For me, the fact that we are just a couple months away from the one year anniversary of her incident is difficult. On one hand, I can't believe how much time has gone by and how much progress she made, and on the other hand, I can't believe how long it's been since I last "experienced" the "old" Leslie.
Leslie struggles a lot with depression. She wants to be back to where she used to be just as desperately as we want her back. I don't really like to talk about what happened much anymore, but I love to talk about how accomplished my sister is. From obtaining her master's degree to studying abroad in Spain, she has done so much. It always made me so proud to tell people what she has done. I totally get it when Leslie cries about how much things have changed. What I wish I could stress to her, though, is just how amazingly far she has come. She doesn't get that, since she obviously wasn't aware when any of the most critical events were happening.
- We were first allowed back to see her at Brownstown Emergency Room. We had to go back in two's. The entire staff working that day looked at us with such sympathy. I remember that clearly.
- Seeing her for the first time...she had two tubes in her nose down to her stomach, a few IV's, the ventilator in her mouth, and restraints on her arms so she couldn't pull any of it out. When I first saw her, I remember thinking "I will be right here to explain everything to her when she wakes up"...with the thoughts that she was going to wake up any second. Little did I know, it would be DAYS before she woke up
- Seeing her settled at the ICU at Henry Ford Main, having seizures every few minutes. Her entire body shook. The entire bed shook. And all we could do was stand around her and stare.
- The night I broke down HARD. Sobbing hysterically. My face was right up next to hers and my body leaning over her. As I sobbed, she showed no response.
- When she finally DID wake up, but her speech was not coherent and she had no control over anything
- The day we finally got to wash her hair, but she couldn't even sit up in the wheelchair. She kept slumping to the left. She finally wrapped her arms around my waist and looked up at me pitifully and told me she loved me
- When she finally made it to rehab, but she was being taught such basic things... walking, bathing, using the bathroom
- When she first came home and she would spend the day with me while her husband was at work. I literally had to do everything for her...help her shower, help her dress, remind her to eat, etc.
See how far she has come? She is SO CLOSE to being back to normal. Sure, there are many things she can't do. But it's not that she won't ever do them again. It's that she's not doing them YET. I remember when this first happened, and for many months after, I kept saying "Why her? Why us?" It took me almost a full year to realize that tragedies happen daily... to many people. And no one ever deserves it and there is rarely ever an explanation. Reminding myself that our situation may be unique, but we are NOT alone in our sadness, anger, and inability to understand has helped me cope so much.
The million dollar question has always been "How's your sister doing?" And my answer? "She's doing amazing."