This turned into a longer post than I imagined. My main reason for posting all of this is just to get the point across that MANY of us (myself included) take to many things for granted, things like health, or being independant, etc. For those of you who whine about little things....broken parts, money, job, etc (and I am guilty of all of this too), read this and think how good you have it. Life isnt THAT bad. You have no idea how bad life can be. Dont take things for granted. Crystal was like a little sister to me and always stayed positive, always had a smile. At a hair over 5ft tall and about 100lbs she was small, but a HELL of a fighter. This is long, but READ IT, hopefully it will make you think twice next time you think you have it bad, or when you take the little things like health for granted. I wasnt gonna post up anything, but dayum. Sitting here doing searches on the internet for "Bilateral Jugular Vein Thrombosis" and "Endstage Renal Disease" and other medical terms, it really gets a person thinking. Its made me think for along time before I saw these words, but hopefully it will give some of you a reality check too and make you realize how 'lucky' you really are. Those medical terms I mentioned were on the Death Certificate I received yesterday for a good friend of mine Crystal Utley. I have known her for eight years now. Some of you know she has been fighting for her life for a long time. Since the age of 2 actually (1983). When she was two years old, she got very sick. Doctor kept saying it was a cold...over and over. Not to worry. Well after going to another doctor, it was found to be a urinary infection. It had spread and she had multiple blood infections basically caused one kidney to shut down and the other to barely work. They said she would not live more than a few years. She was in and out of doctors until the age of 12 I believe. At about 13 or 14, her other kidney failed all together. Then began dialysis. For those that dont know what that is, you basically get hooked up to a machine and they filter all of your blood, they usually take about 3 liters of fluid out. She had this 3-4 times a week. These days you feel like crap. You cannot do dialysis for ever. It is risky, but when your kidneys arent functioning, you have no choice. If you dont do it, toxins build up (what would normally come out in your urine), you swell up and can get VERY sick and you will die. She then went on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Lived at the Ronald McDonald House and Childrens Hospital more than she was at home. Doing test, etc. You basically you get a pager and if you get a page and they tell you they have a match kidney, you drop everything and HAUL ASS to the hospital. I remember one time, she got a page while we were all kicking back. She was SOOOOOO HAPPY!! FINALLY a transplant. Well they then got a call about 20minutes later with an apology that it was a mistake and it wasnt a match. She was devistated. Anyways, through the next couple of years on dialysis, she was in and out of the hospital, taking LOTS of meds, at one time she was taking 52 pills a DAY. Try that for even a week. She got her transplant finally at about 16. Her mom gave her one of hers. FINALLY!! Everything was going great. Kidney was doing fine, she was living life again. At about 20 years old, her body rejected the kidney and it was back to square one again. Back to pills, back to catheders, back to being a human pin cushion. In late 2003 she went back into the hospital. A total of 4 months this time. While she was in there she had multiple infections, etc. She began to get blood clots. They gave her blood thinner. Well, SOMEHOW, they gave it to her for WAY to long and caused a hematoma (a clot/growth of some kind) on her brain. They said she would not make it out of the hospital alive. They ordered emergency brain surgery and got the best brain doctor around. She made it. They split her head fron forhead to back down behind her ear. But she made it. Throughout 2004 she had multiple seizures and was in and out. Her body was getting tired. She was tired of the meds, and tired of dialysis. Since she had been bed ridden in the hospital and lost so much weight. She was not able to walk around for any distance, she was depening on family for most things. She hated it. Dec. 4, 2004 she had another seizure. This time is was major. She had died for a total of 7 minutes on the way to the hospital (closest hospital is 20 miles away). She ended up having a stroke the next day. Basically in a coma. Doctors said she would not make it more than a few days. Well she fought and fought. That is all she knows how to do. She is not a quiter. She was on life support and had numerous infections. She would start getting better all of the sudden...be 'fine' for a few days, then 5 more things would pop up. Came to the point where in order for her to even have a remote chance she had to have a trech put in (where the cut your throat so you can breath out of that instead of your mouth/nose) Then better, than another infection. This went on for a few months until Feb. 16th. Her jugulars were clogged. Blood going up to the brain, but not coming back down, a couple veins in her brain were clogged etc. The time had come. The doctors all got together and finally said, there was NOTHING else they could do. Nothing they were doing was helping. Doctors from UCLA concured. This was it. We all sat in a room with the doctors and agreed to take her off of life support. They said she would pass in a few hours. They moved her out of CCU and into her own room where we could be with her 24 hours a day. She moved into her room Feb. 16th2005 at 2pm. No ventilator, no meds, nothing. Well Crystal fought like she always did. Proved the doctors wrong as she always did. Everytime the nurses came through to take her vitals...heart rate was good, oxygen level was good, she was breathing on her own. This lasted until Friday Feb. 18th. at about 5pm. Her body was shutting down. The longest days of my life. Sitting there by her bedside, wiping the sweat off of her head, etc. From about 5pm until about 3:30am saturday morning she fought and fought. If you have never sat at someones bedside and watched and waited for them to die before, it is an experience I wish no one go through. But I was there as I know she would have been there for me. I dont regret it one bit. She fought and fought and fought. At about 3:45am Feb.19th 2005 Crystal passed away. NO more pain, no more pills, no more needles, no more hospitals. She is in a better place now. I dont know how to post a picture, so here is the one from the Obituary: http://obits.venturacountystar.com/02-20-05/utley.shtml RIP Crystal Also, one more thing...not sure how many of you know about the different charities, etc out there...but if you ever have a chance to donate or help out The Ronald McDonald House http://www.rmhc.com/mission/index.html or http://www.larmh.org/ or the Make-A-Wish Foundation http://www.wish.org/.....they truely kick ass. Crystal actually qualified for the make-a-wish foundation and they sent her and all of her family (5) to Hawaii when she was 16...ALL expenses paid!!!!