Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's a miracle!

My sister, Missy, age 45, was admitted to hospital on the 28th December 2008, and wasn't expected to live beyond a few weeks. That's what the doctors told us, that's what the nurses told us, it's what common sense told us. She'd abused her liver to the point where it was "running on fumes", she had blood clots, internal blood leakages, her waste disposal system was all backed up and there was ammonia burning away at her brain cells. She was fucked.

Then she got better!

After more than 2 months in hospital, with lots of care and drugs and rest, she got to a stage where it was decided that she could leave and go home. Last time I visited her the nurse said, "Oh, you want to see the miracle woman!" Everyone was shocked that she had got better. Except Missy.

She never knew she was dying you see. Nobody told her. They all told us, the family, but on visiting her it was obvious that she was under the misapprehension that she was going to recover, so we went along with it and wondered about the ethics of her not having been informed, since it was such a certainty, apparently.

Then 2 weeks ago a nurse told me she might be getting out soon. I was stunned and demanded to talk to her doctor, who confirmed that things had indeed changed. A meeting was arranged to discuss Missy's progress and imminent release, which I attended. There were 2 doctors, the head nurse for the ward, a health & safety woman, a physiotherapist man, 2 social workers, my sister, her supposed boyfriend (I say supposed because I'd never seen or heard of him prior to this meeting) and me, in a boardroom around a big table that we all filled. A serious meeting. Everyone gave their reports on my sister's progress, I asked the odd question here and there, and then the lead social worker made the comment that Missy had been given a very big scare and was expected to be committed to remaining sober and not damaging her liver again. I didn't agree and proceeded to tell the lot of them off.

"How has she had a scare? As far as she is aware she came in here, woke up some time later and proceeded to steadily improve until this day where she is now almost ready to go home. At no time did any of you bother to inform her that she was 'absolutely, definitely' going to die!" I looked straight at her and said "You were 'absolutely, definitely' going to die, apparently, as far as we were told constantly right up until yesterday. I'd even arranged your funeral for Christ's sake. You were never going to get out of here alive and nobody ever told you".

That shocked her.

The doctors looked sheepish, the nurse and the rest of them took special note of whatever was written on their pads and books in front of them. I felt like a school teacher telling off a class of wayward children. It was weird and wrong but at least they did then confirm what I had said to Missy. Yes, it was nothing short of a miracle that her liver had responded so well and that she had come extremely close to not getting another chance.

Arrangements were made for Missy to be released, pending a successful procedure the next day for Gall Stones. She would be escorted home by the health & safety person and an assortment of social workers, her flat assessed and appropriate equipment to help her would be installed. A very nice plan, but it didn't work out that way.

There's a whole lot of back story to this tale that I can't be arsed going into detail about but the basic gist of it is that some old guy, Trevor, who is her drinking buddy (and claims to "own" her), had taken up residence in her flat while she was in hospital and I had no luck in getting him out and changing the locks. He had also announced that he was holding Missy's dog to ransom and that he would kill it if she didn't go back to him, and he had cleaned out her bank account to the tune of over $2000 as well, since she'd given him her ATM card and password to pay her utility bills. Nice guy.

So what happened yesterday is that Missy was discharged from hospital with Matt, the "boyfriend", and they were to meet the health & safety woman and her "Home Care" crew at her flat later in the day. But she didn't. Instead she vanished... Phone calls from Home Care people to Mum, Police alerted, calls from Mum to social worker lady. Panic. Blah blah blah, turns out she was just at this Matt person's flat around the corner. Tomorrow Housing Trust people arrive to kick out Trevor, they intend to have a "good talking to" Miss about who gets keys to her flat in future. Once Trev's out the equipment installers do their thing and my bloody sister ends up back in her old flat, in her old life surround by the same old people and she's expected to stay sober or die.

I give her a week.