I have been neglecting my blog, but I have a very good excuse. I have just survived one of the worst experiences someone can have — watching a dear sister die unexpectedly from a brain tumor.
It brings up lots of issues — one is, “Gee, maybe all that about cell phones and brain tumors is really true!”. Another relation has two small children and they BOTH have had a brain tumor, and they under five years old. If I lived in their neighborhood, I would check the water supply first.
My sister Linda was my baby sister, two years younger than me. We were as close as twins and even had our own language. I spent two weeks up at Lake Tahoe with her this summer. Ten days after that she attended a wedding in Minneapolis and collapsed at the wedding. Of course, she was perfectly healthy, married to a doctor, swam two miles a day in the lake, only ate healthy food, flossed constantly — you get the idea.
After her collapse, it was four months until she died in a coma. The decline was fierce and frightening. And it took my nuclear family which was five people only a few years ago, down to two left — just me and my younger brother. Nothing like getting shoved in front of the generational train.
So I did my risk assessment four months ago and decided that I should spend as much time with my sister as possible, so I have been flying back and forth from Annapolis to Davis, California (in the vast Central Valley), since the 8th of September. And now I’m back.
It did give me a new appreciation of the problems of carrying medical records around and having them available for the next healthcare provider. Just one rotate-able brain scan takes up almost two CDs — files too big to email, almost too big to fit in my oversized purse.
Having done everything I could, but left with the inevitable result, I am back to thinking about risk and consequences. And thinking about loss, and how to avoid it in the future.
And how to encourage others to avoid it, too. Loss Prevention through Risk Assessment — that’s going to be my mantra in 2009. That and remembering my wonderful sister, Linda Lee .
I hope you will take the journey with me.
— Caroline Hamilton