Styes and Sister Dynamics

I apologize immensely for the long delay!

As for a follow up to the Kelly and Mike Show contest, “Unstoppable Moms,” we never heard anything back from the show officials, so I am presuming that my mom wasn’t selected. It’s a bummer, but I’m sure whoever was selected is an amazing mom in her own entity. Thank you all for all of the support!

Let’s see… I few things have happened with Sherrin this past month.

The most concerning issue has been Sherrin’s eye. In about the big beginning of February, Sherrin had a very large stye on her left upper eyelid. I had never seen such a swollen eyelid before. It was probably about a centimeter swollen (and if you think of that on your eyelid, I’m sure it is extremely uncomfortable), but it didn’t seem to bother Sherrin that much. She got it originally when she went to a doctor’s visit. Sherrin’s immune system is so weak and fragile that almost every time she leaves the house, she catches something, like bug bites, styes, and small rashes. It isn’t really something we can avoid though, so my

Profile view of styes on left eye.

Profile view of styes on left eye.

parents just try to deal with the repercussions when they come along.

After a few days with the stye, it popped, but then began to form on the lower eyelid. The second stye grew even bigger than the first, and then that one popped. Just when it started getting better, a third one on her right eye began to form. We think that this is caused from washing Sherrin’s face with a washcloth and the bacteria spreading to the next eye. As of right now, none of the styes have fully healed, resulting in 4 styes (2 in each eye). I’m sure its crazy uncomfortable for Sherrin, but she never really seems to complain about it, which makes it not a dire issue. My parents have been taking Sherrin to the doctor to examine it recently, but every health professional just keeps saying it looks like its clearing up.

Styes in both eyes

Styes in both eyes

My parents finally set up Sherrin’s outpatient therapy!! For the past two months since Sherrin’s been home, Sherrin has been getting her therapy sessions done inside the house. After numerous battles with the insurance company and finding adequate care that would admit Sherrin, she is finally starting sessions at the Loudoun Hospital. She goes about 4 times a week and seems to be enjoying getting outside the house a bit more. She doesn’t really complain about being cooped up inside the house, but when we take her out and she gets to see out the car window you can totally tell that she’s much happier. She stares out the window and looks like she’s completely in awe of everything around her and is more alert and aware of things when she gets back home. I wish we could take her out for longer periods of time every day but she really isn’t strong enough to sustain more than a few hours. She’s working on it.

While she isn’t in therapy, my parents constantly work with her. They’ve been strapping 5-8 lb weights on her arms and coach her to raise them repeatedly. This is hard even for me! I can’t imagine how hard it is for her but she is doing a great job. She can raise her

Hair is long enough to be in a pony tail again!

Hair is long enough to be in a pony tail again!

arms above her head very slowly and can touch her nose for a second. Due to the muscle relaxers being released with the Baclofen pump, her flexibility is coming back. We stretch her out in the mornings and when I’m there I try to stretch her arms up to her face. She seems to like that a lot probably because it’s been over a year and a half since she has been able to touch her own face. Imagine how hard it is for her to not even scratch an itch on her face or move a hair from her forehead? It’s so heartbreaking.

I try to get to Ashburn to see Sherrin about once or twice a week (depending on my school and work schedule) but when I’m not there I try to Skype with her every few days. I’m not going to lie, I slack off a lot when it comes to this. My participation in Sherrin’s progress is crucial because she tends to listen to me more when it comes to certain exercises and I give her a little bit more motivation to try harder, but some days I can’t be as present as I want to be. Sherrin goes to bed around 9 PM, which is normally about the time I’m done for the day and can relax, so our conflicting schedules make it hard to talk all of the time. It’s hard to find time, but I know that this is serious, so I try my best to make time for Sherrin. She deserves at least that.

I try to remind Sherrin that she’s my big sister, not my younger one, and that I look up to her for everything. It’s all extremely true, but she forgets that a lot since I’m the one taking care of her and not the other way around her. It makes Sherrin feel like nothing has changed and that she still has some authority over me. I remind her of all the times she’s screamed at me for stealing her clothes or how she’s smacked me in the head for saying something dumb so that it still feels like we are sisters and not just caregiver and patient. I still go to her for advice. Though she can’t fully communicate back to me since she can only say a few, quiet words at a time, I don’t trust anyone else more than my sister.  I ask her what topic I should write a research paper on or what I should get my boyfriend for his birthday, and she normally has great ideas! I’ll mention a list of things that I’m considering and she’ll tell me which ideas she likes the best. I cherish this advice so much because I know that I could very well not have had it anymore very easily. I’ve always admired her, even though we used to fight 24/7 when we were younger. I was the definition of the younger sister; I copied her style and would try to repeat the same sayings that she would come up with. Isn’t imitating the most sincere form of flattery? So when Sherrin and I talk, I let her know that she is still the person I’ve always looked up to, and yes, dynamics have changed and conversations aren’t entirely the same anymore, but I am still her baby sister and won’t do anything without her approval.

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3 Responses to Styes and Sister Dynamics

  1. curtis palmer says:

    Kaci,

    For whatever its worth… I have read today your work here on behalf of your sister and your family. I met your father back in the fall, we work for the same company, and we talked for the better part of the morning on day, a little work related, a little war stories from our days in the Army and a great deal about our trials due to the suffering of children that we loved. He spoke of your sister and her accident and jotted down the link in a notebook that I misplaced until today. I liked him at the first, and it was clear that he loved his family beyond any other ambition.

    I have a little girl, who will be 6 at the end of the week. After an uneventful pregnancy she was delivered during emergency c-section and could not breathe at all . She was intubated in the delivery room and placed on a respirator in the neonatal ICU. She remained there six weeks and for a while it did not look as if she was going to stay with us. I am not sure that her mother and I would have survived losing her. I would like to think so but I am not sure. The helplessness, doubt, uncertainty and fear make for a long night in the garden and bring forward all the questions that you have asked. I do not have answers to some of those questions still. But there are some things that I do understand that I didn’t before. I am different; gentler now, more patient. For instance, I can feel the agony you felt after your sister’s accident and through her recovery. I have been in a ball on the floor of a hospital room, inconsolable. Not even knowing you, having experienced those things myself, I suffer a little bit with you just reading your story. My daughter Saoirse who is playing in the snow right now is also different even though she was only an infant for the worst part. People can sense it in her, some sweetness and understanding that certainly came from her days in the valley of the shadow.

    I only know you or Sherrin or the rest of your family a little bit but will be mindful of you from now on. In the quiet that I try to find every day you come to mind. I see here patience, courage long suffering, hope and love. Your experience shared as you have here will give hope to folks who are having to walk the same road, knowing that someone else like them has traveled it and all was not lost. A little light in the dark, until the morning comes when there is no more sorrow.

    your friend, -curtis

  2. Mark Villarreal says:

    We just want the Baggott family to know that the entire Villarreal family and all your “Hattiesburg,Ms Family” has Sherrin and all of you in our prayers. God is a miracle worker even today. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We miss y’all and love y’all and will continue to pray for y’all. God bless.

  3. kate says:

    I think about your family a lot. I’m so glass to hear that Sherrin is doing well! Bless you all 🙂

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