Monday, March 8, 2010

My Beautiful Sister Mary

Mom’s surgery goes well. We sit in her room laughing and teasing each other. We’re quiet when she’s napping; saying things to make her smile when she’s awake.

She has a rough night. She wakes up at 11p.m., anxious and scared. Mary sits on the floor beside her bed, holding her hand, reassuring her that she’s not alone. Saying the words we say to comfort a child awake with nightmares. At one point Mom tells Mary she just needs to be held. Mary carefully climbs on the bed and holds her in her arms until she feels better. Sometime around 2a.m. they sleep.

Mom’s awake at 4:30a.m., frightened. She’s reacting to the medicine they gave her to sleep. She tries to climb from the bed and Mary has to physically hold her down, reassure her that she’s okay. That nothing’s wrong. Mom struggles and says she feels like she might throw-up. Mary buzzes for the nurse. Someone comes in carrying a bucket. Mary sends him off to get some real help.

No one comes. So Mary, my hero, calls the Family Emergency Crisis number to be used only when a patient needs help NOW. Within minutes Mom’s room is full of doctors and nurses and everyone Mom could possibly need.

I can think of no words eloquent or grand enough to thank Mary for the gentleness, resolve and courage with which she is taking care of my Mom. She’s doing it out of love for Mom, but I feel I owe her a debt of gratitude that I will gladly hold the rest of my life.

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