It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
Monday, February 2, 2009
Clouds and Sunlight
These are pictures of my sister and I. We used these sweet stand-ins to show the story of my sister's ordeal. Sis is not going to be photographed for a while, by her request. Both little dogs were given, by me, to her many years apart. The little puppy is her's from many years ago when (as a little girl) she found it in her stocking at Christmas. The yellow hound was brought to the hospital with me when we picked her up after the operation; a week ago last Friday.
Sis was released from the hospital two days after she had a Craniotomy to remove a tumor from the left-front of her brain . They do not let you stay long these days and want you up and walking around if at all possible. She had a half-circle scar from the top of her forehead to her left ear and her left eye was swollen shut and very black and blue. She had a horrible headache and couldn't talk too well. The doctor wanted to know if there were arrangements for her to recouperate with as little noise or disturbance as possible; especially in the first 48 hours. So we decided that the best place for her was her condo in Pacifica and that's where she and I went for a week. Her husband came everyday with food, get-well cards and flowers from friends and family.
The first 48 hours were scary and I was reminded, again, how much our bodies can suffer recovering from modern medicine's ability to keep us from death.
Each day was long and nights even longer for Sis. The pain was extreme until about the 4th or 5th day. I fixed her food and made her drink WATER. I made her as comfortable as possible. She slept a lot the first few days and then..., slowly, she felt a little better. I read her a Mary Oliver poem on a card I made for her and waited for the clouds to lift.
By the 7th day Sis was doing so much better. Her eye was open and she could see out of it but it still didn't work with her right eye,yet. That will take more time. Her headache had subsided and she ,generally, felt better. I drew this picture of her on the kitchen blackboard with the beginnings of a smile. The clouds disappeared and the sun showed it's reflected light across the room from the suncatcher in the window.
On Friday, we packed up and went home. On the way we stopped at the hospital to have the stitches taken out. All went well and the doctor said a biopsy showed that the tumor was, definitely, not malignant. Such good news. Such very, good news.
We returned to Sis's house, in Lafayette, 9 days after the operation. It was filled with people and dogs, movement and noise. (This is what LIFE sounds like.) Everyone was glad that she had returned and, even though she was tired, she was glad to be home.
Life changes. What was normal is, now, a different normal. and , as Mary Oliver says, each of us "....just happens to be where (we) are in the universe...".
I believe that we all have a purpose; maybe more than one, and with good intentions and a kind heart, we will do the thing that needs to be done..., and life will become less a mystery.
So, as I drove home, yesterday, I thought again of the words in the Oliver poem and I finally cried tears of relief for my sister.
"...good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day...
in happiness, in kindness."
and with a great sigh of relief I added..., in thankfulness.