Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today is October 20. This means that one month ago today, September 20, was when this story first began.

The moment I remember most about that day isn't initially hearing the news, or seeing her for the first time on the ventilator in the ER. It was when my parents, George, and I were sitting in the ICU waiting room waiting to be called back to see her. None of us spoke. We just sat there. I remember George stared at the ceiling, and my dad stared at the floor. My mom and I just sat side by side without saying a word. The only real noise amongst the 4 of us was quiet crying.

That day, I didn't think she'd be on the ventilator more than 24 hours. I remember it being such a shock when we finally got called back to see her in the ICU room, still on the vent, and having seizures every 1-3 seconds. We desperately wanted to touch her and talk to her, and we were told to stand back. We wanted to be close and we were told to not even touch the bed. Everything was triggering seizures. We just stood around her bed watching her tremble. We left that night knowing nothing more than what our eyes were seeing. I remember walking out of the hospital that night, sobbing, and saying to my mom "I need her."

At times, I throw myself a phenomenal pity party. I pity myself because I have to find time out of my already busy schedule to drive all the way to Detroit. I pity myself because every time I go, I have to pay to park. I pity myself because I have to sacrifice a night of sleep. I get frustrated because she just doesn't remember everything. She still doesn't know she is in a hospital. I get frustrated because as I am trying to divert her hands away from pulling out her foley catheter, she is already starting to tug at the PICC line in her arm. Or just as I get her all settled in bed, she sits up straight and says "get the gun, Laura! Someone is breaking in, don't you hear them?" and I tell her for what seems like the billionth time that she is in the hospital and she is safe. I pity myself for this roller coaster of emotions we have all been on this past month. From desperation, to agony, to joy, to excitement. It's exhausting and I just want some normalcy.

But then I stop myself. My God, I have my sister. Mentally she might not be all there (yet!), but I can touch her, see her, and hear her laugh. I can watch her make progress every single day. I can brush her hair and scratch her back. I hear her tell me she loves me, or refer to me as "sister". I can watch her eyes light up when she sees my kids. I am SO. LUCKY. I am lucky because although my family went through the worst tragedy of our lives, we have learned a lesson. At least I know I have. I love deeper. I take the time for small things. I have STRONG faith and a heart full of hope. I have learned to be a better nurse to my patients, and when the opportunity is appropriate, I share with them my sisters story to maybe help them see that I do understand their stress of being in the hospital.

But the bottom line is...she is still here and she is going to be okay. What her future holds, I don't know. And frankly, I don't even care. We made it through the worst...the best is yet to come. And I can't wait!


Cinnamon owl said...

Laura, throughout everything that has happened this month, the same theme sticks out in all your blogs- how much you love your sister, and what you mean to each other. The bond you have is so strong, that every reader can feel it. You are such a fantastic sister, as Leslie is to you as well.

I know that my brother means the world to me- my mother emphasized the same mantra, that Devin and I must always be there for each other and support each other, that no matter what happens in life, we know that we can count on the other. We know in a glance what the other is thinking-I would race to his side in a minute if he needed me. I know that this is exactly how you and Leslie feel about each other, and I know that if love can carry you and your family through this, everything will one day be fine. Maybe not the same,but you will be together. You have my prayers and my support, and I have faith.

Anonymous said...

beautiful post laura. there's a quote i wanted to share with you: "we had learn ourselves that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us" (frankl)and what you've posted here is a great example of the questions we ask ("why?") and what we get out of these situations (love, appreciation, deeper faith). keep looking forward and know that so many people love your family, and above all love leslie!

Anonymous said...

I was just sitting watching her relax for the night, and thinking that we could all learn alot from her. She has been through soo much, pain, fear, frustration, etc. yet she is always polite, happy to cooperate with the staff and caregivers, and easy going. If we all just handled the little things that got us in a tizzy half as well as she deals with everything life is throwing her way, the world would be a better place. i just love this girl.

Linda Ellis said...

Laura, you make my heart swell, you are not having pity parties at all, you are just human. And what love you have for your sister. Your Mom and Dad must be very proud. Erin and Devin have that love and I am so thankful for that. I know one day, they will really need each other, and the are always there for each other now. I remember you two coming to your Uncles shop and peeking into the window to look at Jerry, and of course as always I remember you both from day one, watching you grow. You have a wonderful life yet to share. Such love, such happiness and such times you are still going to have.

Kristin Stoops said...

Laura and family,
My name is Kristin and I went to Wayne State with Leslie for library school. I just found out everything that happened (via Facebook and this blog) today. Laura, thank you so very much for posting all of this!!!!

I am stunned with everything you've been through, Leslie! I am praying for you and your family and hope for the very best for you. Leslie is such a caring, smart, warm person - keep fighting, girl!! We're all praying for you!!!

Kristin Stoops