I debated a lot about whether or not I wanted to write about this. I haven't been able to take any phone calls from my friends checking up on my family because honestly, I am not ready to talk about it. I think that maybe writing the words will be a good middle ground. I can release some feeling, but at my own pace.
Without going into too much detail my I got a call from my brother early Sunday morning telling me that my little sister (23 and healthy) was in the hospital, the icu to be exact, because she had bleeding in her brain. What the hell? My world stopped. 10 years earlier my mom had brain surgery for avm (arteriovenous malformation which is basically a malformation between the veins and arteries in the brain) and is NOT genetic and only occurs in something like 1 in 100,000 people. Apparently, the doctors weren't sure what the cause of my sister's bleed was so they weren't ruling out avm. Although I was a kid I remember how long and hard my mom's recovery was and I did not want my sister to go through that.
I rushed to the MICU completely in shock at what was happening. I ran through the confusing corridors of the hospital in desperate search to find my baby sister. I can't remeber much of what that first day was like as it all seems to blur in my memory now. I do know that I was told they found she did NOT have AVM (thank goodness), but she had an aneurysm (oh shit!). How did this happen? She is young, very young and healthy.What the heck does this mean? Is she going to be okay?
Soon after I arrived they whisked her off to do some procedure to look at her brain and assess the next step. Those were the longest hours of my life. Little did I know that it was nothing compared to the following day. She came back from the procedure and they found the aneurysm had stopped bleeding which was good, but they weren't sure what to do. They could coil it, which would be less invasive as they would bring the coil through the artery in her leg up to her brain and coil the aneurysm, BUT it is a relatively new procedure and they have found that they sometimes need recoiling in 10 years. With her being so young it seemed like a less than ideal option. The other option sounded much less ideal to me- brain surgery. As in cut through her scull and mess with her brain- surgery.
That night was awful for all of us. I am sure worst of all for my sister and her new husband of 10 months. I know for me that night was rough. My husband kept telling me to be optimistic, but I was terrified of losing my sister and couldn't seem to get in a mind frame that everything would be okay.
The next day she was transferred to NSICU (I never knew they had so many ICUs) where she waited for a decision to be made. I got to the hospital around 6:30 as we were told they wanted to take action (even though we didn't know what kind) by 8 am. After waiting for what seemed like days we were told that coiling had been the final decision and we all felt relief knowing she would not have to go through brain surgery. Then we waited for the radiologist to come and explain the procedure. Hours went by and nobody came to see us...we tried to be patient, but man that day was long. Suddenly, to all our relief in comes the radiologist. He simply said they decided not to coil and they would be performing brain surgery instead. He couldn't discuss the details and the surgeon would be by to discuss them. With broken hearts and weary spirits we waited yet again. And waited....
At this point I had done NO treatments for the day and hadn't eaten and it was approaching noon. I had planned on going to the hospital until she was brought back for surgery and then returning home to do treatments and eat and still be back in plenty of time for her to come out of surgery. I knew I needed to take care of myself for baby and so I wouldn't end up in the hospital myself so I went home (I live about 15 minutes form the hospital- huge perk of living in a city) to do treatments and was going to come right back. About 15 minutes after I got home, toward the end of my Albuterol treatments, I got a text from my mom saying they were taking her right now!
I rushed to the hospital in a panic and ran all the way (big belly and all) to the NSICU only to find they had already taken her. This was to date the lowest point in my life. I cannot describe the emotions that rushed through me at that point. I had left my sister before brain surgery. I had made the decision to leave her to take care of myself only to find that I may never have a chance to say goodbye. I chose not to be there as they wheeled her off. I felt that I may never forgive myself. The pain and guilt of not being able to say goodbye to my baby sister was almost too much to handle. The next four hours were the longest moments of my entire life.
This is getting so long and I am feeling I need to take a break from re-living the experience. I will give the rest of the details later, but because I can't end like this I will let you know that she made it through the surgery. I will update the rest tomorrow or the next day.