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The Last Days of Uncle Max

By
Josh T

Peller

English 91

14 September 2012

As we entered the hospital, the smell of disinfectant and medicine entered my nose. Nervous shivers ran down my spine. I’ve had a hatred for hospitals ever since I was little, and had to go and get a shot every week at our local clinic. I just couldn’t stand the feeling of that ice cold needle going under my skin and the smell of the disinfecting alcohol. But thankfully we weren’t here for me to get a shot this time. We were here because of a call we got from the hospital this morning. Apparently my uncle came in with some sort of virus or something, saying that he felt sore and was having hard time breathing, so the hospital put him in a room and the doctors are now running some test to see what they’re dealing with. My mom walked up to the front desk and the nurse said “Hello, welcome to the Madison County Hospital. How can I help you?”

“Hi, we’re here to see my brother, Maxwell Campell. Could you tell us what room he is in?” my mother said.

“Hmmmm let’s see…” she said as she typed the name into her computer.”… Ah here we are, Maxwell Alex Campell, room 192, second floor in e

t wing.”

“Thank you.” We walk to the elevator down the hall into the east wing of the hospital and take the elevator up to the second floor and look for room 192. I hold my breath as we enter the room, expecting to see a sickly green vomiting version of my uncle, but when I get inside the room, all I see is my normal uncle laying on the hospital bed reading. The sound of us coming in must have alerted him because he looks up from his book and starts smiling and says “Hey, there’s my favorite nephew!” Being my Uncles favorite nephew is a fairly easy title to win seeing how I’m his only nephew, because my Mom is his only sister. We sat down in some chairs in the room and talked until a doctor came in the room. “Hey doctor Westley. What’s the word on my getting out of here?”

“Mr.Campell I’ve got some news that you might want to hear alone.” The room goes silent and the color drains from everyone’s face. After pausing for a second Uncle max says, “Anything you say to me you can say to me and my family”

“All right, if you’re sure. I’m afraid you have cancer in your left lung. I know that this must be terrifying for you but we think that we’ve caught it early enough so we may be able to treat the cancer and you may just survive this experience” the doctor says. I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen. ”I think I should be going. Give you some time to think about what you want to do next” says the doctor. After Doctor Westley leaves, my mom looks at Uncle Max and says “So, what are you going to do?”

“Well if there’s a chance to survive this then I think I should take it. I’m sure my insurance can take care of it for me and everything will be alright.”

We spend the next few hours at the hospital with my uncle and then go home that night. I spent the whole night tossing and turning thinking about how I could possible lose my uncle in such a way. Eventually I fell into a dreamless sleep. The next day my Mom and Dad confront me. “Sam. How are you feeling? We know that you must be feeling scared and worried about this situation with Uncle Max”

“I-I’m fine. It’s just that I’m worried about Uncle Max’s Health. By the way, did he say anything about the surgery?”

“I talked with your Uncle last night for a few hours and he’s decided that he’s going to go in for the surgery. I’m sure that the operation will go off without a hitch.”

“I hope so…” The next week Uncle Max goes into surgery and the deadly tumor in his lung is successfully removed. A few months pass and Uncle Max is able to adjust to having one lung. That is until the party we had on the 4th of July. Every 4th of July we had a party at our house where we would invited a bunch of family friends and party all night. It was going to be amazing party with a ton of fireworks and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. The night had been so going well. Everyone was getting along great and even Uncle Max with his now cane and oxygen tank seemed to be having a good time.

And then Uncle Max fell to the ground gasping for air like a fish and heaving “Quick! Call an ambulance! I can’t breathe!” After a few minutes, the ambulance came and picked Uncle Max and my mom up because she wanted to go with him. Slowly everyone at the party leaves and gives we get a phone call from my Mom. Uncle Max had had a heart attack because the cancer in Uncle Max had spread to his both his lungs and heart. There was no way that he could survive without both his lungs and his heart. He and my Mom talked for a long time that night and together they made a decision. Uncle Max wanted to out on his own terms. During the next few months we spent as much time as we could with Uncle Max, going to movies, playing games, everything that made him happy, knowing that any day could be his last. We were all dreading the day we would get the call from the hospital. Then one day I came home from school to find my mom sitting on the couch crying and I could tell that the day had finally come. It felt like a bottomless pit of sadness had opened inside of me. I didn’t think it would be possible to ever be happy after something like this. The funeral service was short but the preacher described Uncle Max with great accuracy. Finally our last respects were paid and his coffin was lowered into the plot next to both my grandparents. And then I started to remember Uncle Max and how he always tried to live his life to the fullest and was always smiling. And then I realized that no matter how bad it might seem right now the sadness will pass one day and I’ll still be able to smile again one day.





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