The sister-in-law chronicles


At last year’s 86th birthday

This post is about my sister-in-law (SIL) with the recent shoulder injury and replacement.

Every family has one. The crazy person that brings life to parties and chaos to life. In our family, it’s my sister-in-law.

SIL is a vortex (and I mean that in the most loving and caring way). You get sucked in for the ride. Without her our family would be a dull lot. Perhaps more normal too.

We have always been close. We’ve done vacations together since I was a teenager and continued that tradition until recently. Sometimes I tagged along with them and sometimes they tagged along with me.

Spend a week at the beach with someone and you get to know them, warts and all. (Who left their drippy swimsuit in the bathroom? Who is using up all the toilet paper? Someone ate the half of my Danish that I was saving!)

If you’ve been following me, you know that several weeks ago my SIL broke her arm at the connection to her shoulder. Ultimately she had to have a shoulder replacement. At age 86!

After the fall, she had mobility issues. Fortunately it was her non-dominant arm so she could feed herself but bathing and getting dressed was difficult. Walking with her bad knees and poor balance didn’t work so well. And so starts the vortex.

She always says what she thinks, occasionally without filter. She told everyone not to send cards or flowers. Cards were too expensive and flowers just another thing to take care of.

One person brought her a tiny cheesecake cupcake (which looked really good) so she knew what she was doing.

Food gifts came in. She was clear that fruit baskets were out because they couldn’t eat the fruit before it spoiled. (Cheesecake? Fruit? No choice! That’s like asking me if I want a Starbucks mocha latte or prune juice.)

I made minestrone soup which was the right choice because I was asked to make it again. Her niece made turkey barbecue which worked too. Someone else brought tuna salad and pie.

My brother was in heaven with the food. He had to give up the remainder of his golf season to be a care taker. (He is waiting to be canonized for sainthood. We have told him he has quite a wait. Way after Mother Teresa!)

Now to the dressing part. I was summoned because of my sewing skills. She couldn’t wear bras so she needed undergarments that gave her comfort and modesty. I listened aghast to descriptions of what might or might not work. It had to go over the head (maybe) but she couldn’t move her arm. No weight on shoulders either. (Seriously some people do not understand garment creation!)

I created a prototype of a tank top with open shoulders. The first one had an open side too so it could be slipped on sideways. No rough seams as that would be annoying.

The beloved husband donated one of his worn (which made it very soft) tee-shirts and we jerry-rigged something from that. She was happy.

We found soft pants with a stretchy waistband (pulling up pants wasn’t easy with one hand).

She is doing very well but still sleeping in a recliner rather than a bed. She doesn’t get good sleep but it’s more comfortable and the ejector seat helps her get to the bathroom fast.

What was most amazing is the recovery. When I saw her the first day after the accident I thought we needed to check out nursing homes. Instead we found stair glides, recliners with ejection seats and clothing that slips on and off easily. By the time we were in a groove, she was ready to get out into the world. After all, someone needs to jazz it up. (No flowers or fruit baskets please. Bring on the purple shoes.)

We have lived through it. The entire family is expecting to be canonized to sainthood in the near future. I’m hoping Pope Francis reads my blog.


62 thoughts on “The sister-in-law chronicles

  1. I’m glad to hear that your SIL is doing much better. I love the creative solutions that you all came up with to help her.
    PS – I also love the snow coming across on your blog — seriously, I need to steal that idea!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if she does (I never tell people when I blog about them. It’s a test to make sure they check my blog ALL the time!). It’s so much easier when someone just tells you what they want.


  2. LOL! Wishing your SIL the best! Reading your post brought back memories of when my Mom had the surgery and OH yes I remember the bra predictament!
    So glad she is managing all this while keeping her humor intact. I am going to have to remember the cheesecake option vs flowers next time I go to the hospital 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. indeed, her spirits and y’alls contributed much to her healing! oh, and of course the food! kudos for stitching comfortable clothes that kept her company ready, that’s the toughie, yet you, with grace and ease (much talent too!) gifted your sil with diginity. saint hood for all – here, here!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re right, she’s clearly no dummy on what she wants others to bring. I’m going to remember her in later years — Chinese and Italian takeout only, otherwise don’t bother. I hope she continues to recover and eventually makes it back to the bed for sleeping.

    So just to be clear, what about a prune latte?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m pretty sure Pope Francis reads your blog – he doesn’t comment much, but I’ve seen one or two “likes” from him (what’s not to like?). Your description of your SIL matches my SIL pretty much to a T, except for the age. She is the spark plug in our otherwise boring family. I’m glad to read that your SIL is doing much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Can’t say that I’ve ever lived close enough to any family member to help them in a hands-on way after a major medical issue. I can see that you’re doing fine with this situation. I’m the person who sends the flowers, thinking they are a cheery sort of moral support. To say that you don’t want any would shut me out entirely. Go figure, huh?

    Liked by 2 people

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