Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Unfair, unjust

I am trying not to be overwhelmed by all of this.

I have no right to be. I am not visiting my daughter in the ICU. I am not fielding panicked phone calls from my terrified niece, who knows too much about medicine to sit by her mother’s bedside and convince herself that things will, without a doubt, end up okay. I am not that girl – and really, she’s just a kid – who has to balance being a daughter and a nurse. I am not The Other Daughter, terrified of the ICU and getting up every morning and going to swim practice and to high school.

I am not my grandma, my mom. I am not either of my cousins.

I have not visited my aunt in the hospital. I don’t entirely feel that I have the right to.

I don’t know what to say to Anna – who called off work each of the last two nights. She feels like it is her responsibility to sit by her mom’s bedside. Acting as her health advocate. Being her own personal nurse, not her daughter. I think she is a little resentful of that.

“When my dad came in last night, she said to him ‘I am sorry that I am sick,’” Anna told me last night. “When Emma was there? ‘I’m sorry I am so sick.’ Do you know what she said to me? ‘Thank you for helping.’”

She became a nurse so that she could help her mom. It wasn’t a conscious choice. My mom became a nurse so that she could help her sister. She did not realize it, either.

If you have been reading this blog for years and years now (we’re almost at the four-year mark, kids), or if you read the archives all the way back to late fall 2005, you might remember when Aunt Marie broke her ankle.

If you’re a newer reader, here is the recap:
October, 2005: Aunt Marie breaks her ankle falling down the stairs
November, 2005: Aunt Marie develops an infection in the ankle. She is hospitalized for a month, while they try to get the infection under control so that they will not have to amputate.
Early 2006: Aunt Marie re-breaks the ankle. Back to the hospital.
At various points between then and now: she is hospitalized. Not always because of her ankle. All related to her diabetes.
Because of the disease, because of how frail she is and the infection and all of the damage to her ankle, it never completely healed. It remained swollen, disfigured, painful. She walks with a cane.

And now, she is septic. There is infection in her blood.

They traced the infection to her ankle.

It is likely that they will amputate.

Losing a limb is sad. My aunt has fought, for nearly three years, to keep that foot. When she is lucid enough to realize what is happening, she will be devastated.

But really? Get rid of that fucking foot. Get rid of it so she can live.

Because her living through this is not a guarantee.


Anonymous said...

damn. that's awful. i'm so sorry.

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