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What Comes Next?

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Two months ago, this would have been much more fun. Everybody is here to see me. My friends are here, my sister’s friends are here, and my parents’ friends are even here too. It was always fun and exciting when people came to visit me. I do like watching TV, but it can get pretty old after a while. I’m nine years old and I have leukemia, so I’ve had to stay in the hospital many times. Spending so much time there can get kind of boring. I was going to get a bone marrow transplant, which would have made me well again. I would have been able to go back to school and play with all of my friends again. Everyone is here in the hospital with me though, and nobody is laughing. I can hear my mom crying while my dad and sister are being awfully quiet. I don’t have to be too smart to realize that this means they’re here to say goodbye.

Two months ago, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was going to send me to Disney World. I would have been able to jump to the front of the lines on all the best roller coasters. My family and I would have had such a great time, even my mom who cringes to as much as think about riding a roller coaster. I was doing pretty well then, considering that I had leukemia anyway. If everybody had come to see me then we could have had a lot of fun. At least I would have been able to talk to them.
About one month ago the doctors put me on a ventilator because I was having trouble breathing. The only problem was that I didn’t respond well to it; they said that I was fighting the ventilator. They decided that they needed to make me go to sleep for a long time. They called this sleeping a medically induced coma. When they told me I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I wondered when I would wake up, if I even would pull out of the coma. My dad was with me then and he seemed pretty scared too. I was kind of relieved though, because they said that they would be able to make me hurt less.
The doctors were wrong; I did hurt less, but it wasn’t very much like being asleep. I could still hear everybody when they talked to me. My mom and dad talked to me a lot, which made me feel better. They read books to me, told me about what my friends were up to, and about what everyone was doing. They told me that my sister was spending a lot of weekends at our grandparents’ house. There are some amazing sledding hills there and I wanted to be with her, even though I knew I couldn’t be. They also told me how everyone missed me and wanted me to get better and come home. When they talked to me, everything seemed more bearable, like I could make it through all the obstacles. I just wanted so badly to be able to talk to them and say thank you for spending their time with me.
One day about a week ago, I got my wish, at least for a few moments. I still couldn’t talk, but I could respond to my mom’s questions by squeezing her hand. She was thrilled that we could communicate and was smiling from ear to ear. The downside was that because I was out of the coma, everything hurt more. The doctors wanted to put me back in the coma right away, so my mom only had time to ask me one question. She asked me if I knew that my sister loved me. I squeezed her hand once, letting her know that I knew.
When you’re in a coma, you have a lot of time to think about things. I thought about my sister a bit; I knew we didn’t always get along, but I knew that she loved me. She had asked my mom to let me know she loved me, so I guess she missed me a lot. I missed her too because she always played video games with me; my mom and dad don’t like them much. I also had time to think about a lot of other things. Mostly I thought about what I’d do when I got better. The first thing I wanted to do was go to Disney World, but I also missed small every day things. I missed playing soccer and baseball with my friends, going fishing with my dad, and I never realized how much I liked talking to people before. A common saying goes that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I would definitely have to agree that it is true.
Lately, I had been feeling absolutely exhausted and I knew I wasn’t doing too well. I could also tell how I was doing because when I got worse, the doctors started to talk about more things. When I was first put into the coma, the doctors were just talking about my lungs. Then they started talking about all sorts of things like my kidneys, my liver, and my gall bladder. I was starting to realize that I was going to die, so when everybody showed up today, I wasn’t very surprised.
When I think about what’s going to happen to me, I start to feel that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt when I was first told about the medically induced coma. In church, they tell us that when you die, you go to be with God and everyone you love who has already died. The problem is that everybody I love is with me in this hospital room. I do know my school nurse though, she died of cancer too. I think that she would help me to make new friends. I hope we can play soccer, it’s my favorite sport and I’ve really missed being able to play it.
Everyone is leaving the room now, except for the doctors, my mom, my dad, and my sister. They’re all crying harder now too. Even my sister and my dad are crying; I can count the times they’ve done that on one hand. The doctors are starting to unplug the machines and it’s getting harder to breathe. I guess this is what it feels like to die. I know I’ll miss everyone once I’m gone, but now I get to find out what comes next.





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