Sunday, July 20, 2008

Subdural Hematoma

My eldest sister will be 70 in August. She's always been a creative inspiration to me. She did a little modeling when she was younger - then worked for many years as a hostess in a bar in Minneapolis. She moved to Phoenix and worked in a factory. She is always cheerful. She is a wonderful artist - at one point we bought a small windbell company together and painted windbells for the Cowboy Hall of Fame and for Lawrence Welk Village. She's been taking care of her grandchildren since then. She is active in her church and works part time running the thrift store for the American Legion.
Her husband passed away in February 2007.
For as far back as I can remember - she always drank. I wouldn't call her a drunk, but I would say that she is probably an alcoholic, as was her husband.
Right now she is in ICU in a hospital in Phoenix, AZ
She had been complaining that something wasn't right - she had headaches, had trouble forming sentences, was not steady on her feet. She had an MRI 3 weeks ago, but nothing unusual showed up on it. Yesterday morning her son, who lives with her, was making coffee when she got up - she was all bent over and her right hand was curled. She had trouble talking - He wanted to take her to ER, but she wanted a shower first - but needed help - she couldn't even get herself dressed.
She has subdural hematomas on both sides of her brain - they airlifted her from Payson to Phoenix yesterday. They have been monitoring her and she is getting worse - they were hoping that the body would absorb the excess blood, but it isn't. She will be having surgery tomorrow or Tuesday.
There are a lot of things that can cause bleeding on the brain - usually from a head injury - but in older people, it is usually caused from brain atrophy. The blood vessels stretch and start to ooze. The brain shrinks, but the rest of the skull doesn't. Heredity could be a factor, excessive drinking could be a factor, just getting older could be a factor. But, whatever the cause - in her case there is a probability that it will happen again.
Her right side is affected and her speech is affected. She is right handed - so now, she can't sign her name, do crossword puzzles, carry on a normal conversation. She is coherent, she knows what is going on and what she wants to say -but can't form a sentence. She is literally trapped in her dysfunctional body and my heart goes out to her.
My other sister, who is not the healthiest - nor is her husband, and I live in Minnesota. It seems light years away. We both wish we could be there - and will find a way if necessary - but what can we do for her but pray? Thankfully all of her children are with her to give her support and love.
I just needed to ramble, and cry, now I need to go pray some more.

3 comments:

Qtpies7 said...

We can't worry about the what if's, there may not be any, she may not get them again. We just need to focus on right now.
She'll be better after the surgery.

I'm Losing It! said...

Pauline,
Just know that you have many friends and church family praying for your sister and for your family. I pretty much know exactly what you are feeling right now, because exactly 5 years ago, my own sister was in a hospital... in Phoenix...and about to undergo brain surgery. Hers was for a tumor that had metastisized to her brain from her breast cancer. Hang in there and give me a call if you need to talk.

Jody J said...

I am so sorry to hear that...it is hard enough when you are able to be there with them but when they are so far away you feel even more helpless. About 5 years ago my dad had an anurysm...it was scary but he made it through. Let me know if you need anything! My prayers are with her, you and all of your family.