A week ago Monday my sister underwent surgery to clear up a brain aneurysm. The surgery went fine, but afterward she suffered a massive stroke. She has been left with her right side completely paralyzed, her speech lost, unable to swallow, and her vision severely impaired to an unknown degree.
The surgery has an excellent safety record, so we were certainly not expecting this. She is a brilliant, contentious and vital person. What has happened to her seems utterly fantastic, like a nightmare that has broken through into reality and won’t go away.
Last Wednesday night, it seemed as if she would pass away. Late that night, however, she appeared stable, so we went to bed.
I spent what was perhaps the worst night of my life that night, knowing that she was across the street in that hospital possibly dying, waiting moment-to-moment for a dreaded call that her vital signs were declining.
The next morning, I went into the Intensive Care Unit and there she was with her eyes open. I scanned her monitor and saw that her vital signs were much better. When I came into her field of vision, a smile crossed her face. The emotion of joy that exploded in me was the greatest I have ever known, except for the moment I first laid eyes on my son.
Now she is struggling with all her might and main against the effects of the stroke, trying to speak, trying to make her right side move, trying for life.
If she lives, then she is facing permanent disabilities, including the inability even to manage food. She is now on a feeding tube and electrolyte support.
I am writing this unusually personal journal entry because more and more people are facing situations like this every day. Any one of us may experience such a stroke or other incapacitation, and remain alive. She has legal directives that govern what type of medical care she is to receive, so she will not be put on automatic respirators or a heart-lung machine. Should she reach that point, she will be able to go peacefully.
An adult has a right to decide on their medical care, and if it is done legally and in advance, the law is that their directive must be followed. This does not solve the problem for the survivors, though. It does not change the love, which cries out, keep her with us. It does not change the love, which also cries out, fulfill her wishes that were so important to her that she put them in a legal document. So, if we get to that place, it is going to be very hard.
We have found stroke support groups on the internet which have been a godsend, and her doctors have been very compassionate and caring, too.
I also have a word of advice: this happened to my sister because she was a smoker. So, if you smoke, get it out of your life. Tobacco is an insidious poison. Even after her first small stroke and the giant warning sign of an aneurysm, she kept trying to dream up other reasons why it all happened. She kept smoking, because quitting is so hard. Learn from our tragedy and make the tough choice.
My next journal will be on what presently appears to be an extraordinary UFO event in Chile. 24 people apparently moved into another dimension by disappearing before a large crowd of witnesses. I am presently getting in touch with people who were there. Before I discuss the event and its implications, I want to talk to direct witnesses, and also to some of the people who went through the experience. However, there are various reasons why it might have been real, and particularly why it would happen in the Spanish speaking world. To read our news story about it, click here.
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