The Little French English Improvement Project

little french person trying to improve her english, little french english person trying to improve herself, french english person trying to improve a little bit… and blogging along the way. (Now in Deutschland)

Posts Tagged ‘sister’

Of care and merit (retrospectively: what a pedantic title)

Posted by Alice Challet - alicethefrog on November 6, 2010

SO, after  a hectic week, here we are, back at home and I am ex-hau-sted. Today the adrenaline rush which had enabled me to juggle lessons, training, library shifts and hospital visits left me. It just flew away between 1 and 2 pm, while we were waiting for the ambulance. All of a sudden there was nothing left to do but wait; no more packing to do, no more papers to pick up, no more chasing after doctors, and a great big tide of weariness washed over me. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and started getting irritated and snappy at everything and anything that wasn’t to do with our leaving. I suppose we had some reason to be irritated: a nurse had told us at 12:30 that the ambulance would arrive at 13:00, so I skipped lunch, ran home, packed my stuff, ran back to the hospital, and sat there for two or three hours, waiting for stuff to happen, and watching people coming in and out of the bedroom I heard you were leaving today. Oh, you’re going home in an ambulance? When’s it coming? Ah. Three hours ago… Someone even joked  there might be  a strike… Not funny, especially not in a situation where it’s very very likely to happen.

I am fully aware that in the big picture, my family’s health issues are… maybe a bit of varnish flaking off the frame. Of course, when your nearly 20-year old baby sister  goes ill, it’s difficult to think of anything else. But the cancer-specialised wing opposite is getting extended, and other people end up in wheelchairs, or blind, or permanently invalidated in some way or other, so I am really thankful Lucile’s injuries are what they are and nothing worse.  Of course I love her very much (if you have been keeping track, you will have noticed I used this sentence a lot), and I worry about her, and am going to look after her and help her get through the next few month as well as I can.

But whenever I start veering towards gratifying thoughts such as: “what a nice sister I am”, and “phew, this is tiring!” , I feel like a wuss. Honestly.  Some people cope, somehow, with looking after one or more close members of their family being really ill and depending on them entirely. What heroes! And all this knowing full well that the situation may never get any better, if not just steadily get worse over time. My heart goes out to them. Actually, spending so much time in hospital this week has reminded me of this film: My Sister’s Keeper. Have you heard about it? I am normally not a big Cameron Diaz fan, but this film gets me EVERY time. Most of the acting in that film is so just, so absolutely accurate and right… And it stars the amazing lovely, beautiful Abigail Breslin.  I still have difficulties believing her first big role was an ugly girl. Anyways, find that film and watch it. It is amazing. A great story, really well told, well played… I could go on forever using a multitude of praising sentences, strings of positive adjectives, but you would get bored and it wouldn’t do it justice anyway.

So there. My sister is now tucked up in bed and I have a bit of time to myself. A serious student might be working when I waste precious time promoting films on my blog and chatting on msn. But that’s just me.


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Things are looking up!

Posted by Alice Challet - alicethefrog on November 4, 2010

I like it, that a lot of the time, after any ofrm of crisis and stress, there comes a time when things slow down, you can heave a great big sigh and start putting everything back together. I am glad to say I have just about reached that point. Something has been done about both issues mentioned in my previous post, and her I am, during another library shift, feeling the constant bubbling and thrashing inside me settling down a little.

First of all you’ll be glad to hear that my little sister Lucile is a lot better. She finally saw a special doctor for her back yesterday. It took some time but we finally got there. Dad and I took in in turns bothering whoever we could find who happened to look a bit like a doctor and asking them if they had any news.  Apparently an aggravating factor to the situation was that last weekend’s intern had “misplaced” Lucile’s file. It feels so good to know my baby sister is such good hands… Anyways. On Tuesday a very handsome young man with blue eyes came and took a mould of Lucile’s torso to make a brace to support her back. He came back the yesterday with the finished brace (green motifs on black) and there were talks of her going home on Thursday as planned. Most people seemed to have completely forgotten about her seeing a neurologist at all. And then hurray! someone re-found her file!

There was some good news. For starters, someone actually described to us Lucile’s back injury. No-one had bothered so far, so since the nurses were so adamant she shouldn’t move her back AT ALL, and I have a very vivid imagination, I had considered all sorts of  horrible things. But in fact, a small part of one of the vertebrae was compressed a little. It is a fracture, but not a very bad one, and compared to her wrists, hardly worth mentioning. It’ll get better and in a few years’ time you will hardly know it ever happened. Massive sigh of relief. Phew.

And there was something else. Would Lucile like to take part in a study comparing two different treatments for the type of fracture she has. The first was the one that had been suggested at first: wearing a brace for three months which relieves pressure on your bone, allowing it to solidify again over time. The second: going through surgery and have some cement injected into your vertebra. The cement helps your bone solidify immediately and avoids having to wear a brace at all. This means you can perform ordinary tasks without having your movements too restricted by the brace, it makes washing easier and avoids your skin getting a reaction with the constant rubbing on the plastic. It also means your body doesn’t rely on the brace too much and it avoids your back muscles growing too weak. Of course it is no magical cure; it takes time to recover from any injury, but it makes the process a little easier. Lucile still won’t be able to play rugby for a while, but she will be able to do more things, easier, and whilst not wearing a very elegant black and green plastic shell.

The hospital has been using both treatments for years, and the study will ultimately decide which of the two techniques will become the default solution for this type of injury. All you had to do was to sign up on a list; your name then gets put through a computer which randomly decides which treatment you will get.  Lucile signed up, hoping to get the latter option and got chosen for vertebroplasty (cement), so good. She went through surgery late this morning. Of course, although we had been told it was safe, you can’t help but worry when someone has a general anaesthetic, so I kept going to and fro between Uni and hospital to check on her. I was the wing’s last visitor last night and their first one this morning, and came back during my lunch-break… And then Lucile came back, reclining (not lying flat as a pancake, reclining, almost sitting, even) on her bed.


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