Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sisters, Sisters

Sisters, Sisters;
There were never such devoted sisters...

Fans of the old Bing Crosby movie White Christmas will recognize those lyrics as coming from a duet/dance sequence by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Two of my granddaughters have entertained us with their own version at our family Christmas.

But they take on new meaning as I think about my recent hospital experience. They describe my own two sisters.

Jill, the baby, has a very tender heart and great compassion. Because of work and family commitments, she was not able to stay with me a great deal, but she offered a steady stream of support--books, magazines, cozy house shoes, a dress to wear after I went home, when I couldn't tolerate the pressure of trousers or jeans on my incisions; decorative book marks, phone calls, visits, anything she could think of to comfort me and occupy my thoughts.

Middle sister Judy is retired, and thus able to spend many days and nights in the hospital with me. She talked to nurses, questioned the reason for various procedures, made sure my allergies and diabetes were taken into consideration, and most of all she helped make sense of the flood of information and opinions; during my stay, I saw cardiologists, surgeons, nephrolgists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, residents, interns, an ever-shifting entourage of medical students who came to view a condition my surgeon said most of the doctors at the hospital had never seen.
Judy listened to everything, remembered it all, and was the liason among all the specialists, making sure that each knew what the others were doing, and that no conflicting medicines were administered. She even talked to the nutritionist about meals that were not appropriate for a diabetic.
When my husband arrived after work, or my parents for their morning visit, Judy was able, as I was not, to explain what was being done, and why, and what the doctors said as they made their rounds.
When I told her how little I remembered, because of all the drugs, she told me what was going on, and reassured my anxieties.

Daughter Jeana had French braided my hair in an effort to keep it tidy and contained, but after several weeks, my hair was a huge matted mess. My sisters, along with my mother, daughter, and husband, took turns for three days, trying to comb it out without pulling it out by the roots or cutting it short.

Such devoted sisters.