Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interesting times

Last we met, it was just after the fourth of July. Since then, I've reclaimed the disc of my wedding photos. We took a lovely little weekend trip to Prescott. Adam had a heart ablation, which ended up being a little more involved than we thought. When scheduling it, they said it would take a couple hours and he'd probably get out that evening. It took more like four and a half hours. He was obliged to lay flat for ten hours or so. When they finally let him up, he ended up bleeding like crazy. I was going to go home to sleep, but after that, we decided I'd stay. Of course, the hospital we were at only had recliners in the room, unlike the newer hospitals with the couch beds. They said they'd look for a cot, but if they did, they didn't find one. So I ended up using my floating holiday and an unpaid holiday, since I only have a few hours of sick leave accumulated. Bah.

On the upside, Adam is doing a lot better! The atrial fibrillation seems to have been eliminated. He's had some other side effects (prodigious bruising and some PVCs, although I think those are getting better) and it's not been quite as quick to get back on his feet as they implied, but if it fixes his arrhythmia, I don't mind. He's liking his new job, too, so things aren't too bad in our house.

But the real drama started last Monday. My older sister and her two daughters were in a severe car accident. We aren't entirely sure what happened, but based on the evidence, we all agree that she must have had a seizure. She hit the curb and rolled. The pictures of the scene were terrible. The front axle and engine were ripped out and burned, and the car was utterly destroyed.

She and the girls were taken by helicopter to the county hospital. It's a level one trauma center and has a pediatric ER, so they were able to keep them together. By the time I found out about it (granted, it was a stressful day, but no one thinks to tell me?!) and got there, the four-month-old had already been discharged. She was entirely unharmed--not a scratch on her. She was laughing and smiling at the doctors.

The almost-two year old was not quite so lucky. She had quite a few burns from the carseat restraints, and some scratches and bruises. She was very shaken up. We noticed that her foot was pretty swollen, and she didn't like it to be touched. Although swelling is common from the trauma, it turned out she had a buckle fracture. Pretty easy, as far as breaks go. She's got an over-the-knee cast, but it doesn't phase her at all. She's scooting around and has even walked on it a little. They got her a wagon to pull her around, and she's pretty spoiled, getting even more attention than usual.

My sister, unfortunately, was severely injured. Compound ankle fractures; broken vertebra, shoulder, rib(s?), nose; plenty of bruises, including an upside-down 7 from the seatbelt and a pitch black black eye; what we can only assume is a bruised sternum, because no one seems too concerned about it, even though it's really bothering her; and, most troubling to me, intracranial bleeding. They spent much of the day dealing with the built up pressure before they could even worry about her ankles. She was supposed to get another CT scan on Friday, although I haven't heard what it showed.

My mom said that the paramedics originally thought it was going to be a DOA. They had sent photos to the ER to prepare them for what was coming in, and apparently they were shocked that the girls were so unharmed. They wouldn't even show those photos to my sister or her husband, although they showed my dad. It was that bad. It is literally a miracle that everyone is alive, and in the conditions they are. As crappy as things are and will be, no one is denying that Monday was a miracle.

My sister has halos in her ankles while they wait for the swelling to go down enough to put plates in. She spent several days in the surgical ICU, several days in a normal room, and will soon be discharged to a rehab facility. She's not such that she needs to be in hospital, but not well enough that we could care for her. So she'll get to kick it in rehab until she's ready for surgery.

Saturday we spent moving her family's belongings into my parents' house. Her house has stairs, and it will be next year before she's able to go up and down them. And with two kids under two, my brother-in-law will need a lot of help. So my brothers went to live with my younger sister and my older sister and her family took over that side of the house. We had a great turnout of people who came to help move and get the girls' rooms set up. I cleaned out my mom's pantry to make room for my sister's food. It took three hours, but the pantry looks amazing. Honestly, if there were money in it, I'd become a professional pantry organizer.

We don't know what they'll do with my sister's house yet, made even more complicated by the fact that my parents helped her buy it, so any decision to sell, short sell, etc. affects them too. My sister worries about the medical bills (I don't know how much an emergency helicopter ride costs, but I know it isn't cheap) although I'm pretty sure most of it should be covered. Of course, she can't really go back to teaching third grade for a few months, so there's the lost income. We tell her not to worry about it and to focus on healing, but it's not always easy to turn your brain off, especially when there's nothing else to do but sleep, lay there and worry, or watch daytime courtroom shows.

So that's been some pretty high drama. What's funny is that I was antsy for July to be over, and now August is like, 80 bajillion times worse. So now I'm thinking I'll just look forward to the year being over, and we can just put 2011 down to being really sucky and never talk about it again. Deal?