It is with heavy heart we inform you that our dear Susan passed away on Thursday, July 18, 2019. What follows is an account of what happened. At the end of this post, you will find information on ways you can share memories and receive updates on Susan Johnson Hadler.

Susan experienced a decline that seemed like flu from about May 2.  In the week that followed, her husband Jack brought her to the hospital and the decline increased until she experienced several seizures on May 12 (Mother’s Day), was intubated, and transferred to the ICU at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.   On May 13, the diagnosis Herpes simplex viral encephalitis came and an anti-viral treatment was in place for the next 4 weeks.  Susan’s husband Jack, children Sarah and Jacques, and other family members and close friends took turns staying by her side, knowing that her prognosis was seen as poor a week after treatment was begun.  

Susan’s physical condition became stable over her two weeks in the ICU, and while she continued in a coma, her stable medical condition indicated that she could be transitioned to a long term acute care specialty hospital Select (right across the street from Meriter), which occurred on Saturday, May 25.  

She became increasingly aware and able to do more and more over the next seven weeks.  Family and friends continued to be by her side throughout this time and the environment of supportive care, including physical, occupational and speech therapy, and patience, allowed for hope for her recovery over time.   Susan impressed everyone, from doctors, nurses, therapists to family and friends with her forward momentum during this time.  She smiled and made beautiful eye contact with all who came in the room. 

Things changed in the early morning hours of Friday, July 12th and Jack got a call that Susan’s vital signs had gone haywire, likely due to a pneumonia infection, and that Susan was being transferred back across the street to the ICU at Meriter. The doctor thought that it would be a routine 3-4 day stay and there was good hope that Susan would recover from the pneumonia.  Susan was put back on a respirator which seemed to be frustrating to her as she had begun to use her voice in the previous week.  Susan’s condition worsened on Friday evening and into Saturday afternoon in the form of agitation and tremors and a series of tests was done to try and pinpoint what was going on.  After these tests, it was ultimately realized that it was the pneumonia infection that was proving too tough for Susan to recover from.

On Tuesday, July 16th, Jack asked the attending doctor to let him know when death would become the likely path, for the sake of Susan’s children who would want to be with her and the doctor said that now was the time.  Jack called Jacques and Sarah, and they both arrived the next day, on July 17th, which would have been Susan’s father’s 100th birthday, had he lived.

Susan took her last breaths on Thursday, July 18th at 3:50pm CDT, surrounded by family, friends and spiritual community who remembered her amazing and wonderfully bountiful life, her marvelous attributes and specialness, while chanting, singing, praying, holding hands, and telling stories.  Towards the very end, Susan opened her beautiful, brown eyes and looked around, and especially at Jack, before taking her last breath.

We’ve created a message forum area on this site where you can share memories and photos of Susan.  There are links to it just above this post. Or click here for a link.