My Baby Sister

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Jolene Fox, California

In May 2017 my youngest sister Jamie, who was at the time 26, had a severe asthma attack in the middle of the night and quit breathing. One of my other sisters woke my father up and they realized she was turning blue, so he started CPR and they called 911.

So now we are all in the waiting room at a hospital crying, praying, and hoping she makes it. Different doctors and nurses came in the waiting room and asked us so many questions about my sister, but couldn’t tell us if she was going to be okay. We answered the questions to the best of our ability and later we were told they were trying to get a timeline to determine how long she went without oxygen. They figured she went anywhere from 7–15 minutes without oxygen.

She was in ICU for about two months in a medically induced coma. I remember the day that we were going to take her off the medicine that was keeping her in the coma to see how bad the brain injury was. I remember walking in her room and seeing someone that wasn’t my sister, her arms were all the way stretched out and so were her legs, her toes were pointed and her feet were elevated off the bed, her eyes were open but I could only see half of her pupil and she was moving in some type of rhythm.

I kept asking the nurse, “Is that normal for her eyes to look like that?” And, “Is it normal for her legs and arms to be stretched out like that?” The nurse just kept saying, “It could be.” I just felt myself get so week and I thought to myself, “I have got to get out of here.” So I left the ICU unit and went into the waiting room and I just lost it. It was the worse time in my life and I couldn’t believe what was happening.

I still can hardly believe it today, it changed my life forever. My sister Jamie, who is now 27, lives with my parents and every day I go over there to help take care of her. We have come a long way, she had a trach, but after six months, and my mother staying on top of the doctors that she didn’t need it, they removed it with no problem. She used to have a catheter for urine. The only thing she still has is a feeding tube, and everyday my dad, my mom, and me work with Jamie on her swallowing so one day we can get rid of that.

This has been so hard for me and my family and if we weren’t so strong and didn’t have such a tight family bond I don’t think my sister would be alive. Everyday has been a challenge for us because we’ve never been through something like this. I’m grateful for the internet because we use it everyday for information.

I wish there were more resources for us, a challenge we face is bringing her to her doctors’ appointments. My father is on disability and my mother helps me take care of Jamie so we are financially strapped. We can’t afford any more medical transports. It seems like if we make it through one obstacle there’s another one not far behind. We keep our faith in God and we have each other, but that doesn’t get us to a doctor’s appointment. The photo is of Jamie and me on our way to a doctor appointment in my dad’s truck.

 

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