I am coming to know about my littlest sister in these past few days and week than I knew before.
Everyone at the nursing home speaks of how they just love Jill. I never knew. They love her jokes and her feistiness. They spoke of her courage and willingness to do the hard thing and go to dialysis even though she didn’t want to. They spoke of Jill’s kindness to others. Who knew? Not me.
But what I am hearing is such a blessing to me. I thank God that I have this opportunity to learn this about my youngest sibling. And it gives me confidence that Jill’s eternal home will be in heaven with God.
One of the ladies at the home who went to dialysis had to have a thumb amputated. Jill went to the lunch room with her everyday after that and actually fed the woman.
The drivers who took Jill to dialysis have been coming to visit even in the middle of the night while Jill lies dying. They try to feed her and give her liquids to drink. They talk with and to her. They remind Jill that she is loved.
Darla, a friend of mine and ombudsman at the nursing home, has helped me with Jill’s care. She visited with Jill yesterday and spoke with her.
How is it that I have been so ignorant of who my sister is?
Jill passed from this life today just after 1pm. I was in her room, talking with Shannon, a kind woman who had met Jill and often arranged transportation for the nursing facility. They say that people can hear, that hearing is the last thing to go. Did I say enough? Did I tell her I loved her enough? Why was there a tear in Jill’s eye when she passed? Was it sadness or joy? I will never know, at least not in this life.
I don’t know how to feel right now. I have been tired. I have gone to the nursing home every day since she returned from the hospital a little over a week ago. Before that I was visiting Jill in the hospital – two different hospitalizations separated by only a few days. Why did I visit with Jill? Was it out of duty or was there something else? Was it love? Toward the end I knew that I wanted to be with her, to comfort her if I could. But did I comfort her? I hope so.
Jill’s life was really difficult – perhaps even from the beginning but mostly after she was diagnosed with diabetes. She didn’t take care of herself well. She smoked since she was a teenager. Jill had non Hodgkins lymphona and then some time later Jill’s kidneys failed. I know she tried with the renal diet for a time but after she went on dialysis, her life was so difficult.
I know I was angry with Jill especially about her finances and her smoking. But over the last couple of years my heart softened toward her. How could it not? I think she has taught me a lot, to be more compassionate.
My family is gone now. I am glad that I have the website. At least my memories are there. If I lose my memories as I grow older, maybe someone will read the stories to me so I can remember.
The questions still remains – why am I the last? There are no answers.
Jill has had another episode where she began to hold water, lost oxygen and ended up in the hospital. Again I rushed to the hospital, visited her every day and then today was told by the nurse that Jill didn’t want dialysis even though it was her regular day. The first day Jill was hospitalized the dialysis took 6.5 pounds of water off of her. Jill had dialysis today even though she balked at it. I know it is difficult. I wouldn’t want it either.
But I started wondering about whether Jill is refusing to go when she is at the nursing home. I notified the doctor that Jill isn’t eating a renal diet at the home. Is it because she refuses the renal diet or is the nursing home not making it for her? I called Darla to find out. I hope that information is available.
After talking with John who has said that he won’t force Jill to eat what she should, because Jill is an adult who can make her own choices, I started thinking about all of this. If I find out that Jill is refusing to go to dialysis or refusing a renal diet, I will have to give her an ultimatum. I am not doing this anymore – worrying, visiting, trying to be a good sister. This is wearing me out, and it isn’t fair to me.
Jill is now in a nursing/rehab in Cedar Park. She was not answering her phone or room phone, so I went there. Her bed was too small – I had that changed. I questioned her pain meds and got two different answers. The PA should be there today. I will call later this evening and see if anything has changed. She is in a lot of pain. Jill has a blister on the bottom of her right foot which has broken open. The PA is supposed to look at it. The doctor only comes on Friday. I asked for her to receive Communion. I will call St. Margaret Mary later today.
Thinking on the way home how difficult it was for Mary to watch her Son suffer. Please, Mary, help me. I am so tired of doing this.
December 16, 2018
Jill is still in the nursing/rehab in Cedar Park although a few days ago she fell from bed in the middle of the night. Jill was taken to Cedar Park Regional Hospital. Once there it was discovered that Jill had pneumonia. I visited with her yesterday. I was going to visit again today, but I am tired. I didn’t sleep well and have been busy, and Erin and Shamma are coming over in a few moments. Jill still does not answer her phone when I call when she was still in the nursing home. Part of that might be because of the pneumonia – perhaps she has been sleeping too much.
Jill is back in the hospital. She refused to go to dialysis while at the nursing facility in Bertram. According to the nurse, Jill has pneumonia again. Her liver enzymes indicated a problem. The nurse was doing an ultrasound of her liver when I was visiting. She was sleeping when I was present. The dialysis nurse arrived while I was there to take Jill to dialysis. Things do not look good. John has said that once she recovers, she will be placed in a nursing facility in Cedar Park.
May God bless her, surround her with angels and protect her from fear. I am convinced that it will not be long before He takes her home. I have resigned myself to her leaving.
I received a call from John this afternoon. He said that he needs to buy a van to transport Jill, but doesn’t have the money. I said I would help if I were satisfied with the vehicle. We talked for some time. I have called Keith for his assistance. Maybe he or Dave can find one that is better than the one John is looking at.
“He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them”.
When I read this this morning, it gave me such a longing. I could see the sky, feel the breeze off the sea, hear the murmuring of the crowd and there in front of us was the Lord. Though He spoke softly, everyone could hear Him. His words were comforting; they were so soft and loving. I wanted to stay there and listen, but life goes on in this place and time.
I just called Jill, and she was moaning; she was hurting and had not had a pain pill. She had been sitting in a wheelchair most of the day. Is there anything I can do to help? I lifted her up in prayer and asked the Lord to care for her, because I am powerless. Please, God, don’t make her suffer!
Early March 2017 On Friday John called me to tell me that he had been given the results of the latest CT scan. The scan revealed that Jill has slow growing, progressive uterine cancer. She doesn’t know yet. I am devastated. I had hoped that she would continue to progress, that her knee would be taken care of, that she would be relatively pain free. Such is not to be the case.
I am overwhelmed by it all. I don’t know what to think or feel except this overwhelming sense of grief and sadness. I am trying to go on with life, to do what I can do here. But what about Jill? What do I do for her? How do I comfort her when she finds out the diagnosis? How do I companion her on her journey? How do I live through it all, finding a sense of peace for myself?
I have asked the Lord for help. I am not strong enough or smart enough to figure all of this out. My relationship with Jill has had its ups and downs, but I have come to a more compassionate heart. I have known for some time that she is so ill. I have been surprised when she recovered from recent hospitalizations. I have tried to be cheerful and helpful. I have come to understand that the money I lent to her will never come back to me. I have quit caring about that. I just want some peace for her and for me. I want some healing for her. But it is not for me to give. So where do I go?
March 28, 2017 Jill returned home to Marble Falls in the morning but by the evening was headed back to the hospital. I won’t know until I speak with her what is going on.
John called me yesterday, as I was preparing for luncheon guests. He said Jill had fallen and was being taken to Seton Williamson. I visited with her last evening. Jill broke her leg just about the knee cap and need surgery, which will be today. The doctors will put a steel rod in her leg with some screws. Sounds just awful.
The surgery was today. She is now in ICU. I hope she has a good night. Thank you God.
After more than a week, Jill is now in the Bertram Nursing/rehab facility. She told me that she will be taken to Marble Falls three times a week for her dialysis. When I visited the nursing assistant told Jill that since it takes several people to get her up, as Jill seems unable to help, they will be using a Hoyer lift with a sling to get her out of bed. I predict this will create problems. I told Jill that I will visit on Thursdays and Sundays and asked that she keep her phone on so that I may get in touch with her.
After a terrible phone call from Jill yesterday telling me how lonely she is, I visited with her today. Perhaps she listened to my advice, as she was sitting outdoors with a group of smokers – smoking herself. I had told her to wheel her chair down the hall and strike up a conversation with people until she finds one who will talk to her. Perhaps she did that.
Jill has been in a nursing rehab in Bertram. I have been visiting her twice a week. Then on Sunday she complained that her knee was swollen. After having the day nurse examine it, the head nurse later had an ultrasound done and a clot was found. Blood thinners were prescribed, but Jill was later taken to Seton Williamson. They will monitor her blood there and also do dialysis. I think she will be more comfortable. And I trust the hospital to be more aware of the clot situation. She may have more than one, though I hope not.
After a week of having a regular dialysis appointment, I felt confident that this stage of Jill’s life was going okay. Then today, while I was outdoors, Jill called from Scott and White Hospital to tell me that she had been admitted. Apparently, while she was asleep, the night before, the tube for dialysis had been pulled out causing major bleeding. Jill was taken to the hospital where a new temporary port was inserted and Jill was given a pint of blood.
Hearing her voice over the phone, sounding so weak and tired, really threw me. I was devastated by the news. I called John and was told the story and that Jill was on her way home.
I called Jill after Mass this evening, and she sounded okay. My prayers during Mass were for her, of course. I am tired. I can’t imagine how devastating this was for Jill. I don’t understand how so many bad things can happen to her.
I thank God that Jill is okay for now. In my heart I don’t have a happy feeling though. I am just waiting for the next disaster to happen. I shouldn’t be this way, but I am.