and went to sleep. He went to Jesus that night. Very gently, and very peacefully.
Patrick had never seen snow. He always nagged us to take him somewhere to see snow. Every winter, when each cold front would reach south Texas, Patrick believed it would snow. We continually told him that it does not snow deep in south Texas. His response was always, "well it could". Patrick died on Monday morning (we kept him on a respirator until 4:15 PM on Tuesday, but he never had any electrical activity.)
On that particular Monday, the long-range weather forecast for south Texas was that a cold front was on the way. One forecaster described it as the weirdest weather model that he had ever seen. By Thursday night we had dipped into the 30's.
On Friday, the day of Patrick's funeral, we woke up to a very windy 32° F, with light rain and sleet. When we exited the church to go to the cemetery, it was SNOWING. VERY LARGE FLUFFY SNOWFLAKES WERE FALLING ON PATRICK'S CASKET. It snowed all during the interment. Shortly thereafter, the snow stopped. By Saturday we were back up to 72° F. Patrick had sent us a message that he was O.K.!
One friend, upon waking that Friday morning, said it was like "hell was freezing over". It was as though all warmth had left the earth for those few days. Patrick is with Jesus. He no longer needs his hearing aids, his contacts, or his medications, no more needles, no more hurts, no more rejection. He is at perfect peace and he is healed and he will live forever.
- The Marshalls
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