The loss of my twin sister at the age of 47
by Rebekah Arnold
I was born a twin, my sister Deborah (Debbie) was born 3 minutes before me. My mother said she cried when the doctor said give me another band there is another baby. Our mother thought she was going to have a huge boy and had only picked out one boys name , instead she ended up with two very tiny girls , we were both under 4 pounds . The doctor did not know about me because my twin laid over top of me the whole time and he could only hear one heartbeat. We were born on our grandfather’s birthday and he sent my mother roses with our names attached, one Deborah Faye, and mine Rebekah Jo, he picked our names from the bible, and our middle names come from our mother’s name. This was back in 1964.
My middle son came and woke me up at 2 am November 15, 2011 to tell me that Debbie had been in a bad car accident and they were unsure if she was going to live. I live in Tennessee and my sister lived in Indiana. I was up tried to call our mother, and had to drive over to give her the news. We had to wait until am that morning before being able to head to Indiana where she was in the hospital, because I could not get my paycheck before that time. When telling my bosses about what happened, my boss rolled his eyes at me and told me I would have to find my own replacement, and work for them on Friday and Saturday. I told him he must be crazy, I did not think I would be back by then, as I had no idea what or how bad she was.
It was a 8 hour drive and the longest day of my life , we got a call from my niece a half hour away from the hospital to tell us the doctor did not expect her to make it through the night , They had done surgery on her leg to fix it with a rod . It was broken or shattered and it was the only way to repair it. She was not waking up at all and her O2 level had dropped into the low 40s. We arrived at the hospital the evening of the 15th to find her hooked to a vent and many IVs.
She was not responding to anything of course we cried but after we arrived her O2 level was normal, when asking her nurse about this she said they has to readjust the vent to get it back up. She showed me her legs where they were what is called molding and told me that was not good. I knew this from working in the health care field all my life. Debbie lived until the morning of the 19th at 530 am she passed with my middle son by her side. The 18th my niece and I went into see her and she was blinking her eyes like when you do and are confused about where you are, and when we grabbed her hands, she grasped them. I was so excited and ran to tell our mother she was waking up. While my mother and I were in seeing her the doctor came in and gave us the results of the MRI they had done the nights before He told us the news that she was mostly brain dead and this was caused by going without O2 to her brain for at least 20-30 minutes. I know it is and was true but I cannot believe it still when she was showing signs of waking up. I asked the doctor why then was she grasping our hands when we put our hand in hers and she had not before. He said this was a reflex the brain did not need to think to do and if she was to stay alive we would have to keep her on a vent and feeding tube and she would be a vegetable the rest of her life . We cannot figure out where she went without the O2 and will probably never know that answer. The whole family agreed she would not want to live on life support for the rest of her life and decided the next day to take her off the vent at a set time so they could harvest her organs, as this was her wish. She did not live long enough for us to do this so we were able to let them harvest her corneas and skin and bone to help someone else live a better life. She would be happy knowing this.
It has been 2 weeks ago today and I cry everyday and cannot say the date of her death without tearing up. I start to call her every day after work because this is what we did, talked all the way home from work. Debbie and my niece came down to see us the end of October, I am thankful for that short time of getting to see her. I feel so empty like half of me is gone, I am so angry at god , and I am so lost without her she was my twin , my sister, my best friend, my strength and I will always have a empty hole where the part of her should be .