We Couldn’t Afford to Save My Sister

By Adem Lewis / in , , /

I was 15 and my sister was
about 24 when she passed. Being the youngest of 4 siblings, I got to spend the
least amount of time with her, which meant less time to strengthen our bond and create memories. She also only lived with us for, at most, a year and a half before we’d move elsewhere, with her staying at a different residence. I was mostly raised with my older
brother and other older sister, but I still loved her all the same. My sister had always
had an issue with Asthma, like my brother, but unlike her, he didn’t smoke and she did. I don’t remember when
they were diagnosed, but I don’t think any of us at the time
thought Asthma was a serious illness, and I never stopped to think that maybe her smoking habit
would worsen her condition to the point that it would be a disability. I look back now and I realize how severe my
sister’s condition really was, because small things like dust, cut grass, too cold or too warm air would
make her cough uncontrollably and trigger severe Asthma attacks. I feel partially responsible
for not trying hard enough and allowing her to continue to smoke and slowly damage her body right before my eyes. Every day, she’d need to plug a machine and cover
her entire mouth with an Oxygen mask to help her breathe. Her Asthma was not some
temporary illness that people grew out of or used an inhaler to help breathe or stop a wheezing problem. Her Asthma was a result of her airways narrowing, and becoming inflamed causing her chest to feel tight and her gasping and coughing
from lack of air to her lungs. She’d occasionally use her inhaler to help relax the muscles in her
airways to help her breath and even though it did, her smoking habits worsened her Asthma and caused her to rely on
her breathing machine instead. The entire house would echo
with the sound of the machine, every time it was on letting us know she was there. But one night, I woke up from a nap and didn’t
see my sister beside her machine. She was gone from the house. My mom told me she had been
sent away in an ambulance because she was unable to breathe. During my sister’s hospital stay, my mom would spend
days away from the house so she could be at her bedside. While she was there, my sister’s two children, a boy and a girl around the age of two who we referred to as “the twins,” because they were, stayed behind at home. I never visited my sister in the hospital. I should have tried but I was a lazy person who had severe social anxiety and didn’t like going outside when I didn’t need to. Not to mention, we were not very stable financially so I would either have to
walk to the local hospital or catch a bus. Instead, I stayed at home with my other siblings, missing my mom more than
anything, since I was closer to her. I just didn’t think my sister’s
situation was that serious. Then, early one morning, I was woken by my second sister and told to get ready to leave. We prepared the Twins, it was a rainy, wet, miserable day and we all needed jackets and
shoes to protect us from the mud. All five of us walked to the hospital in total silence, apart from the sound of
the rain and our footsteps. We were told straight away
that her condition wasn’t good, she hadn’t gotten any better. She could not breathe on her own and was in a lot of pain! We stood at the door of
her room where she lay lifeless, surrounded by some family member who had already arrived. I walked up to the bed and held her hand, I couldn’t bear to see her like this, why was she still sleeping? It was then that my mother told me in a
sad tone that, my sister’s lungs were so weak that they needed to
put her into a comatose state to fix them. She could not breathe on her own. I could tell how bad it was by the way my mom spoke. She was trying to put on a brave face, but I could see how sad she was inside. My sister was put into a coma because her condition had
gotten progressively worse with her eventually
unable to breathe on her own and being put on life-support. My mom tried everything to keep my sister alive and on that bed, but we didn’t have a lot of money, so the doctors told us our only option… was… …to let her go. My entire family was furious at the doctor for even saying something like that. Their job was to save lives, not suggest that we let my sister go. I could see in the doctor’s face that he was uncomfortable
suggesting the idea, but as he looked at all of us in that room, he told us the truth. That we were only
prolonging the process of dying; not saving her life. My mother grabbed my sister’s hand and stared
at the machines that kept her alive and opened her ears to the
sounds that beeped around her. This time, she begged him to do something, a procedure or give her trial medications to help her. He stayed quiet and said he’d bring in a social
worker to help us discuss our options. Even though my sister was an adult, it was my mother’s decision, as her next immediate family member and person paying for
her medical treatment, to decide whether we
would turn off her life-support or continue paying for her hospital stay. As a family, we didn’t want to pull the plug, but we were running out of money and as days passed, we began to see the color in her skin and the warmth of her body fade. For me, what little memories I had of my sister were quickly being replaced by an
image of her hooked to machines, lying on a hospital bed. I began seeing my sister as a hospital patient more than the person I knew she was and remembered. I think my mother began to realize this over the next few days that she visited her. It brought her to one of the hardest decisions she would ever make in her life. We brought the Twins in and let them lay next to her. They must have been put-off by all the technology hooked
up to her motionless body because they whined to be picked back up. When it was my turn, I approached her bed and
slowly put my head next to her and whispered the only words
that came to me into her ear, “I love you”. My aunt hugged and
assured me that she heard it. I wasn’t so sure, but I felt a few moments
of calm, and happiness hoping that this was what she wanted. Then, that calm, soon turned into commotion as a nurse entered the
room and informed us that it was time to let her go. Everything went in slow motion, but also very quickly at the same time. The nurse approached
my sister by the bedside and removed the tubes from her nose. We all held hands pleading and begging for her to
take a breath on her own. We wanted a miracle
to have her take a breath and see her chest lift on her own. The room grew silent and within a few short seconds, all I heard were tears dropping to the floor and the silent breaths of
air being held by everyone. I looked at my sister and knew this was the last
time I would ever see her alive. Her mouth was open,
like a fish out of water from when the nurse
pulled her breathing tube out. Her skin pale and dry, her body motionless and calm. We gathered around, letting her know we’d always love her and saw her heart rate monitor beep for the final time. The months after her passing, I battled with myself and my own grief. I was envious of the bonds
that everyone else had with her that I didn’t get a chance to build. I was still sad, of course, but just not sad enough to keep crying. I was so envious of my other relatives, because most of them had
taken pictures with my sister, and I had none. I felt so guilty for not trying harder
to be her friend like everyone else. I should’ve been grieving just as hard, but I wasn’t. I had great memories of my sister, kind, helpful, funny, always looking out for my best interests and trying to give her
baby sister good advice, but, I pushed her away, and it took this to make me realize, just how much she loved me, and I loved her. I could have built the same
memories as my other relatives had if I had just let her in. I felt intense remorse that
our relationship ended this way and that one of our last conversations was an argument. So many ifs, buts and maybes. I just couldn’t help think that I was to blame, that I could have changed things. If I’d stopped her smoking, she would still be here now, If I hadn’t complained so much and actually put an effort into our relationship, we would have built a stronger bond, maybe I didn’t deserve to
spend as much time with her because I pushed her away. Over time, I’ve learned that
I can’t hold on to my regrets. I have to move on and cherish the memories that I DID make with her, and not lament over the
ones that we could’ve made had we been closer. I’ve learnt a lot since my sister left us, every argument we ever
had was over petty things that could have been
easily forgiven and forgotten, and had they been, we would have built
a stronger bond together. We should always forgive
others that are close to us, especially when its really only petty things, as no one knows just how much
time we have to spend together. I know now, I would do things very
differently given a second chance, even if it was just a chance to apologize, but sometimes we don’t get second chances.

100 thoughts on “We Couldn’t Afford to Save My Sister

  1. I know it's hard to quit smoking, but you'd think having that bad asthma and two children would give you enough motivation to quit. (sorry, I know that was rather insensitive but as she got worse she should have known that this wasn't going to end in a miracle)

  2. What we learned?

    To be unhealthy is not just having a flu and have to spend four days or less in the bed and then dada! You are free to do whatever you like .

    Its much worse! Its a deferent life you have to deal with it. On this life there's a HUGE wall in front of every single thing you want to do like a normal person.

  3. The lessons we have learnt
    – don't smoke kids
    – government needs to give
    free healthcare
    – spend time with your family while you can
    – look after yourself

  4. this is a leossn we learn not to pay money for saving someones life…it makes life harder but..everone..life is not fair……..things like this happen back in….thoes people knew better…but it wont happen anymore..life not fair..not fair at all…and…yes..i was crying…1 like=save player….

  5. Taking someone off life support for not having money isn't allowed. in another country maybe, but not in America. They may TALK to you about your options. hospice, pulling the plug, etc. But they cannot do anything without consent.

  6. If your dead your dead
    Money dont buy happiness
    Money cant buy a life
    Crying doesnt make your sister alive but okay so sad

  7. its why i dont really bring myself close to my family because ik theyre sicker and weaker than me and if i loose them itll hurt less but when my grandpa died i changed my mind.It was between my family and if we had just cared he would be here but ik hes with me every day.

  8. I have been married to my husband for two years with no idea he was cheating. Suddenly i started noticing changes in his behavior, It seemed as though my life was spinning out of control getting to find out he has someone else. I confided in a friend who convinced and introduce me to a hacker [email protected] he was able to hack into my husband mobile phone. You can also send him a whatsapp messages +1 937-815-1491.

  9. I have been married to my husband for two years with no idea he was cheating. Suddenly i started noticing changes in his behavior, It seemed as though my life was spinning out of control getting to find out he has someone else. I confided in a friend who convinced and introduce me to a hacker [email protected] he was able to hack into my husband mobile phone. You can also send him a whatsapp messages +1 937-815-1491.

  10. Stupid government why do we need money to save lives? They did the same to my grandfather when he had a really bad stroke we had some money to continue with his treatment we knew money was tight and we weren't sure if we would be able to pay. My grandmother was talking to the doctor she was balling cuz money was tight the docter didn't say anything back but just nodded…. we ended up paying for his treatment (I'll never forget that day 😭😭😭)my family struggled with bills after that and we were struggling to buy simple everyday items like groceries 😭😓💔

  11. I feel like if I was her I would of grabbed my phone and took a picture of her last heart beats so I could get it tattooed on me

  12. The American healthcare system is just like EA, they don't care about their clients, and they only care about that sweet money 😡

  13. Guys don’t make bad decisions. This is what happens. You make one bad decision like having a single cigarette and your addicted. Before you know it your dead because of that one bad decision.

  14. When my brother was in the hospital the doctors gave up on him… They said they "ran" out of medicine which is bullshit so they pulled the plug on him this video makes me cry and I never cry we sued the hospital but still it hurts… U get no revenge my brother was only 7 and he had leukemia which is 1 of the rarest cancers to exist…

  15. Why does anyone not an American know, before even watching the video, that this is an American story? SMH

  16. I might also have social anxiety because I don’t like going outside but when I do I’m not happy but if you’re outside l get happy when I have my friends around I feel better btw do you being a introvert to people other than my friends is that also social anxiety

  17. No one thinks asthma is a serious condition. I’ve had asthma for 33 years! I’m tired of ppl telling me I’ll grow out of it or asking why I didn’t. I’m like I’m grown. I’m not going to grow out of it and I’m not even a smoker!

  18. So.. 24 years old, lives at parents' house with her two kids, smokes even though it's killing her and straining their already bad financial situation. Very responsible there!
    She still deserved to get help though. Why does Americans hate income based taxes that provides an affordable healthcare so much? You still need to pay for insurance, so why not just have it deducted from your pay straight away and never be worried that a hospital visit can cost you 1000s instead of $10.

  19. I'm not trying to be rude. You probably made the right decision because she was in so much pain and you probably couldn't save her all you could do was keep her unconscious on breathing tubes. But don't you have insurance because in America if people don't have money you can have free health care and actually fix her.

  20. We're created by the Lord Jesus Christ, and I feel ppl should be saved whatever the cost. You can't put a price on the body. Why if you die, do ppl want your organs, and some ppl pay for organs, no questions asked.

  21. My grandma died when I was 3 because of lung cancer I watched her die and I remember she sad and wanted to watch me grow she didn’t want to do I could tell that by her expression the she got cancer was because she smoked and remembered she loved acting like a witch making magic and I just loved her so much I just wish she didn’t die she was forty years old when she died

  22. They shouldn't have been that furious .Why?
    You cannot even suck the soot from your lungs without losing a drop of blood. So it was impossible to save her, with the impossibility of recovery and your financial situation.

  23. I remember having an Asthma attack since I was 4 It was severe I survived I stayed at a Hospital for a lot of days when I got visited by grandpa but Grandma…..
    She never did I loved them I will never forget that day……. I was in pain crying because of my chest it felt like it was being being banged by a hammer I was
    wondering why I had asthma and My heart was broken like Broken glass it shaddered I cried so hard when Grandma never visited when I was better but I'm 9
    God bless u Suffering from Asthma may God be in ur hearts.

  24. …. This made me cry, Smoking, Or something like that can cause your lungs to not work good or will not be in good condition, Please don't smoke! Exspecially when you have a sickness like this..

  25. I’m not trying to brag and be mean but I’m lucky I live in England because we get free surgery and checkups

  26. Smoking causes throught cancer and shes been through this just like my grandfather who died on 22 december becuase of cigrate

  27. if your at the brink of death and need to pay can they atleast try like if they die they dont need to pay and if they survive they pay

  28. Me and my younger brother have asthma for me it is not a big deal but for my brother he used to got to the hospital a few times a month. The first time I had a asthma attack was in second grade. I could not breath and I had a headache and a stomachache I had to stay in the hospital from 6 in the morning till 10 at night it used to be really bad but thank goodness it is much better now😊

  29. I smoke i have astma i want to stop but I just cant i dont smoke a lot but still when I get mad frustrated i have ti at least one

  30. Sounds more like she was too far gone anyway, it wasn't the money that didn't save her.

    This hits home. I'm 24, and I just now put a nicotine patch on in hopes of quitting smoking. I don't have asthma though. I also have 2 little ones. I can't leave them. I need too succeed this time at quitting smoking. I don't wanna do it anymore.

  31. Just know you are lucky that you did not loose you hole family at the age of 8 ………Uh……..Nothing personal

  32. This is why America needs to improve it's healthcare system. The insurance companies set their own prices as well as the hospitals, doctor's, all involved in the healthcare system. I know there is no easy fix but the current situation doesn't work.

  33. I know how it feels to be unable to grieve properly or at all. Last year my godfather that I basically didn’t remember of know at all died. My mom and dad were upset obviously, but when they told me, I didn’t know how to feel. Like I felt as though I should be sad, but I literally asked “he was my godfather?” So it was kinda hard to. God I feel so unsympathetic 😞

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