My sister is deathly ill. I got the call on Tuesday. She lives in Ontario where she has lived and worked for many years. We see each other about every two years or so. I live twelve hundred miles away. Both of us are divorced and support ourselves so it takes a couple of years to save up the money to take a trip, for both of us. This past year we were to go on an adventure but I ended up having to have my innards cleared out. She spent her extra money fixing up her home.
When we were young we hated each other. She is almost two years older. I was the responsible one. She was the wild party girl. We did not get along until we got older. Now we are the last of our family. We have bonded tightly over the years. And, forgiven each for our sins.
My sister spent many years living in Germany where she ended up after divorcing her American soldier and marrying a German. She has two sons and about seven or eight grandchildren that are still there . We went there on an trip in two thousand and six. It had been twelve years since she had seen her children. It’s amazing where life takes us and the decisions we make. Unfortunately we can never change what we have done. We can only come to grips with what has occurred and move forward.
I am in a state of shock that she is so ill. What happened is she stopped taking her medications. Her family doctor hadn’t seen her in months. Both of us take medication for an under active thyroid. This is not a disorder you want to take lightly. Obviously she did and stopped her medications.
Our thyroids regulate and influence every body system. Look it up. It is a small gland that does a mighty big job in the body. She stopped her medications for god knows why and went into what is called “Myxedema coma is defined as severe hypothyroidism leading to decreased mental status, hypothermia, and other symptoms related to slowing of function in multiple organs. It is a medical emergency with a high mortality rate.
Everything shuts down. Patients get confused. The blood pressure is affected. They become very tired even lethargic later on, and then confused. If they are not treated everything spirals down until death can occur. What a dumb ass! How could she not take her medications.
I am sure that in the beginning she just started missing doses and then more doses. When you start to go down hill you are so tired that it is hard just getting through your day. Remembering things fall to the wayside as you become more ill and more confused. I don’t blame her. I can see how it happened.
Both of us still work full time and we are in our sixties. For her it was probably all about just making it to work everyday until she collapsed and her friend found her. She is now on a ventilator. The nurses are not overly friendly or kind when I call. One nurse told me when I asked what her prognosis was, as I am trying to plan a trip, that ” I am not God, I can’t predict what will happen. First we have to get her off the vent.” I swear those were her words. As a nurse I can not imagine anyone saying something like that to a family member.
Well she is stable at this point. Doing a little better according to one of those angels of mercy. They are getting her thyroid level up and her blood pressure stable. And, her son is coming from Germany. She has not seen him since our trip in two thousand and six although they do talk on the phone every now and then. I hope all goes well when he arrives.
For me I am trying to decide when to go because if she is going to have to go to a nursing home or something I want to be there to help her at that time.. It doesn’t look good for her going back to work. I can’t just take off for endless days as l am on my own as well.
What a mess!!!! it is terrible when family members live so far apart. We don’t think about that when we travel all over the world. But, who is going to take care of us when we get old and can’t care for ourselves. It is a problem you young people should be thinking about. It is not easy to provide care or comfort long distance.
Anyway, when I go I will drive as it will be the cheapest way to get there. I will definitely need my car when I arrive. The dilemma for me is the eighteen hour drive alone. You need a passport to get into Canada. I have one but none of my children do so I will have to make the long trip on my own. Need I say that this scares me. A lone woman on the road for two days. There is no way I could make it in one day. I have a hard time driving at night.
So, what I did was call my local J C Penny store and make this very strange request. I asked them if I could use, rent, or buy a mannequin to take on my trip. I told the assistant manager that all I needed was the upper body with the head so it would look like a person driving along with me. I told her I could dress it up and no one would know that I was alone. I really am scared to drive that far alone.
She went on to tell me about store policy, how expensive they were, and other none essential things about mannequins. According to her they cost about three hundred dollars. I offered my J C Penny’s card. She said they wouldn’t have a bar code to charge it… Can you believe this!
She finally agreed to ask the store manager who was unavailable and promised she would call me back either way. Guess what. No call. No go to hell you lunatic. No sorry we don’t care how scared you are to drive to Canada alone because we don’t have a bar code. Nothing!!!
J C Penny’s has always been my favorite store. I have shopped there for a hundred years and spent thousands of dollars. No kidding. I think after this I may go to Dillards. Now I know that my request was crazy, wild even, not policy, etc, but I need to make this trip and I wanted to have a pretend human along for the ride. I guess I will have to try another big name store when I am ready to make the trip. I certainly won’t ask J C Penny.
So the moral of this story, and I always have a little moral, is to take your medications as prescribed. Don’t miss them. Don’t stop them without talking with your doctor. You don’t know what will happen in your body if you do. Obviously my sister didn’t. Say a little prayer for me and her.
I am not ready to lose her. Take care of you and take care of those you love.