I don't know what to do - I need some advice please

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, May 24, 2012.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My loco sister is going in for surgery in two weeks. Without the surgery, she will likely end up paralyzed. With the surgery there is a 50/50 chance. It's surgery on her cervical spine. And then in another month or so, she has to have lumbar spinal surgery as well. Within the last couple of weeks, she has cut herself off from everyone in our family except my brother. I called her, reached out to her, offered my help, told her she's in my prayers, offered the handicap equipment and asked her to please call me back. What I received instead was a text that said, "Im all set". She's all set?? Wtf am I supposed to do with that??

    I get it's a very scary and overwhelming situation. She's traveling 3000 miles away for the surgery and my sisters and I are all kind of freaked out but she's not talking to us. What would you do?

    Thank you.

  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I would keep telling her you're thinking about her but not push it. She may be temporarily detaching until it's over. If it were me, I would vascillate between wanting people with me for support and not wanting anyone around because it would make me more nervous. I don't know your sister but could this be part of what's going on? Are you normally close?
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree, she's detaching until it's over. Or maybe forever.
    I would just send cards and flowers and not bug her.
    She is going through a lot but really, there isn't much you can do. She's loco, as you said, and this health issue doesn't really change that, no matter how much you want it to or how much it breaks your heart.
    How much communication did you have before?
    So sad. I feel for you. And for her.

    Out of curiosity, isn't cervical spinal surgery supposed to prevent paralysis? Why is she having it done?
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    We used to be VERY close, but over the course of the last 7/8 years she's become stranger and stranger, meaner, unpredictable. We are fairly certain she's got some type of personality disorder. When you call her, it's a toss up as to who will answer the phone - normal sister or whacko sister. She is very intelligent and has a vast vocabulary and loved to rip into you if she sees fit, and sees fit often. Being around her can be nerve wracking and is like walking on eggshells. And while she's the worst with me, she's like this with all of her siblings.

    However, that said, she's still my sister and if she called me at 2AM for something, I would be there for her. I like to think that that goes both ways, although of late I'm not so sure.

    I will lay low for now. I'm going to speak with my brother in law, her H and my boss, and just let him know that he can call me if he needs anything at all and leave it at that. Thanks,
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I'm a very private and independent person. When I am sick or down, I want my space. Feb. a year ago I underwent a similar surgery after a neck injury that almost left me paralyzed. Send flowers, make a meal, but if she's like me and you offer or ask what she needs, she will tell you no.
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Good luck. I hope it goes well. I would back off but just a bit. Say instead of sitting in the room with her sit outside the door. (If you're going.) Or instead of calling sending a note with flowers or an e-mail or text. Just enough to be there should she change her mind but not enough to be intrusive. Also because of her issues anything you do might not be welcome. Do what you think is best for her.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yes, Terry, she's having the surgery to prevent paralysis. Her spine is a mess, cervical and lumbar. She had two discs that completely blew out of her lumbar area and her then surgeon removed what he called 'crabmeat' as well as that portion of her spine. The cervical area needs to have some fusion type of stuff done and it's very risky. Her NEW Dr said if she didn't have this surgery she would most definitely become paralyzed so although there is still a high risk, it's better that she's having it done. She is flying out to a CA specialist for the surgery - we are in CT. I'm scared for her and wish I could be more of a comfort, but I guess that ship has sailed.
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think that is what's going on here. I'm not taking it personally, but I am worried.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is probably the best approach for multiple reasons... including the fact that HE may need support, no matter which way the outcome is, because this likely isn't a short recovery...
  10. jal

    jal Member


    Do you think the wackier behavior over the years is due to pain medications? It certainly seems like it could be and I imagine she's on some heavy duty stuff. If she's having this involved of a surgery and then another one then she has been going through this pain I imagine for a long time. (I am no stranger to back surgery, had my first one at 14 for a ruptured disc, and other disc herniations myself and my mother in law had a fusion 2 yrs ago) and those sugeries are not ones that are a first line of defense in treating those problems.

    Is it possible she is now putting up this wall because she is in great fear that it may not go the way she wants it to? That she still may be in debilitating pain or worse end up paralyzed and she doesn't want anyone to be too close until she knows the outcome?

    I agree with others, send a card or flowers. Let her know you care, but give her the space she seems to desire now.
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Jal, she is not on pain medications. The only pain medications she has taken recently was a couple of tramadol I gave her about a month ago when her low back went into spasm. She's refusing pain medications.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Which may explain some of the loco...
    Chronic pain, like chronic sleep loss, accumulates in impact. Pain not dealt with, affects the brain. It's one thing to not want to be "out of it" on pain medications, but there is a balance, because pain itself can put you "out of it" in ways you don't really see or understand (esp. in yourself... easier to see in someone else)
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I would agree IC, except she's been loco for years...extreme paranoia, narcissistic personality, impulsivity, selfishness; this is not new behavior but the back issue is relatively new. When her back was at it's worst, just before the discs blew out, she still wouldn't stop working until it got to the point where she couldn't pee. I've been posting about this loco sister for years. The crazy is not related to the pain...the crazy may be exacerbated by the pain, but the cause is not the pain, Know what I mean??

    I think what EW said about her just shutting everyone out so she can process this until it's over is what's mostly going on. I do that often as well, especially when I'm depressed.
  14. keista

    keista New Member

    Prayers out to your and your sis. I agree with the others about giving her her space, but letting her know you are always available for support
  15. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Hugs to you. I know how worrysome a siblings poor health can be. I totally get that you want to help because she is your sister even if you are not close. My older sister and I are not close, never were. But when she had major surgery I flew out to help take care of her. But it was counter productive as she didn't want to appear "weak" and did way too much trying to beat me to my chores. She did things she might have left undone if I had not come. Best you can do is honor her wishes. Just send a card and flowers & tell her you will be thinking of, or praying for her. - RM
  16. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks RM. I live four miles from her. What you said about your sister not wanting to appear weak sounds very familiar. She likes to be the magnanomous one on the giving end, not the receiving.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't know your sis, but I know how I get.

    When I'm in pain and facing something as major as she's facing....................and let's be honest, she's facing a life altering deal here either way, not to mention some horrid recovery time that may turn out to be for nothing..................But well, I actually turn into an introvert. It's not that I don't appreciate the kind thoughts and the offers to help ect, because I most certainly do. It's that I can't tolerate vulnerability in any form, most especially physical. This issue with me has to do with my past. But I've met others with similar issues for other reasons. I also have issues with being a "burden" on someone. (heaven help my kids when my health hits the toilet whether I'm old or not huh? lol )

    I'd just keep telling her you love her, you're thinking about her, you're praying for her........and sort of let the rest pretty much go. You can let her know she can call you for anything, no problem. But what I'd do? Is when she gets home.........take her a nice meal once in a while. If she has a family, take one over for the whole family. Pick up lunch and stop in for a visit and just sit and chat with her when she's up for it. If you see something that needs to be done while there........well then don't ask, just get up and do it. If she balks, and if she's like me she will balk, tell her that someday when you're in a similar situation you know she'll be there to help you out, it's just a family thing and not an issue with you.

    Why do I say the latter? Because after my accident.........my family got the typical responses from me. Some of that was simply because my brain was a mess and I was answering automatically........some was well because like I said I have this thing with being vulnerable. But I needed help. I had 2 shattered shoulders for pete's sake! I needed help with meals, laundry and just running the vacuum. But I wouldn't dream of asking someone. And my bff? phht. She came to see me once........and nuthin. I helped her with her gaping wound infected with MRSA for 2 yrs.......and nuthin. easy child? Well, she believed me. My family? Please........they couldn't seem to understand I nearly died and had 2 busted up shoulders and fractured skull and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). ppht. So there I was only a few days home, tears running down my face while trying to stir mashed potatoes on the stove........... Yeah. I did say I had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), had I been running on all pistons it wouldn't have quite been as bad as someone else would've been stirring those potatoes, lemme tell ya. lol But one evening, the mom of the boy who hit me brought over food for a meal for the whole family and totally reduced me to tears due to her thoughtfulness. She didn't ask, she just did.

    You don't have to make sis feel smothered or anything. But often it's the little things that can make all the difference.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're right, Lisa. And sometimes it's the stupidest little things... that only a family member can get away with doing. Clean the washroom, dust the living room, pick up the threads off the carpet... in theory (if you have money) you can get food prepared, but... there's no way I could stand to be at home and have somebody hired to come clean. Mom couldn't, either... It's jobs that take 10 minutes max... but make a world of difference. And when family "just does it"... it works.
  19. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Well, I am not like your sister at all, I would be so happy to have you for my sister (she probably is, but I mean to have you help me during that scary of a time)....even though you have drifted apart, something insider her is probably comforted by your showing that you care and now by respecting her answer but not cutting off completely.

    I would be so sad if my sister would do that but I hear that you have become used to some degree of odd behavior for a long time. Still, we love our family and worry. I pray she does well, that sounds like a very serious and painful surgery. Will join you in your prayer and looking forward to the updates you get through your bro (you said she does still talk to him??) and her H. True, he will likely need lots of support through this too.
  20. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks again. She has a cleaning person that comes in and relies on her H for just about everything. He cleans, he cooks and does the food shopping. So if I can relieve him from anything, that's what I will offer so he can be by her side. And Lisa, you're right, those little things are what I did last time. I brought over her favorite cookies and just visited a little while. She really bristles at meals, etc., and I can't clean her house because I am deathly allergic to her animals. But I can do other things. I'll speak with her H tomorrow and just let him know I'm standing by. Incidentally, she does have three adult children who can help so if they've worked out a plan like I did with mine following my knee surgery, I totally get that. Thanks again! And Dee, thanks for the prayers.