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Posted by Jessica on Sep 17, 2009
Please Think Good Thoughts for Seana

My middle sister Seana – one of the most loving, sweet, and beautiful people I have ever met in the world – has been in the hospital for 10 days, and is currently in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). She was admitted to another hospital with pneumonia last Tuesday. Unfortunately after several days there her condition deteriorated rapidly, the pneumonia spread to both lungs, and, for whatever reason, they weren't responding to her distress or caring for her properly.

On Saturday morning my oldest sister Sheila, who is a doctor at a wonderful community hospital here in Columbus, went to the hospital Seana was at to check on her and to speak with her doctors. It didn't take long for Sheila to see that she needed to be moved to an ICU. And so she had Seana moved to the ICU at her hospital that afternoon.

Since Saturday Seana's been intubated, breathing under the assistance of a breathing machine, and heavily sedated. When Sheila called me on Saturday morning to tell me she was moving Seana to her hospital, I asked if I should fly out and Sheila said that I should. Four hours later I was on a flight from Columbus to Boston to be by Seana's side.

While Seana was at her previous hospital (and before she was intubated) I spoke with her a few times each day, hearing the strain in her breath, telling her how much I love her. Last Thursday evening she called and with emphatic urgency told me repeatedly how much she loved me. We talked between her breaths for a few minutes, and I told her how much I loved her too and how I knew she was going to get better soon. When I got off the phone, I mentioned to Tim the urgency I heard in Seana's voice. She sounded scared, I said, like she thought she was going to die.

The next morning confirmed my thinking: upon asking how she was doing, she replied "Well, I'm still here." When I gave a little chuckle and replied I was happy she was indeed still there, she paused and said, "I didn't think I would be today." Seana knew how critical she was before her own doctors did: less than 24 hours later, she was intubated and transferred to the safety of the ICU floor of Sheila's hospital.

Sheila and I have been by her side since Saturday evening. Sheila cleared her rotation schedule for this week and I tossed my work out the window too, and we both spend ten hour days with Seana. In the late afternoons, we head home for some rest and some normalcy. At night I try to sleep, still hearing the sounds of the breathing machine and its various pumps that are helping my sister stay alive and get healthy again.

On Tuesday Seana briefly opened her eyes for the first time since Saturday. I cried when she did and was surprised by my own reaction, but the nurse said it's very normal to feel emotional when they first open their eyes. At that point she wasn't able to focus on us or anything in the room at all. But she opened her eyes.

And then again today, Thursday, when I came into the room, her doctor came over to tell me Seana had been awake that morning and able to respond to questions. Her doctor shared with her how Sheila and I have been by her side every day. Seana understood and began to cry. When I was by her side later she opened her eyes for me too, and it was very clear she knew who I was as tears rolled down her cheeks again. She did the same for Sheila too. I can't begin to describe the joy that is in my heart tonight, just knowing that she's in there and can respond and hear us again.

She can't speak right now because of the intubation, but she can respond to questions with nods or by squeezing our hands. She's able to respond to questions about where her pain is and understand when the nurses need her to do something. And she's able to hear when I tell her how much we love her, how much we all care for her, and how proud I am of her for working so hard to get healthy again.

At this point, Seana is still critical, still intubated, and still in the ICU. She probably has another week in the ICU ahead of her, followed by another 4-5 weeks in the hospital. She has a very long road ahead of her, and I am so happy I'm able to be by her side for it. This Saturday I have to fly home for a few days to tend to a few things, but I'm glad she's awake now and that she'll understand that I'll be coming back again to be by her side very, very soon.

While I'm away, Sheila will continue to see her every day, as will of course our parents and Seana's husband. Her kids (Joey 12, Michael 10, Alicia and Danielle 7), my nieces and nephews, will be drawing her pictures for her room. And we will all be thinking good thoughts for her: for her strength, for her comfort, and for her health.

I know HedgehogsWithoutBorders is normally a website about travel, but it is overwhelmingly about people and connections too. So if you could, please think good thought for my sister Seana. I know it will mean so much to her – and to all of us – to know that people all around the world are wishing her well.

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September 17, 2009 at 9:52pm
sending good thoughts and wishes your way, stay strong!
September 18, 2009 at 10:05am
We are sending lots of good thoughts your way and hope the best for Seana.
September 18, 2009 at 10:08am
Such sad news, but it sounds like she is getting better. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers and hope for a quick recovery for Seana.
September 18, 2009 at 12:15pm
I'm so glad that she's getting proper care and that you can be there for her, and I hope she heals up even sooner than you expect!
September 18, 2009 at 3:48pm
Awww… poor Seanna. Secret Agent X and Klaus send our wishes that she gets well soon, and hugs for the hedgehogs!
September 18, 2009 at 5:08pm
thinking of you guys so so so much. xoxoxo
September 18, 2009 at 8:38pm
I'm so glad to hear that Seana's condition is improving! Every step – regardless of how seemingly small – is progress and should be celebrated. As I'm sure you've already figured out. :)

Sending lots of warm thoughts to you and Seana and the rest of your family. ** hugs **

RaeLynn McBride
September 20, 2009 at 11:02pm
my thoughts and prayers are with you, your sister and your families – may God bless you and keep you
September 21, 2009 at 9:29pm
Sending continuous loving, healing thoughts Seana's way. I'm so glad you've been able to be by her side. I know that it makes all the difference. xoxoxox
September 30, 2009 at 7:58pm
You are all in the right places at the right times. Hugs and kisses to all,
October 1, 2009 at 6:41am
Oh no! I haven't been around any of my usual haunts lately, I don't know if this is the first you've mentioned of this? What happened? I hope she recovers swiftly! *sending healthy vibes*
October 1, 2009 at 6:46am
*ahem* Ignore my idiocy in thinking the summary thing on the main page was the whole post. egads. Well. Um. Yeh. So er just ignore my previous comment.

That's awful that the first hospital was so unaware. Glad that she does indeed seem to be improving a lot, though. It sounds like you guys are all very close, so nice to hear. *still wishing for a speedy recovery and sending healthy vibes*

Richard & Phillida Simons
November 8, 2009 at 4:29am
Hoping you will be well soon, Seana.

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