Part I - My Sister is Velma dinkley
Part II - Velma Dinkley Makes a Miraculous Recovery
Part III - Down the Rabbit Hole
I have been down the rabbit hole and I can tell you - Wonderland is no tea party!
Much like Alice, who grew very tired of sitting by her sister on the river bank and so decided to follow a white rabbit down its hole, my own sister left my side to jump head-first down a rabbit hole. But unlike Alice's sister, who was absorbed in her book and failed to noticed her sister's absence, I chased after mine.
A white-coated doctor led the way with cries of "Hurry! Hurry! We must not be tardy!" Believing he had the cure for her brain tumour, my sister eagerly followed him into Wonderland - and I followed close behind.
Trust me when I tell you - Wonderland is NOTHING like the Disney version. I encountered many forms of madness and mayhem yet none of it was fun or amusing. I feared I would drown in the Pool of Tears, learned you can't reason with the Queen of Hearts, and was asked to solve riddles for which there are no answers.
You see, the surgery was a success - the recovery was not. After contracting bacterial meningitis, my sister went into septic shock and slipped into a coma. Her life became as tenuous as the Cheshire Cat, threatening to fade out of existence.
For eleven long days, I sat by her bedside, praying for her recovery. Then one sunny spring day, with no warning or reason, she awoke from her coma. Filled with joie de vivre, we hugged and kissed and laughed with delight at her recovery.
But my sister couldn't keep her head out of the rabbit hole. After decades of successfully managing her mental illness, she was unable to maintain her sanity without the anti-psychotic medication which had been withheld during her coma. As the doctors began to very slowly and carefully reintroduce her medication, she very rapidly descended into madness. Insisting upon being released from the hospital, (only two days after awaking from her coma) I was summoned to bring her home.
Upon entering her hospital room, I was greeted by a sister filled with irrational thoughts and over-blown rage. "Off with their heads!" she shouted to the nurses over her intercom. On the hour-long car ride home, she continued to rage. All that long day, and the one that followed, she raged. For days upon days, which grew into weeks, she raged.
Have you ever attempted to get psychiatric help for a person who doesn't believe they need it? It's akin to trying to play croquet with a flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as a ball - when you finally manage to get the flamingo into position, you discover the hedgehog has crawled away! Psychiatrist appointments were being booked at least two months in advance, Family Practitioners claimed a lack-of-expertise and refused to take on her case, and hours spent waiting in a hospital emergency room came to naught when my sister insisted on leaving before seeing a Specialist. Finally, after pleading that she was at risk of harming herself (a slight exaggeration) a doctor agreed to sign a Form 1 which required her to remain in the hospital for 72 hours for a psychiatric assessment. This fast-tracked her into a Psychiatrist's care and a prescription for the much needed anti-psychotic medications.
You might believe that this is the "happily ever after" part of my story (I certainly hoped it was) but you would be mistaken. It seems that while in Wonderland, my sister drank too much from the vial marked, "Drink me" and has been shrinking ever since. Refusing to eat, forgetting to eat, and sleeping through meals has caused her to once again impersonate the Cheshire Cat - she is fading away to nothing. On good days, my sister is once again by my side, talking and laughing and coping and recovering. But on other days, she disappears back into that rabbit hole. She becomes weak, and confused, and uncoordinated to the point of loosing her mobility. It is "curiouser and curiouser" and no doctor can give us an adequate explanation. After multiple trips to the hospital seeking help and understanding for these episodes, a doctor finally made the pronouncement that perhaps this is something they can't fix. Perhaps, this is the result of the brain surgery. Perhaps, we need to accept this as my sister's new "normal" - half in and half out of that damned rabbit hole.
I am terribly afraid that the hope and expectations I have for my sister's recovery are built of nothing more concrete than a house of cards, ready for the slightest breeze to rise them up and scatter them down upon me as I sit alone on that river bank, missing my sister.
I love to read your comments, but don't forget to link them back to your webpage