Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cosmic Dope Slap

My mother called me at 6:30 this morning, crying. I knew instantly something was wrong when I picked up my phone, because Mom is bright enough to know I'm not usually voluntarily up for for a chat at such an ungodly hour.

My little sister was in a car accident. She had been life-flighted to the University of Wisconsin's Head Trauma Unit. All Mom knew was that she'd "broke the bone in her forehead, something was wrong with her lungs, and she was missing 4 teeth." Her father was the one who'd called, and that's all the information he had at that point, and was on his way to the hospital.

So while I waited for another call with more information, like was she brain damaged, or worse --- was she going to die, I went through my morning in a state of dumb shock. But at the same time, I wasn't particularly surprised by the call, considering that at the age of 20 she has been arrested for drunk driving twice (within the same month, no less) and just finished a 20 day jail sentence for that. She very obviously has a drinking problem, and even though her license has been revoked, still continues to drive. I've been telling her in every way I know how that she's either got to stop drinking, or stop driving, or preferably both. But this is the very worst kind of 'told you so' and I certainly don't feel any better about seeing more clearly what she was bound for than she did.

I felt guilty, too. She'd been planning to move out to Massachusetts to live with me and try to get her act together, but changed her mind when she was in jail. She'd have been here and safer if she'd come. Maybe if I'd pressed her harder about it? But I didn't press because I was a little bit relieved that I wasn't going to be having to re-arrange my world to accomodate her.

Her father called me after he found out that she was going to be okay. Apparently her CAT scan showed no injury to her brain, but she did have a 4 inch gash on her forehead, bruised lungs, and those pesky missing teeth. (And boy, did she have beautiful teeth that she was very proud of.) I was so relieved to get the news I forgot to ask if her skull was indeed cracked or not.

Now I'm waiting to hear more test results. I've had a lot of trouble concentrating on anything today, so now it's time to clean the kitchen so I can mess it up again making filet mignon. In times of stress, it's always comforting to eat some fabulous food, right?

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