This past weekend I celebrated my 23rd birthday, the first birthday in 2 years that I haven’t
spent in a hospital. I am officially older than Sherrin was when her accident happened. It’s funny because growing up I always thought Sherrin was so mature and older beyond her years. She was 22 when her life changed and became a new person. I still feel like I’m a child and am nowhere near hitting so many milestones in life even though I’m technically older than the sister that I used to know. She was 22 when the very idea of hitting those milestones were ripped away from her future and here I am surpassing her. I feel guilty. I know there’s nothing I can do to help it. I feel that the Sherrin I had known my whole life died when she was 22 and then I was given a new sister for ages 22 and beyond- a new sister that has to fight to move her right hand and is too fragile to be in the sun
light for more than a few minutes. It’s a very humbling thought.
Ever since I moved back in with my parents at the end of July, I have been able to spend much more time with Sherrin- which is always amazing! Commuting back to DC every day for my job is exhausting and definitely takes a toll on my sanity, but it is very well worth it to see Sherrin every day (and save money!). Sherrin and I are extremely close and seeing her face light up when I walk in after coming a long day makes all of my stress from commuting go away. She has the most gorgeous smile and her hair is growing back curlier and blonder than ever. Even though I can’t help out all day every day, my parents are definitely enjoying me being able to give Sherrin baths and feeding her when I can so they can rest.
Sherrin’s days normally revolve around therapy, stretching, and playing on her iPad. I have got to say, Sherrin is pretty damn good at solitaire now. She can win a game literally in 5 minutes. She used to play a new game every time she would be stumped, but I convinced her to keep trying. Now, she’s basically a champion. She also uses the iPad to type out her thoughts that she has trouble saying. Sometimes she’ll write paragraphs explaining things she wants or that she is thankful for my parents. Occasionally, she’ll even write, “I am so sorry to make you take care of me.” This kills me, but it also makes me happy. Sherrin is now able to recognize what has happened to her, something she couldn’t understand even a few months ago.
Physically, some bad news coupled with good. Sherrin has a dark abrasion on her left
ankle. It began as a small sore from one of her leg braces but the continued rubbing caused it to blister and infect the surrounding area. Sherrin’s ankle began to swell, from which had originally thought being from a sprain, but it ended up being caused from the sore. It has since gone down with icing and gauze bandages. Her styes in her eyes (yes, the same ones from earlier this year- it is a rare type of stye that tends to stay with a person for the rest of their lives) have gone to being unnoticeable and less irritating. Sherrin is also much physically stronger. My parents and I have stopped using a sling and Hoyer lift to move Sherrin from bed to chair, chair to couch/bed and have begun lifting her ourselves. We can do this by moving Sherrin to the edge of her bed so her feet are dangling and asking her to put her arms around our backs (only the left arm moves). We then lift and move her to where she needs to go. Sherrin is actually able to push through her legs a bit so that she can support herself and not be complete dead weight. When I get ready to transfer her I ask her, “Okay,
Sherrin, stand up and get in your chair,” AND SHE TRIES. She pulls herself up as much as she can and tries with all of her might to move her legs. Not saying that she can do this because I’m around more often, but I am saying she couldn’t do this before I moved back home. I figure that if I continue this every time I transfer her she will eventually be able to do it herself one day.
Currently, Sherrin is doing inpatient at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia for 1-2 weeks, which began yesterday. Don’t worry, it’s for all things good. She is getting a new physiatrist (a doctor that studies the way different parts of your work together and not necessarily one particular area like a neurologist or cardiologist) who wants to evaluate her fully before she begins creating orders. My mom is staying at the hospital with
Sherrin while my dad is working in Dubai. I plan on visiting several times and staying overnight so my mom can go home and rest for a bit, just a very difficult drive since the hospital is about an hour away (more commuting –yay).