Actually, it just took a little imagination to fix, and I'm pretty much totally blind towards the code and how it works at the moment! I simply renamed the Candy theme's qa-theme.php file to something like _qa-theme.php temporarily, then made a copy of it (or a blank one would have worked), which was named properly (qa-theme.php). Then in this new one, I placed the following function override:
public function sidepanel()
// removes the sidebar altogether for the moment!
Then, the entire site was back to normal, aside from lacking the actual sidepanel itself on every page. This was not a problem, since all I needed were the controls and text back, and it was for my purposes. I could sign in as an admin and the textarea with the screwed up HTML I foolishly wrote out of haste populated it as expected. I could have either corrected it or just deleted the whole boxes contents, (I decided to fix it for some reason.....The adventure, perhaps?!) So as soon as I clicked save, I just went and deleted the Candy/qa-theme.php file I had created temporarily and then renamed the original one back to the correct name (from _qa-theme.php to qa-theme.php). Now, every page functions fully again, including the sidepanel and the corrected link I kept in there! (I deleted the dumb HTML content on the sidepanel right after I saw that It worked as I expected it to).
Seems too simple, right? Well, it pretty much was. I just had to get that cerebrospinal-fluid percolating again!