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Beauty of Life
As Shelia admired the vivid green color of her plant, she slid the paint chipped window open to feel the refreshing breeze come in. This was the first day since she had been diagnosed that she hadn’t felt sick. She wasn’t going to let those killer cells in her body attack her anymore.
Sheila went through her normal routine that day; showered, brushed her teeth, and took that handful of pills she hated so much. Her daughter Cindy was coming to visit, so she decided to clean the house. She walked across the shaggy, tan carpet to the big wooden doors. The vacuum was heavier than she remembered, but she lifted it out of the closet without too much of a struggle.
Halfway through vacuuming, Sheila collapsed. She tried to get back up, but her arms were like rubber and couldn’t hold her weight. Luckily, her daughter walked through the door just in time to call an ambulance and get her to the hospital.
An hour later, Sheila slightly cracked her eyes open to find the pale white walls of a hospital room.
“Mom, you’re awake! I’ll go get the doctor,” Cindy said.
The doctor entered the room and checked Sheila’s vitals. “Everything looks good for now,” he said. “You took quite a spill, Ms. Mager. You’re white blood cell and platelet levels are very low. We’ve started some transfusions for the platelets, but you’re body will have to work to make white blood cells. We’ve also found that your cancer has now spread to your lungs. I’m very sorry Ms. Mager, but the chances of chemo working are not good.”
Sheila was speechless. It was as if her determination an hour ago had stayed in the ambulance while she was rushed in. “Thank you, Doctor. Is there anything else?”
“No, that’s all we know for now. We’re going to keep you for two more nights to observe you. After that, you can go home, and we’ll send a hospice nurse over once a week to check on you,” he replied as he walked out of the room.
“Mom, I’m so sorry. I’ll go home and pack you a bag,” Cindy said.
“Thanks Honey. Will you do me a favor? Bring my plant with you, as well, please.”
“No problem, Mom. I’ll be back in a few minutes,” Cindy replied.
While Cindy was gone, Sheila grabbed the remote off of the end table next to her bed, and turned on the TV. As usual, there was nothing good on, so she turned it off and began to read her book.
Cindy returned shortly with a suitcase in one hand, and a withered, pitiful looking plant in the other. She shoved the suitcase into the small closet, and handed her mother the plant.
“What happened to it? It was absolutely perfect the other day and now it’s dying!” Sheila exclaimed. “Cindy, would you please bring me some water?”
“Mom, you have a full cup right next to you,” she pointed out.
“Not for me, for my plant! It needs to be nursed back to life,” Sheila replied.
Cindy chuckled as she filled a plastic cup with water.
Sheila smiled as the faint trickling sound hitting the plant rose to her ears. When the plant was done drinking, she had Cindy set it on the window sill in the bright sunshine pouring in the room.
A day had passed, and Sheila was feeling one hundred percent better. Her doctor had come into the room with great news that day.
“Ms. Mager, we took another blood count this morning. The platelet transfusions worked, your counts are back up to normal. As for the white blood cell count, you really are a fighter. Your white blood cell count is back up to seven thousand. That’s perfect for someone your age. Now, we’re not out of the woods yet, but with your counts going up like this, chemo may work. We’ll see you back here next week to start the treatments. For now, you’re free to go,” the doctor said.
“That’s wonderful! Thank you so much!” Cindy exclaimed as she gave her mom a hug.
Sheila left the hospital returning home with a healthier body and a healthier plant, and she couldn’t have been happier.