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May 4, 2011

Well. I’m back.

Kind of. I’m back home after a month of, well, pure hell. I will come back to reading and writing, but it will probably be slowly and not on a particularly regular basis. I apologize for this, as I am sure being consistent is helpful. However, I think I’ll be writing mainly for me at this point. In that same vein, I probably won’t be touching on my normal subject matter for a while, focusing on life in a more general sense… in addition to processing some of what has happened.

To begin, in this post I just wanted to give a brief update, although I can’t promise the brief part. One consistent aspect of this has been my inability to stop once I actually start talking.

The first week of April was hell. My sister was in a coma, my parents were falling apart. I pretty much emotionally shut down, because I couldn’t handle both my sister and my parents’ grief. I stopped being able to cry, for the most part. This was obviously not a good thing, but it did allow me to basically hold my parents together.

For instance. My mom’s work called her, because they had no idea what was going on. All my mom could do was sob “Rachel is dying, I can’t do this” into the phone. So. I called her work back to explain.

In addition, you know how everyone has their own opinion about quality of life and allowing someone to die? You know how you hear about people fighting over taking someone off of life support? Well. Although my sister was showing no clinical improvement, and although we found a will that said she did not want to be on life support, and although having my sister survive as a vegetable was unfathomable, we did indeed have doctors and nurses who decided their own agendas were more important. Doctors who refused to see us, and snuck in the room during the breif moments we stepped out to eat (and then we were told “well. The doctor did come to see her, but you weren’t here.” after we actually were there all day, and waited all day to see said doctor… any idea how insulting that is?). One doctor attempted to put in a feeding tube when we went to get lunch, and against our explicit wishes. He was stopped by the nurses. Speaking of nurses, we had several who were wonderful, but also those few who refused to come into the room while we were there because it was “too difficult” for them to provide care for a comatose 28-year-old woman whose family was considering taking her off of life support. It’s a good fucking thing both my parents are in the medical field, because my sister went literally hours without seeing either a doctor or a nurse. We took care of her.

Her doctor also went behind our backs to talk with the hospital ethicist, who told him that there was nothing ethically wrong here. The doctor responded with “Well, maybe there is something legal that can be done, then.

At the worst of it, we were afraid to talk to anyone, or have any conversations that someone might overhear. We were talking with the ethicist, as well as hospital administration, who got involved after the doctor’s little visit. The hospital didn’t want to get sued, see. Of course, little did they know we’d never do such a thing, and even if we would, we were in no place to attempt it. I though I would have to get a lawyer myself, because my parent’s were completely incapable of even considering the fact that Rachel’s doctors might take us to court. On top of, you know, everything else.

Well. Just when things seemed they couldn’t get worse (even though, clearly, they could), my sister began waking up.

She has since improved almost daily. She has regained her motor skills, can do most everything for herself, and is learning to speak again. She has also been discharged from the hospital and inpatient rehab. She’s currently at home with my parents, undergoing outpatient rehab.

We have moved all of her things back to my parent’s house. Her old work is replacing her. She has a long road ahead.

Now. It’s easy to think that all is well. It’s easy to think I should be celebrating now… and, for awhile, I did. But.

My sister isn’t particularly happy. She’s sullen, and her response to almost everything is “no”. She doesn’t respond well to my parents, or to me. She doesn’t engage. We’ve been warned that these events can either dampen or heighten feelings of depression and anxiety. When my mom asked what she could do to “safeguard” their house, she was told there was nothing, really, that she could do. If an adult is suicidal, they will find a way. And people who attempt suicide once, try again.

And my parents, who were looking at retirement, who have all this money saved for travel and spending time together, have a sullen, possibly suicidal, child moving back in with them. My mom is considering never going back to work to take care of my sister, and my dad… well. He can’t really handle taking care of her. He has SO much [irrational, unwarranted] guilt about this, he is SO desperate to reach her, to do something that helps her… he can’t deal with the fact that reaching her, right now, might be impossible.

I have A LOT of anger at what my sister did and what she put my parents through. What she continues to put them through, and what she has done to their lives.

I know I shouldn’t think this way, but for the love, I can’t handle people telling me to “think positive“. YES things are night-and-day better than they were but… goddamn, things are still shit. Telling me they’re not, or that they will get better, is not helpful to me right now.

I know a big part of that is my current mental state. I know it’s because I shut down. I also know it’s my anger and my need to process everything – something I have not yet had the time or space to do. But still.

Sometimes, things are just fucking shit.

It’s ok that not everyone understands. It’s ok that well wishes don’t always help.

Yes, I am seeing a therapist.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 1:55 pm

    I was just thinking of you this morning. I’m sorry to read about what you’re going through, but I’m glad you’re back.

    • May 4, 2011 2:21 pm

      Hey thanks, lady. Yeah… I think I’ll be writing again because I want to, but not real sure it’ll always be pretty.

      Hope all is well with you!

  2. May 4, 2011 1:55 pm

    Big hugs hon!

    • May 4, 2011 2:21 pm

      Thanks honey. You’ve been a big help. Wish you could actually send Guinness! 😉

  3. May 4, 2011 2:20 pm

    Hugs to you, sweet pea.

    • May 4, 2011 2:26 pm

      Hey thanks, lady. Hugs always help.

  4. May 4, 2011 2:50 pm

    I am glad you are back and terribly sorry for what you are going through. It’s good that you are writing though and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Sometimes having a place where you don’t have to worry about being pretty but can really just be honest helps.

    I’m sending you hugs and tequila – lots of both!

    (And thanks for the email, I promise I was planning on answering it)

    • May 5, 2011 2:57 pm

      Yeah – one of the tough things is talking to people that aren’t your very closest friends. I am not in a “pretty” place mentally, nor is it healthy, and a lot of my thoughts aren’t things that make sense to people. Well. So be it. I have little to no capacity for sugarcoating, and I’d prefer to not talk at all if I can’t be honest.

      I realize that’s not exactly abnormal from who I am in general but… when the subject matter turns to quality of life and family members? Becomes a bit touchier…

      Thank you for the hugs and the tequila even more so. No worries on the e-mail. It’s a lot to respond to, I know that full well. Thanks for your original e-mail – it did help.

  5. May 4, 2011 4:00 pm

    Whatever you need, we’ve got your back.


    • May 5, 2011 2:58 pm

      Hey thanks Jax. Never doubted you guys – and missed you. Haven’t had a chance to catch up with last month’s Insomnia, but am looking forward to reading it…

      Much love.

  6. May 4, 2011 4:29 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you and your sister and family. Thank you for sharing this update with us, even though I am sure it was very difficult. My heart goes out to you so much. I am so close to my sisters and when I shared this blog with them, we just told each other how much we loved each other. So for that, thank you for reminding me how short life is sometimes. XOXO.

    • May 5, 2011 3:06 pm

      I am so glad you shared this with your sisters to remind each other how much you care. It’s not that you ever forget, but it’s important to say it out loud sometimes. My hope would be that these kind of things cause other people pause, and in the end, greater appreciation for the life they have.

      Thank you so much for your continued support! XOXO.

  7. May 4, 2011 4:56 pm

    So glad to hear from you again Nikki. Knowing what you went through makes the everyday trivial problems look so trivial.

    Huggs and support.


    • May 5, 2011 3:08 pm

      Thanks Bob, and thank you for all your support and e-mails. I am sorry I wasn’t better about responding, but I did hear your words. Love.

  8. May 5, 2011 11:06 pm

    You’re absolutely right — sometimes, things are just fucking shit. I think that’s so we appreciate the non-shit times, whenever they may come.

    Take care, you.

    • May 6, 2011 11:06 am

      Oh – it definitely makes us appreciate the non-shit times. If you can’t at least that good thing come from shit, then it really is just shit.

      I’m trying. Hope you’re taking care, too.

  9. May 6, 2011 1:10 am

    Denny’s here. Much love.

    • May 6, 2011 11:06 am

      Thank you, Denny.

  10. May 6, 2011 12:05 pm

    There’s really nothing I can say – anything I type would pretty much be for my benefit, for my feeling the need to reach out. Selfish. But I do hope that the situation improves, and I’m supremely pissed off at the doctors, having had a similar experience in the past with their blatantly ignoring a patient’s wishes.

    • May 9, 2011 8:24 am

      I don’t think the need to reach out is selfish. There was a time when other people contacting me was not something that I needed, I needed to be left alone with my family. That time is really over, and I need the support now. It’s hard asking for that, and *not* falling into the passive-aggressive mindset where “surely if they cared, they’d call” hey-read-my-mind bullshit – but it helps thinking about what would actually make me feel better.

      So. No, sometimes reaching out isn’t selfish. I know it’s difficult to know what to say, but it’s the thought that counts.

      I also know I’m not alone in my experience with the hospital staff. What burns me most is that, despite their high-and-mighty attitude, they actually clearly cared not one whit about my sister. They provided her with barely any care, yet their beliefs made them feel they could dictate what was “best” for her. WTF. My dad said it was experiences like that, and being on this side of them, that makes people better doctors.

  11. May 9, 2011 2:03 am

    Nothing I can say can make anything better. But if ever you think of something I can do, or help with, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message. I’m here for you. xo

    • May 9, 2011 9:43 am

      Just the support and shout-outs mean a lot. And, yeah, words are hard. Seems like the only ones that help are from people who’ve been through shit, because I find myself often at a loss as to how to proceed.

      Thanks for the love, lady.

  12. Esme permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:01 pm

    I have been wondering how you are…of course I wanted to read things were peachy-keen, but such is the way of life. Damn it. But I will definitely yell out at the top of my lungs that THINGS ARE FUCKING SHIT! with you…sometimes it helps…

    I hope you all continue to heal, in whatever way you need to. Love.

  13. May 12, 2011 7:41 pm

    nikki dear – i’m finally back.

    i just caught up on all your posts…. i wasn’t sure if there would be anything here when i stopped by.

    well, first of all, i must say that it is a miracle your sister is alive. although, i understand your anger, your hurt, and your frustrations.

    ironically, right after this happened to your sister, my 17 yr old niece was found unconscious, bleeding from her nose and with a lung collapsed from a drug overdose. she was ten min away from dying when they got her to the hospital.

    i hate drugs.

    my heart hurts for you and what your parents are going through. I”m so sorry. I know that doesn’t help, but i’ve truly been thinking about you. and if you ever need to vent, you can always email me.

    hugs to you.

    • May 15, 2011 5:13 pm

      OMFG Blunty. WTF. I hate drugs too.

      Hugs right back at you.


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