Thursday, November 7, 2013
That tiny little hosipital room.... the sisters perspective. By Jamie Lightner
“Inoperable. Inoperable, inoperable, inoperable.” I can still here those words echo as if they were hollered over a vast canyon just a moment ago, on the contrary they were uttered in a small patient room of Sparrow hospital a few months ago. Just two days before these daunting words were uttered, my sister received a phone call within hours of her son, Zaynes, MRI. **** The day after we found out the news the four of us, Me, My husband Jake and Jess, went to the doctors office together, not just for support, but figured it would be a stressful time, and having four heads taking in the information would be a good idea. When the doctor walked in I set the Ipad on my lap ready to take the detailed notes. Even though I felt was nervous, I was ready to take on a brain surgery. My nephew had been suffering from severe headaches for the past five months and I was hoping for him to have some relief. However, I did not prepare myself for the word, INOPERABLE. I robotically typed the words I heard and as I watched inoperable and chemotherapy appear on the screen I felt my body temperature start to rise. By this time tears began to roll down my sisters face. I am the older sister and much of my life has been spent protecting her. In elementary school when she forgot her juice money I gave her mine. I kept an eye on her in new places. I was the tough one who didn’t cry during immunizations to show her it was ok. In fact there was one time when we were getting shots, I ended up with the dry heaves over the toilet. And not because I was scared for myself, it was because I felt bad for her. She was hysterically screaming. And I am NOT exaggerating. All appendages were flailing while THREE people tried to hold her down. Shrill sounds that could cut class were forged from her stomach and out her throat. One would have thought she was just rescued from a horrible accident and was getting her arm sown back on without anesthesia. I felt so bad for her I ended up nauseous with my head over the toilet. I was in 2nd grade and I couldn’t stand to see her suffer. And here I was watching her get this horrible news about her child and I felt so helpless. I could not figure out how to protect her from such a pain. And then, to my dismay, just as I was in second grade, I had to excuse myself from the room. I tried to act like I just had to pee. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I have to use the restroom.” I said meekly. The look on my sisters face told me she was not in the least bit falling for my act. “Where is the bathroom?” I asked the intern. His look looked at me like he couldn’t believe I was interrupting such an important meeting to pee. “If you go down this hall….” He began to give me directions and I couldn’t wait any longer and I just ran across the hall to the other exam room and hung my head over a trashcan. Well, that intern was hopping now. In moments he was by my side trying to figure out what he could do for me. Seconds later my husband appeared. “What are you doing! You can’t leave them. Get back in there!” I scolded. (Little did I know he had just gotten a scolding from my sister telling him to go check on me.) I’m fine! I just have to throw up, and after morning sickness with four kids I have gotten pretty good at it. Now go back in there and take notes. Someone needs to be getting information!” So he did as he was told, and the intern stayed with me as I sat next to the trash can. The cold floor felt good and eventually I collected myself brushed myself off and walked back into that room that now loomed with sadness. I held my chin up, set the laptop back on my lap and began to type the words spoken by the doctor. I listened to him talk about chemotherapy, and how long it would take, and other details of the tumor. Until once again I started feeling the sweat collect on my chest and forhead. And then the room started to twist and turn and I knew, that no matter how hard I fought, it was only a matter of time before it was once again in a full spin. I tried to nonchalantly sink in my chair trying to stabilize my head against the wall. Finally I perched my elbow up on the patient bed next to me, hoping my sister, who was currently sitting on it, wouldn’t notice me lying my head in my hand. I all but looked like I was trying to convert my little office chair into a lazy boy recliner. At this point in time the intern began his portion of the visit, prodding my sister with questions about Zayne. I looked over at Michael who was on the other side of this box of a room, and shot him a glance saying time was running out, my stomach was making it’s way back up my esophagus. I was going to need to throw up again if this meeting didn’t come to an end. As the intern kept talking he would make eye contact with each of us in the room, as one would do when talking to a group. He glanced at my sis, then to me and then to my sis and then mid sentence he looked back at me and said “Are you ok?” “Um nope, no I think I need to…… ”and up and running I went back to the trash can. Rather than interrupting them again I just sat there on the cold floor next to the trashcan trying to process everything I just heard. *** The truck ride home was silent. All four of us rode home with tears streaming down our face. People were texting and calling to see if we had any news and none of us could bring ourselves to answer the phone. I could feel my heart literally hurting. I remember the first time I ever felt my heart physically hurt this bad was the night my Dad told me that he didn’t know if he and my mom were gonna make it(stay married). I remember lying in bed that night thinking it was the strangest worst experience. My heart literally ached. It felt as though there was 50 pounds sitting on my chest and in moments my heart wouldn’t be able to take it any more and would just give out. I had done a lot of healing since that day 14 years ago. And now I felt it again, only this time it was worse. Ya see, when my parents were going through the divorce as horrible as it was it seemed to me like it was self-inflicted. It seemed like of they just changed their mind we could fix it and take the pain away. Today, I cannot look at a tumor and wish it to change it’s mind.