Nightmare

By
I sat there and stared at her. Her baby blue eyes were empty and her hair settled around in disheveled clumps around her vacant face. All she did these days was lay there in the crumpled heap she now resided in. I didn't want to look at her, but I couldn't manage to peel my eyes away.

"It hurts." Anna complained, pointing to her too-small-stomach. It probably did. We didn't know exactly what was wrong with her but my mom theorized she had some nasty version of the flu, which left her tired and aching. We all knew it was worse than the flu, but that was the only reason we could think of for why she refused to eat, why she cried in pain every time someone changed her diaper, why the look of pain was seemingly etched into her face.

Her face was too pale. Her lips were cracked and drained of color. Something was very wrong and we all knew it. She had gone to the doctor's office today but somehow they had no idea what was wrong either. This infuriated me; that was their job, they were supposed to know. Seven more doctor visits followed that one in the span of about 3 weeks. I don't remember what I did each of those days except wait for her to come home with good news that it was only the flu and that it would pass soon enough, but I never got any news, good or bad, they simply didn't know. One day, my mom came home, her face livelier than it should be.

"They're sending us to the hospital." She said. I didn't understand. How could you smile when your three year old daughter was being sent to the hospital? "We're finally going to know what's wrong with her." I smiled with her now.

"Can I come?" I asked her, pleading with my eyes.
"I don't think that's such a good idea..." She stated simply.

They didn’t leave until late the next day at about 7:00Pm and I was in charge of watching my brother. After he fell asleep around nine I waited until my parents got home. I was restless. I wasn’t doing anything productive but pacing back and forth, back and forth. I couldn’t wait much longer for news, Good or bad, I wanted to know. Finally. Headlights pulled into my driveway and I watched the figure of my father as he walked steadily down the front pathway. He was going very slowly, but maybe that was just because I had been waiting so long that it seemed like I had no comprehension of time what-so-ever. I listened to the steady clunking of his work boots echo as he climbed the stairs to our deck. All I could think was /‘Hurry up!’/ ‘I want to know she’s alright!’ The front door opened with an exaggerated /click/, and he was crying. My own father, whom I had never seen cry before, hadn’t even bothered to take his shoes off, He just stood in the door way with the tears running down his face. The sobs escaped his lips in little labored gasps. My mind shut down, I opened my mouth to say something but the breath caught in my throat as I realized I was crying too. I knew exactly what was wrong. It was her, my angel of a sister; whatever was ravaging her frail body was far worse than the flu. I didn’t say anything to him; I just wrapped my arms around his waist and cried. We both stood there crying for quite a while until he could finally stop enough to confirm my worst nightmares.

“They took x-rays…” He started, in that choked voice you use when you’re trying to hold back tears. “She has… She has…” He took a deep breath and I could tell he was struggling with that last word. Even though I knew what that last word was I didn’t want it to be confirmed by him saying it out loud, but I knew it was my turn to talk.

“She has… What?”

“Tumors.” He broke out crying again. “She’s got three, two in her skull and one by her kidney.”

I didn’t want to know anymore. I didn’t want him to tell me how big they were or if they were cancerous or not. I didn’t want to think about the fact that she might die. I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up again and have this all to have been a nightmare, but I knew it wasn’t.

The nest day was horrifying. I had to see her, yet I didn’t want to see her sick. I wanted to see her bright eyed and rosy cheeked like she had been when we played outside and had tea parties. Still, I knew I had to go to the hospital. I climbed in the car and neither me nor my dad talked the whole way there. I didn’t want to ask any questions and I knew he didn’t want to them so we just sat there, silent, watching the world pass us by on the highway that would become very familiar over the next year. We didn’t talk as he pressed the faded 3 button and it glowed to life. We didn’t talk as our footsteps echoed down the colorful hallway that did not match such a sad place. The walls were lined with smiling animals and curved mirrors. Probably to brighten up the childrens' ward, but all I could focus on was the sterile, stale smell of the hospital, anything to distract me from what lay ahead. Anything to distract me from the sick children lying dejectedly behind each door, some of them praying to live, some of them waiting to die. The door to her room was cracked open so we pushed it gently to reveal a small child sleeping with tubes and chords snaking over her tiny figure. She lay in my mother’s arms and my mother looked like she was about to fall asleep as well.

If I had any more tears to cry I would have cried, but I didn’t. I kissed both their foreheads and sat down in the chair beside them. It made a sickening crackling sound as I sat but we all ignored it. Now we had to wait for the doctor. The small talk we made seemed forced, mostly consisting of stupid questions every knew the answers to like ‘How are you’ and ‘So, how is the hospital food’. No one wanted to talk about the little girl snoring soundly next to us, as if she was unaware there was even a problem. None of us wanted to talk about what was taking over her body as we sat there, unable to stop it, having nothing to rely on but modern medicine and the dedicated nurses who worked here. So when the doctor came in we all stayed silent. He went on about what was wrong with her, how pesticides had more than likely caused her illness, how she was going to get a pick line in her chest, connected to her heart to make the distribution of medicine easier. He told us she had Nueroblastoma and we still kept quiet. We weren’t surprised. We knew she had some form of cancer. It was just a matter of getting it confirmed and specified. I could feel my whole life shifting beneath me and I knew it would now center around her. Everything I did would be with her in mind. She was my sister all that kept running through my mind was how I could help her through this. I wanted to protect her. She opened her eyes then, such a labored movement for her. Her eyes were glazed over and she stared at me, all I wanted then was to see her grin her perky little grin and tell me she was alright. I smiled down at her; I have never felt more hopeful than in that moment. I know it doesn’t make sense but that was the moment I knew she could beat this, she would beat this.





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bobeh said...
Jan. 27, 2009 at 12:46 am
Hope everything is going great in your life and your sisters!!!
 
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