Richard Mudd. His death on May 28, 2009 inspired this site.

by Joe Mudd on June 10, 2009

Here’s a quick tip for you.

If you miss a call on your phone, and don’t recognize the number, and when you call back they answer, “Fayette County Coroner” – your day is about to go in the toilet.

Mine did.

It got worse.

After apologizing for breaking the news to me over the phone, the coroner lady told me they had the sheriff stopping by our house to inform us of are sons death, but no one was home. My wife Debbie was at a class in Louisville that night. I didn’t want her coming home to have a deputy sheriff waiting for her in the driveway. I knew I had to be the one to tell her that her baby was dead. So I called her.

No wonder I hate phones.

Our son Richard was 22 years old, would have been 23 at the end of August had he lived.

Three years before his death, Richard got sick. The whole story is long, but the short version is he had a sinuous infection that broke through his skull in the area over his eyes. It then abscessed into his brain.

This required two brain surgeries to remove successfully. His doctors decided to not return the part of his skull that formed his forehead because of possible infection. He had to have another operation after all the infection was cleared to replace this bone with a plastic replacement plate.

The operations left him with scare tissue in his brain, just as a cut leaves scar tissue on the skin.

This scar tissue was a place that could trigger seizures.

He had seizures on two occasions. The first time he wasn’t on medication. It’s believed he was being lax taking the medication on the second time.

Both seizures were massive. They caused his entire body to convulse. They came nonstop. They were medical emergencies and he ended up staying in the hospital for several days after each.  A couple of days in intensive care after the second seizure.

But he was taking medication – Kepra – and things were going well. He had been more than a year and a half seizure free.

Richard was a full time student. He had a part-time job. He lived in an apartment by himself. This of course made us pretty nervous. We knew that if he had a seizure in his apartment alone, the outcome would be disaster.

Richard was very close to his cousin Hannah. They grew up together and went through all of our family big events together. Hannah was graduating from college. Richard should have been too, but he lost a couple of years school work during all his medical adventures. He told Hannah he had brain surgery so she could have a graduation party all to herself.  We were having a family gathering to celebrate her accomplishment on a Saturday afternoon. My wife Debbie talked to Richard on Friday night and he said he couldn’t make it to the party because he had to work. But he might come home on Sunday.

I sent him a text message on Saturday night to see if he was coming home. He didn’t answer. That wasn’t too unusual – I didn’t know what hours he was working. He didn’t make it home that weekend. I sent him a message early in the week to see how he was. I got no answer. That made me anxious. But there had been another time he didn’t respond to calls or text messages. I got concerned then. It turned out his phone had quit. He was using cheap Walmart phones and they didn’t last. So I tried to stay calm.

On Thursday evening I sent him another text message from work to see how he was. No answer. More nerves. Then about 10pm I got a call over my radio at work to come to a phone. I looked at my cell phone and saw I’d missed a call. I didn’t recognize the number. But it was from Lexington where Richard lived. I thought maybe his phone was dead again and he was calling from work or a friends place to touch base. I called the number.

And the nightmare that never ends began.

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