Thursday, July 28, 2011

You Must Be With... the Fam

My sister M was involved in a very bad automobile crash on Tuesday afternoon, when some idiot didn't stop at a cross-street and t-boned her car as she was driving. Fortunately, she has a car with many airbags, all of which were deployed.

She was rushed by ambulance to the closest hospital, which is near where I live. The family "communications vine" lit up. That is, I received several email messages and two phone calls. All we knew was that she was involved in a very bad crash and that she was rushed to the hospital. One can't help but fear the worst.

I found out about it just about the time I was leaving work. I rode my Harley as fast (yet safely) as I could to the hospital. When I arrived, I had that anxious look on my face, that hospital staff know means, "where's my family in the emergency room?" Funny, though, the desk attendant said, "you must be with (my sister's name) ... lots of your family are here already" and she pointed to the waiting room. (LOL! yep, our family is known to show up in numbers when one of us is rushed to the hospital. They all know us.)

I saw my sister's husband, three of her children, five grandchildren, and two more of my siblings in the waiting room. Within the hour, 12 more of the family showed up. The hospital staff was getting a bit anxious because so many of us were there. I must admit, we were a bit noisy. A hospital staffer kept coming in about every five minutes to say, "now, only immediate family can be with her. You all can't go see her." I really think they were afraid that we were going to storm the room where my sister was being treated.

We know the rules... we waited. Her husband went to my sister's treatment room when they allowed the first visitor, and then reported to us about ten minutes later how she was: bruised and battered, but no life-threatening injuries. We were relieved. But to be sure, the docs had to take some more x-rays and tests to make sure there were no internal injuries or broken bones.

The hospital staff let us each have a short visit on a rotating basis (one out, one in). One of us at a time were allowed to go see her and spend five minutes, then come out and let the next person go see her. We kept this family visit rotation going on until she was released. (Actually, I left by 8:30pm, since I had to be in bed by 9pm, and I knew that my sister would be okay. I was informed via email that she was released about 11pm.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I knew that my partner would be worried if I did not arrive home when expected. It took me a while, but I finally reached him and told him that I wouldn't be home for dinner and did not know when I would get home, but I was okay. He was concerned about my sister, and relieved to know that my delay had nothing to do with a motorcycle crash in which I may have been involved (he always worries about me when he knows I'm riding my Harley.)

When it was my time to see my sister, I held her hand, told her that I loved her, then talked about what she has done that I appreciate so much. From the little things like making me food that I can eat (that is, is compatible with my chronic health condition) at the family dinners, to the big things like helping to educate my Mom that my being gay wasn't the end of the world. She helped my Mom learn about homosexuality and how to love a gay son. She is, and always has been, my "big sister." (Yes, I have six more sisters and I love each of them dearly; each one is special to me in her own way).

I am glad that my sister will be okay. I am also glad that -- each and every time I see my family -- I always make sure that when I am leaving that I stop and say to each one, "I love you." Honestly, you never know when something may happen that may take them away from you. These three powerful words mean so much.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, and for calling me from the hospital to give me an update about our sister. I'll make up the expense you had to absorb in making that very-long distance call on your cell phone to me in Paris. I would have been going crazy if you had not called.

I spoke with M a little while ago, and she sounds better than I expected. I am glad she will be okay. I look forward to seeing her when I arrive for my visit in a few days.

Ore e sempre,