cancer · my sister

Treated like Krystal

After we found out that my sister’s cancer had once again aggressively come back, her oncologist had her stay in the hospital a couple of days. It was to fast track tests. Her oncologist was amazing in that way. She would put a rush on all the tests my sister needed to get done. We would get the results the same or next day.

I went home. Tired. Drained. A walking shell of a human. Trying to process the last couple of days. All the information and results that the doctors had given us.

Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls” began playing. (My sister’s ringtone)

Sigh. I didn’t want to answer. I wanted to be selfish. I needed some time to get my mind straight. I had just got in the shower. The hot water was beginning to wash away all the day’s stress. Sigh. Ten more minutes.

The phone stopped ringing. Then my text alert kept going off. Then the phone rang again.

Ugh….Why can’t I just take a shower??

The house phone rang. Her hospital came up on the caller id. Dread pulled at me. I started feeling guilty.

“Hello, this is (nurse). We are having a little bit of a problem with your sister. Do you think you can come up here? ”

Once again off I go, flying to the hospital. What could possibly be wrong??? I just left a couple of hours ago. They already told us her cancer had spread. She has months left to live. What the hell?? I am so tired of waking up and each day being worse than the one before.

I get there. The nurse was apologetic. She explained that in my sister’s file it said to call me if there were any problems. She knew I had just left. She just felt that I was best equipped to help my sister.

I walked in the room. There she sat on the side of her bed. Sad. Defeated. Angry. Red puffy eyes. Pink, just been crying face. They had given her a yellow bracelet and socks, indicating that she was a fall rise. She didn’t have to say anything to me. I knew what was wrong. They were taking away her independence. I knew her pride was hurt. I was willing to bet anything that she just wanted to take shower.

I turned to the nurse, told her we needed supplies for my sister to take a shower and that I would help her shower.  My sister ran up, hugged me and said: “See, I didn’t have to say anything!!! You already know!!!!”

The whole time I was in the shower room with her, we were cracking jokes. Well, mostly me making fun of her. Keeping the mood light.  And that’s what she needed. The nurse was not wrong to call me. I wasn’t mad that she had. In my opinion, she was an awesome nurse. She knew what my sister needed, me. She didn’t hesitate to call me any other time after that when she was my sister’s nurse.

That day my sister needed my love and support.  What my sister needed the most that day was someone to treat her like “healthy Krystal”, not “cancer Krystal”.  My sister needed me to be there with her to wash her back, her hair. Not because the nurse couldn’t do it, but because none of them were her sister. The nurses could yell at her or make fun of her. But I could, I didn’t treat her like she was sick. I just treated her like she was Krystal. During what was beginning to be the end of her fight, that’s what she needed and wanted the most. To just be treated like Krystal.





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