The Highest Glimmer

March 4, 2009
By MargaretAnne McKinney BRONZE, Kalamazoo, Michigan
MargaretAnne McKinney BRONZE, Kalamazoo, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I have always wanted to try it. Just to know what it feels like to push myself to the limit. To get to the top and just know, know what the top of the world feels like.

The highest I've been up is the tenth floor of the Pediatric Unit. The best view I have ever seen was from there. I snuck up to the doctor's lounge one night, right before I was supposed to start a new treatment. It was beautiful out; the sky was clear as crystal; and, you could see the full moon off to the side of all the buildings.

Then Dr. Rogers came in and hustled me back down to my room, told the nurses to make sure I get some rest. But how could I get to sleep after seeing that. When I closed my eyes I saw how the stars looked from higher up, and the moon's glow on everything. The reflective buildings and the cars parked in the streets. Nothing was untouched by its glimmer.

It was also the only thing that got me through the treatment. It was the worst one yet. I think what makes it the worst is that the doctors say I am going to get better, and my parents say I am going to get better, and EVERYONE says I am going to get better.

But we don't even know what's wrong.

It has been almost a month since I had to get re-admitted into the PICU, or Pediatric Intensive care unit. The doctors thought it was cancer, but they couldn't find a tumor. Then they thought it was a birth defect but couldn't find any evidence in my case file.

All I want is to know what's wrong with me so they can fix it and I can get out of this damn hospital for good.

Maybe if I finally get better for good, mum will let me take climbing lessons. But that is a big maybe.


The doctors don't think it is a curable syndrome. They say that I have around three months to live.

At first I couldn't respond. It was like I just shut down for a moment. Just watched my mother cover her mouth and sob, my father stare off into space, my brothers trying not to cry. Yet even with all this dread and emotion around me it wasn't until a week later when the final test results came back that I could cry.

Like all at once it just hit me. I fell to the floor of my hospital room and sobbed. Some of the nurses were going to give me tranquilizers to calm me down, but my doctor said no. He said that I had to get it out.


You never know what a situation feels like until you are faced with it. Death is one of those situations. My mother and father say that if I need to do anything, go anywhere, they will take me. But I don't want to go anywhere.

I just want to stay with them. Stay at home. With my family and I want to hang out with my friends. I don't want to go to Disney land or whatever. I just want to be with family.

And take a climbing lesson. It's one of the only things I have ever wanted to do and now that I am almost at my expiration date, I figure now is the time to take one.

I talked to my mother about it and finally, after 7 years of asking, she said, 'Yes'.

And that is where I am headed right now. The climbing wall in my town. It's not the tallest thing in the world, maybe 120 feet give or take, but it is all I want. All I think I need.


In the harness, I feel more at home then ever before. Walking up to the wall, I can feel the adrenaline pumping through me. The excitement of finally knowing what it feels like. The commands sound familiar as though I have known them my whole life.

They ask me if I am ready, and I say 'I've been ready for a long time.'

I am finally going to see the highest glimmer.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece on a spur of the moment feeling. I needed a new piece for a writing contest and i just went through many random ideas till i found the perfect one. Enjoy!

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