I’ve been thinking all year that I’d be heading back to Texas for another funeral, but I always thought it would be my end-stage alcoholic brother-in-law’s. As it turns out, it will likely be for my youngest sister, who just turned 44 in August.
I got a phone call yesterday at lunchtime from my other sister, saying she’d just gotten off the phone with our brother. My youngest sister’s significant other had taken her to the hospital; she’d left work early because she was weak and disoriented and suffering from severe abdominal pains. When he got her there, they discovered that her blood pressure was dangerously low. The ER staff could find no reason for this, nor could they stabilize her, so they sent her to another, larger, hospital via ambulance.
After a series of blood tests and a high-contrast CAT scan, they discovered a blockage in the part of the aorta that sends blood to her intestines. She went into surgery immediately, but before they could do much more than assess that she had suffered damage to her intestines from the lack of blood, her vitals waned to such a point that they closed the incision before removing the blockage, and put her on life support. It is extremely unlikely she will recover.
My brother and other sister are on their way from Dallas to Oklahoma and I’ll know more then. I won’t join them until we know one way or another; there’s not really anything I can do, and we don’t know what she wanted done in case of her death. She might want to be interred in Dallas, next to our mother (who died 20 years ago this December of something very similar), or she may want to remain in Oklahoma, in the country. I’ll go when I know where to go to.
My sister and I have never really been close – I am 10 years older and left home when she was just 8 – and have barely spoken in the last 12 years. We are very different people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her and am not devastated by this turn of events.
After I received the initial call, but before my sister’s surgery (I didn’t discover the outcome of that until 9 p.m. last night), my husband decided to chime in and talk about how awful she’d acted when we went to Dallas in January for my sister-in-law’s funeral. After a few minutes of this, I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.” He apologized and shut up – until I got the next update, when he started up again until I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.”
This went on periodically until he went to bed – I slept very little last night – and began again this morning, until I quietly said, as we pulled into the parking lot of our office, “She’s still my sister.”
He has also informed me that unless she hangs on until Thursday of next week that he can’t come with me to wherever it is I’ll be going – he has work commitments he cannot possibly postpone or rearrange. Of course. Once again, work comes before his wife.
And he seems hurt and confused because I do not want him to “comfort” me.
I’ll post an update when I know more.