Jill had quite a difficult experience in the hospital last week. She was sent to the Scott and White in Round Rock when she went to have some blood tests before a hysterectomy. The blood tests revealed a diminished kidney function and low blood count. She was admitted to the hospital where they intended to give her two units of blood – which they did – and a different diet to see if the imbalance in kidney function could be fixed. After a couple of days the doctors decided to do a kidney needle biopsy so they could look at the cells in her kidney to try to determine what was going on. Those results are not yet back as they take several days. The kidney biopsy ended up causing bleeding which after a couple of days had not stopped. On Thursday evening Jill called me at home – I had been visiting daily – to say that she couldn’t pee and that she couldn’t get anyone to help her. I called the desk on her floor and begged them to send someone and then rushed to the hospital. When I arrived she had still not had help and was in terrible pain. I grabbed the first nurse I could find and the catheter was flushed and then removed where it was obvious that clots had stopped up the catheter. When I left the hospital about 10pm, she was relaxed with no catheter and about to sleep. Sometime during the night the bleeding must have really begun because another catheter was inserted. After speaking with her on Friday, I was determined to stay that night with her. She was frantic and afraid, crying and still bleeding. I knew that she would have difficulty getting help if she needed it. Larry drove me to the hospital, and I prepared to spend the night.
The “sofa” on which a family member can sleep is perhaps the most uncomfortable thing they can find. Perhaps it is designed that way – at least it seems so. But I was determined to stay with her. I had brought a rosary for her and the one for me which I usually carry in my purse. I thought that if I prayed the rosary aloud – softly – it would help her sleep. She had been complaining that she had not slept during her time in the hospital. Jill didn’t want to hold the one I brought for her, which was fine. I shut out the lights and was preparing to make myself as comfortable as I could when I had this feeling that God was smiling at me. I was grateful for the feeling, as I knew the night would be almost endless with little or no sleep. The nurse had given Jill ativan to help her sleep.
As I lay there softly beginning to pray, I was sure that I saw the Blessed Mother just as I had when I had been hospitalized with chest pains earlier in the year. The image was in color but flickered in and out. I saw it with my mind’s eye. I am certain it wasn’t my imagination, as I am sure that I can hold an image for longer than a fraction of a second. Anyway, I felt comforted knowing the Mary was with us and watching over us.
As I looked toward Jill’s bed, I saw mom and dad standing off to the side, together, praying with me. Their figures were in shadow – there was only the light from under the bathroom door showing – and the colors were only grey looking and fuzzy, almost far away if that makes sense. I wasn’t frightened because it was mom and dad, but I also felt Jean and Christine were there standing at the foot of her bed, though I couldn’t see them. I just knew they were there. I realized that all 6 of us had not been together in more than 10 years, and I began to cry. But I continued praying. I don’t know how long the images or feelings lasted. The rest of the night is kind of a blur, with me twisting and turning, trying to adjust the pillows and blankets but never getting comfortable.
Jill slept most of the night. I didn’t, so I was really fatigued when Larry came for me. I was able to sleep about 4 hours that afternoon, but couldn’t go to the Saturday Mass as I was so tired. I had called the parish for a priest before I left for the hospital Friday night. Fr. Sang called about midnight (Friday) and Larry explained that it was me who called. Fr. Sang asked that I return his call when I returned home. I did and explained the situation a little, and he promised to visit with Jill either later on Saturday or on Sunday. He was able to visit Saturday evening. All day Saturday the blood was still coming out of the catheter. So far last week Jill had received 5 units of blood, probably little of which stayed inside of her. Saturday evening Fr. Sang visited the hospital after he celebrated Mass that evening. He called me from the hospital as he had forgotten the paper with her name and room number. I called Jill to tell her that Fr. Sang was on the way. Fr. Sang stayed with Jill more than a half hour. She liked him and was anointed. When I left the hospital on Saturday morning the blood in the catheter bag was deep red. I had remarked to the nurse that it seemed to me that the percentage of blood to urine was increasing. She agreed.
That evening after Fr. Sang’s visit the catheter was changed to include a part which flushed the bladder with saline solution. During the night Jill was in a lot of pain, as clots kept blocking the tube. I went to the hospital early Sunday morning before the 11am Mass. The catheter bag had no blood in it. The urine was clear. By Sunday afternoon Jill was on the way home.
Jill’s kidneys are still failing, as far as I know. She is to see a kidney specialist in Round Rock. I don’t know if she was able to make an appointment yesterday when she called. Neither John nor Jill really keep me apprised of what is happening, except for those times when Jill is hospitalized. I don’t know if or when the hysterectomy can occur. I have recognized that I cannot give Jill a kidney; I may not even be a match. But I have made peace with that. I will do what I can do. I will accompany her on this journey and hope and pray that she will be at peace with whatever happens. I cannot change her life or make her well, no matter how hard I try. Being an older sister is really difficult. Though we think our task is to fix things and take care of our siblings, we really can’t.
I have called Fr. Sang for an appointment. I don’t know what I will say, but part of me knows that I will need some help in getting through all of this, if I am to be of assistance to Jill. I told Jane Delaney this morning that this is the last year I will be serving as a facilitator. Maybe I am being premature, but it is wearing me down. It has been six years, six very good years as a facilitator with WCSS. With Jill perhaps needing more help from me, I just won’t have the time. I don’t know if Karen will continue with a new partner or not.
It was one of those experiences that I cannot describe all that well. I can’t even explain why I know what I saw or convince someone that I really saw my parents and Mary. I just know what I know and am grateful for what happened.