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Seize the Day

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“Watch your sister,” my mother had instructed as she left us on the bed. And where was my sister now? In the back of an ambulance on her way to the hospital. And where was I? Tucked in the corner behind the couch with tears in my eyes as I stared at the roll of lifesavers in my shaky hand. Only one thought ran through my mind: I had killed my sister.

We were sitting there on the bed playing with our stuffed animals like any toddlers would do when I reached in my pocket and pulled out a roll of lifesavers. Being slightly older, I was able to have hard candy with ease. But I wasn’t so sure about my little sister. So when she grabbed the purple one from my hand and popped it in her mouth, I wasn’t so sure. I hollered for my mother, who said it was fine as long as she didn’t choke. Within seconds of my mother returning to clean the bathroom, the incident happened.

Suddenly my sister got feverish and her lips turned a strange bluish-purple. Almost the color of the lifesaver she was sucking on. Then her eyes rolled back. I stared open mouthed and barely made out the call to my parents, who rushed around instantly. When a strange noise came from her throat, my cherry lifesaver turned sour. I rushed out of the room as she began to convulse.

Later, long after my grandparents lured me out of the corner, I was informed that it was not my fault. I would not be the youngest person to end up in jail. My sister had a seizure, a sudden abnormality in electrical brain activity. There are six types ranging with symptoms of unconsciousness to loss of muscle strength. She had a grand-mal seizure, which was basically having almost all the symptoms combined. 

My sister came home several days later only to be hospitalized for several EKGs and overnight studies of the brain. When they couldn’t find anything abnormal, she was sent home again. And so the pattern continued up until her ninth birthday, when finally they stopped.

To this day, she is one of my biggest inspirations and, unfortunately, one of my biggest nightmares. But above all, she’s alive. And, although we don’t play with stuffed animals anymore, we still sit on the bed enjoying lifesavers (she never really found a liking to the purple ones) and laughing about the good ol’ days.

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