So Much Tragedy in One Life

My Beautiful Youngest Sister

Jill was hospitalized last Friday after falling out of bed at the nursing home. When she arrived in the Emergency Room, it was discovered that Jill had pneumonia. Thankfully, no bones were broken and there was no brain damage due to the fall. Jill is recovering after spending several days in the ICU where she continues to have dialysis every other day. In a few days Jill will be transferred to a medium care facility called Cornerstone. She had been there before after she broke her leg about 8 or 9 months ago. Since that time Jill has been in a nursing facility.

I have visited Jill a couple of times this week as the hospital is quite close. Today the doctor told John that Jill has some dementia. I guess I am not surprised given her overall health and the way she has cared for herself over the years. Still it is a horrible diagnosis. What can the future hold for her? Will she ever be able to live outside the nursing home? Those questions cannot be answered now, but it does concern me.

Jill has COPD, congestive heart disease, poor circulation especially in her legs, her kidneys no longer function. Jill has diabetes which requires dialysis three times a week to clean her blood. She broke her left hip last year and this year broke the left lower leg which is still not strong enough to hold her up. Will she ever walk again? I think it is doubtful especially given her weight.

I can’t help but ask how much can I person suffer? Granted Jill has not taken care of herself over the last 62 years; she has smoked since she was 14 or 15 years old. Jill has not done what is necessary to eat the right things.

I am overwhelmed by this diagnosis. It makes me so sad.

December 21, 2018

After thinking about the diagnosis for a while, I am not sure about it. I think Jill is just a difficult person. She doesn’t read or watch the news and has few outside friends, so how could she be oriented to place and time? Jill has been returned to the nursing facility for now. Please God, give her some joy!

December 23, 2018

I saw Jill yesterday. I will see her again tomorrow and then again on Tuesday. I had plans to see her today, but she was taken to dialysis. I am almost certain that this is Jill’s last Christmas. She has given up hope of ever leaving the nursing home. I feel so bad for Jill and just wish that I could take her into our home. Neither Larry nor I nor even the two of us together could take care of her. I know Jill just wants to go home, to see her little dogs again. I feel so helpless right now. My prayer has been lately “Lord if you aren’t going to heal her in this life, then please just take her home.” It really isn’t fair how much she has suffered.

Yesterday Jill’s eyes were rimmed with red. I know she spent the night crying as she told me that she didn’t sleep the night before. Jill’s left foot was bleeding on the top right through the sock and dressing. She didn’t seem to care, but I had the nurse come and change the bandage. The nursing home didn’t smell good either, even though it is one of the best. Maybe because it was morning – I really don’t know. Even if I see Jill tomorrow, I won’t be able to stay a long time, and I know she will want me to. How do I do this, Lord? My heart is breaking for her. What can I say or do to give her hope?

This is the time that we need mom and dad – they always had the answers. But they are gone as well with Jeannie and Christine. All anyone can say is that “we are so sorry”. But sorry doesn’t answer me or Jill. Sorry is just a meaningless word.

What is God asking of me in this moment? To throw everything into His lap? To trust Him that He has the answers? Or is there something else that I should be doing? I just don’t know.

This should be a time of joy with Christmas just a day away, but it isn’t for me or for Jill. How do I do this?

January 1, 2019

Today Jill called me – this afternoon – moaning because she had to use the potty and couldn’t find anyone to help her. Jill told me that John didn’t want to hear from her today – I know he had to work. What was I supposed to do? So I called the nursing home and after multiple rings, someone answered. I explained the problem – two people were needed to operate the Hoyer lift to get Jill on the bed and on a potty. I told that woman that if someone didn’t get there soon, I would be calling back. I was hoping that I wouldn’t need to drive there to handle this. A few minutes later Jill called saying that she did receive help.

I feel bad for Jill. Her dilemma is insurmountable. Without being able to use her legs and with her weight, there is nothing she can do for herself. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for her. Did she even ask someone to help her? I don’t know the answer to that. All I do know is that the situation is beyond my being able to change. It makes me so tired to even deal with this.