Juggling the past few months has been hectic. My worry and concern about my sister has preoccupied my mind and robbed me of sleep.
Since flying to NY in August, my twin sister has struggled with pain in her chest but, her “EKG’s were normal.” Because of this and while waiting on a referral to a cardiologist from our PCP, we would both learn that a normal EKG and chest pain are not normal. We would learn in a nick of time to save Cindy from a heart attack.
Maria had contacted me regarding marrying Erin at Estelle Unit a few months ago. Maria and Erin are both deaf. This meant my only form of communicating with her was by text. Normally my clients call, email and text but text only was how Maria and I managed her Prison wedding planning process.
In the middle of the Prison wedding planning process, we would also learn that Erin was CLM which prevented approval to marry. Undoing this CLM status would take several weeks.
Widespread misuse of Common Law Marriage Affidavits within TDCJ are common. How common? Thirty percent of my clients encounter the “sticky CLM issue” in the midst of the confusing process of planning to marry an inmate. How do they find out? The I60 Request For Marriage is denied based on the inmate being listed as CLM to someone other than the person attempting to marry them.
To start the unraveling, I sent two Dissolution agreements to Maria. One for Erin and the other for the other party to the CLM status. Luckily, she was willing to sign it. Maria had given me her number and I called to explain the situation to her myself.
Finally gaining a date to marry at Estelle, it was a sleep deprived week for me altogether. Friday morning, Cindy and I had a Skype interview with the BBC regarding a show concept. This isn’t unusual. In fact I’m contacted by reporters and production companies on a regular basis. Cindy and I have intentionally waited to sign contract for awhile now. Why? Because finding the right production company to share our unique journey isn’t easy. The BBC won’t embellish or frankenbite or fabricate our clients or ourselves which is why they have our interest.
Cindy struggling with chest pain had me considering a reschedule but, we have never rescheduled with a production company in all these years and Cindy refused to consider a reschedule promising to go straight to the hospital immediately with me instead and following through with the Skype call. The call lasted nearly two hours. How my twin managed to be funny and entertaining I have no idea.
We left the office and went to Harris Willow Park. As usual for the past 3 months, her EKG was normal. I insisted on more tests this time. I was sick of being told she was normal and watching her pop nitro pills like candy. Those pills are key here so stay tuned.
At our PCP (yes, we have the same PCP, GYN and dentist as well as eye doctors), I fought to get a prescription for those nitro pills. Due to that normal EKG, the doctor didn’t want to prescribe them.
After researching nitroglycerin pills though, I wasn’t leaving without them. They would prevent Cindy from having a massive coronary last week. Because she had them, she took them. If she hadn’t had them, at any time during four days of travel, she would have easily suffered a heart attack.
Monday we were dealing with Stephaney again. This most likely caused the stress to Cindy. Her daughter consistently sucker punches us with her consistent relapses. Tuesday while at the PCP, Cindy’s daughter called stranded in Oklahoma after getting off the bus we had put her on to treatment hours earlier. The pain would only get worse.
By Wednesday, I was begging Cindy to go to the hospital. The pain was so intense that she couldn’t sleep. Instead, Cindy rode with me to Goree Unit then on to Gib Lewis.
Thursday, I again begged Cindy to go to the ER. My son and I headed to Jordan Unit to meet two brides. Cindy continued to believe nothing was wrong due to the normal EKG’s and being released over and over with chest pain. I was determined to get her into the hospital by Friday.
Friday morning after wrapping the Skype call and bracing for yet another “normal EKG,” the additional tests I demanded showed inconsistencies. An ambulance transported Cindy while I picked up the twins from school. A stress test Saturday morning was canceled. Cindy’s heart wasn’t up to the test. The cardiologist wanted to do an angioplasty immediately but because Cindy was returned to her room and served breakfast, the surgery was moved to Monday.
Throughout the weekend, I literally bounced from the hospital to Events to home to the hospital to Events to home. Acting normal with little or no sleep and hiding my fear from my sister my family and even myself was no easy task.
I handled paperwork from my sisters bedside. I took client calls and emails as I watched her. I checked in with my husband watching the twins. I sent my son to feed Cindy’s cats. I called the workers who had been paid to paint Cindy’s house and hadn’t returned all week. I called Cindy’s husband from NY to Colorado to Nevada to California. Steve finally arrived in Texas Tuesday morning.
Steve and I went to visit Cindy and I left Harris Heart Tower headed to Estelle Unit in Huntsville. I drove alone. I thought how driven I had become to find answers. I wondered why I had accepted that normal EKG? Why Cindy had? Why we didn’t ask more questions? I thanked God for arguing about the nitro and winning the argument. We had saved her. We found the answers and the solution but it took far longer than it should have.
Arriving at Estelle, I text Maria. She walks towards me smiling. I can’t text. I must leave my phone. We screen in. We wait for Erin. I loan her my ring for Unit photos. She is finally married. Cindy is finally going home.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for. My sisters health or Maria’s ability to marry didn’t have clear cut paths but, I’ve never given up easily. Love will find a way. Maria’s Friend is also deaf. I’m going to help her marry at Estelle. Cindy is home resting and like me thankful. We are forever in debt to the amazing staff at Harris.