Theresa did not hesitate to carry Cody outside to the van and immediately buckle him up. She raced back inside the house to get Jodi and Shirley ready. She was going to send Ryan outside to keep Cody company while she spent the next few moments helping Jodi and Shirley get ready to go. She knew they were all dead tired, but it was for their own good.
Ryan nervously glanced out the front window, staring up at the starry sky. He was afraid to go to the hospital just as much as Cody, because he didn't want to know what was wrong with Cody. He was in such a horrible condition, Ryan was unsure whether he wanted to know what was wrong or not. He had never felt so nervous before.
Just then, Theresa whipped open the door. She was in a rush to get Ryan outside because she was afraid something would happen to Cody if she left him out there by himself for too long. "Ryan, hurry up!" she called from the bottom of the stairs.
"I'm coming!" he called back. He bolted down the steps and out the door. He was feeling a little shaky from being so worried and nervous. He was even scared to open the door to the van, in case something even more terrible had happened to his brother. Slowly and carefully, he pulled on the door handle and opened it. He was relieved to see his brother was alright.
"Dude, you feeling okay?" Ryan asked, sitting next to Cody.
Cody managed a small nod. The tears kept streaming down his face.
"You don't look okay," Ryan muttered.
"I feel like I'm dying or something," Cody choked. "It hurts a lot."
"You should be lucky that I noticed that purple spot on your arm," Ryan reminded him. "Otherwise, we wouldn't know what to think."
"Yeah, I know."
A few minutes later, Theresa appeared in the doorway, holding Jodi and Shirley's hands. She rushed over to the van after making sure she had locked the door to the house. After seatbelts were buckled, off they went.
Theresa had made sure to grab a bag for him, because at home, he had thrown up a lot. She decided that, instead of staining the back seat, she would give him a bag just in case. He still wasn't feeling so well, and the hospital was about five or ten minutes away. There were two hospitals down in the city, but Theresa had already decided which one she would take him to.
There was one located closer to the entrance of the city, and she would go to that one. The other one, located on the other side of the city, had nurses who were not as caring. Theresa knew this from experience. When Ryan was only five, he had developed meningitis, and he was brought to that hospital. The nurses would get mad at him when he felt too weak to walk, and tell him that if he didn't develop enough strength to walk, they would drag him. They were careless.
When the needles terrified him, the nurses would say, "You're five years old, you can deal with a little pain. If you think that's bad, we can get a bigger one for you if you'd like." That was what made him so afraid of needles. Even at the age of ten, he was still afraid of them, no matter how small they were. And there were times when they actually did give him fairly large needles, because he was afraid. The same nurses still worked there, and after what Ryan had been through while there, Theresa wanted to steer in the other direction, away from that horrible place, and get Cody the best care possible.
As they continued down the highway toward the city, Jodi and Shirley were quick to fall back asleep. Ryan wished he could sleep, because he was feeling exhausted after such a wake up call. He hated being disturbed during his sleep, but if it was for an emergency like this, he would most definitely be willing to get out of bed. But the problem with that was, he would feel tired all day, and he despised that feeling. The good thing about it, though, was he would get a longer sleep the next night.
After speeding down the highway through hardly any traffic, since it was only two-thirty in the morning, they finally arrived in the surprisingly quiet city. Theresa veered the van off to the left, down one of the main roads toward the hospital. Cody felt terrible, and for two different reasons. He felt like that because of his sickness, and because he drove everyone out of bed so early in the morning. He felt bad, and to him, it seemed as if he were an attention seeker. He wasn't, but he felt like it because of how serious it had been. And, to make matters worse, he hated hospitals, and patients there would most likely stare at his arm. He didn't want to gain anymore attention that night.
Finally, they arrived. Theresa parked the van in a parking space close to the entrance doors, so she could get inside faster. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot, which was a bit of a surprise. Usually, there weren't too many cars out and about at that time in the morning, but there were still staff and patients who needed to stay overnight. Or maybe there were overnight emergencies somewhat like what Cody was experiencing. But they definitely hoped that, no matter how many people were there, that they would take him in immediately. He'd probably be taken to the emergency unit, because of how serious his condition looked.
At lightning speed, Theresa climbed out of the van and whipped open the back doors. She quickly unbuckled Jodi and Shirley from their seatbelts after waking them up from their peaceful slumber, and, while she was doing that, helped Cody outside. She would have to carry him inside. As she lifted him off the ground, she turned to Ryan and said, "Watch your sisters."
He nodded in agreement. Theresa took off down the parking lot toward the entrance doors, with Cody in her arms. Ryan grabbed hold of Jodi and Shirley's hands and ran after Theresa. Jodi and Shirley were extremely slow, and, since Ryan could run the fastest, he nearly dragged his sisters across the pavement. They were shrieking with laughter at the speed they were going. They easily were able to catch up to their mother as she continued down the parking lot toward the doors.
Inside, there were a few doctors who were having a small chat at the entrance doors. When the Wabishkahak family entered the hospital, the doctors saw Cody and gasped.
"Oh Lord," said one, taking a closer look at Cody's arm. "What happened, lad?"
"We don't know," Theresa said, examining Cody's arm. "It's not an injury. He's terribly sick."
"Well, we could probably get him in right away," the doctor thought out loud. "I'm on my break, but I could probably get a good look at that arm. It looks quite serious."
Cody was still upset. And tired. After all he had been through that night, all he wanted was for the pain to stop and to fall into a deep sleep, like he had been expeting to get since bedtime. As Theresa carried him off down the hall to one of the rooms, he thought about why and how this even happened. His arm wasn't purple because of an injury, he was just sick. But why would his arm be purple? It had nothing to do with being sick.
Cody was absolutely terrified. First, he was in a hospital, which was something he feared the most. He was afraid he had a life-threatning disease, and would die. He was shivering as he was placed on the examination table. He didn't know what to expect, and was afraid of what they would do to him just to find out what was wrong. And just like Ryan, he was horrified even by the sight of a needle.
The rest of the family had been asked to sit out in the hall while they ran tests on Cody to find the problem. They chose a spot across from the door, on the other side of the hallway. "Will they actually be able to find the problem?" Ryan asked, yawning.
"They're doctors," Theresa replied. "Trust me, they'll know what to do about it."
"He doesn't look okay," Jodi squeaked.
"They can make him better, sweetie," said Theresa, patting her daughter on the head.
Ryan felt bad for Cody at the moment. All that pain he must be going through. And then there was the fact that Cody got super nervous when he was in the hospital, and especially if it involved using needles and doing blood tests. This time, Cody had no clue as to what they were going to do to him, which made him feel worse. He was probably having a nervous breakdown in that room, especially being alone without his family.
A half hour had passed by the time the doctors could finally figure out what was wrong. "He has mono," the doctor whispered to Theresa.
Theresa had heard of mono, but she'd never seen it so severe in the twenty eight years she had lived.
"It's just a little sickness that should go away within a week," the doctor explained. "He may have to be admitted to the hospital if it gets worse. But he'll be fine."
Theresa nodded, understanding. "So when do we get to take him home?"
"Probably by morning," the doctor estimated, peeking into the room where Cody was.
Cody stretched out on the uncomfortable hospital bed. He complained how he could feel the springs digging fiercely into his spine. Sure, that hospital provided excellent health care, but they were not too good at cleaning the place and providing comfortable beds for the patients.
Mould had grown all over the window sills, and they judged that the floors had not been swept in a while. There was dust just about everywhere, and Ryan began to wonder how the patients had all recovered so quickly with so much germs surrounding them. The environment was not the greatest there, and at least the other hospital was nice and sparkly clean. Ryan slid his finger across the wall, and when he took it off, it was full of dust. How is this hospital still running? he thought to himself, wiping the dust off his finger.
It didn't seem like that long before the sun began to come up, the sky turning a beautiful orange and pink color. It was about six o'clock, and the doctors decided they could release Cody from the hospital. The family woke Cody, and within ten minutes, they were ready to leave. They made sure to pick up his medicine before they left.
As Theresa started the van, she said, "When we get home, we can all have a nice long nap, to catch up on the sleep we all deserve."
"Sorry," Cody apologized. "I didn't want to get sick."
"It's not like it's your fault," Theresa said, starting up the van. "You didn't ask for this to happen." She pulled out of the parking space and began to exit the parking lot.
"That sun is so bright," said Theresa, shielding one of her eyes with her hand. "Can't wait to get home and have a nice rest."
"Same," Ryan agreed. "I haven't slept since two in the morning. Boys deserve their 'beauty sleep' too." Theresa laughed at that.
They finally entered their small, quiet, sparsely-populated town. As they pulled up to their house, they noticed Quincy and Tara sprinting across the yard and through the bushes dividing the two yards. "Aww, man," Ryan sighed.
Quincy and Tara were their neighbours. They both thought that they were extremely close to the Wabishkahak family. Quincy, who was eleven, thought that Ryan was his best friend in the whole wide world. Tara, who was five, thought that Jodi was her best friend in the whole wide world. Ryan and Jodi did find Quincy and Tara to be a little odd, but they obviously kept it secret from them. They didn't want them to know about the way they thought of them.
The whole family acted awkwardly. They did have a nice personality and all, but they could have at least showered once in a while. Their naturally tanned skin was stained with dirt, and their black hair was always greasy. Whenever they approached Ryan or any other one of his family members, they always had to take a step back because they had a gross, pungent odor on them. Ryan hated the way Quincy would call him "bestie" and "BFF" because this made it sound like a "girl thing". In addition, it was quite annoying when Quincy would invite him to go everywhere with him as well. Whether it was to the park, or to the arena in the next town, or to go swimming wherever, Ryan usually never went, anyway, because the whole town knew that it was embarrassing to be seen with them anywhere.
Tara, though she was only five, was madly in love with Cody. Cody couldn't stand her, though. She fantasized about marrying him someday, which made Cody want to throw up. She would also present him with things she had found outside, such as flowers and rocks. She gave him the rocks for a rock collection, something he didn't even have. The flowers were usually either dead, or had a bee on it. He had gotten stung a few times, which he was not too happy about. He didn't have a high pain tolerance, and he hated getting stung because it was painful.
"Cody!" Tara shrieked, noticing that Cody had stepped out of the vehicle. She raced toward him, her arms outstretched.
Cody started to slowly walk away, but that didn't stop her from coming near him. She instantly wrapped her skinny arms around him, and squeezed him tight. He tried to back away, but it seemed impossible if he was within her grasp.
"I'm sick," said Cody. "Go away."
"Well, I wish you were better." And without warning, she tried to kiss him.
She had her kissy face on. She began to reach her lips toward his. And he, in disgust, brought his head back to avoid what she was trying to do. He was taller than Tara, not by much, but it wouldn't be easy for her. She began to get closer, so Cody, without thinking, began to wave his arms around frantically, hoping that would cut her off and make her go away. It didn't work until, by accident, he slapped her in the face.
She instinctively let go of him, and ran screaming into her own yard. Though Cody had done it by accident, he smiled, glad it had driven her away. Quincy began to chase after her, because he was unaware of what had just happened. After they had both left, Ryan, who had witnessed the hilarious scene, high-fived his little brother, and they shared a good laugh together.
The situation was so funny, it was hard to sleep when the family went for a nap.
Ryan felt a hand strongly shaking his shoulder. It was the middle of the night, and he was tired from doing so many fun activities earlier on in the day. He sat up in bed, frustrated that he had been once again disturbed in his sleep for the second night in a row. Theresa was standing in front of him. "Get up," she said, her voice trembling.
"What's going on now?" Ryan asked, rubbing his tired eyes.
"We have to go back to the hospital," she said, sounding alarmed. "He's vomiting up blood. This is serious, Ryan."
Hearing that, he leaped out of bed. "Get dressed," she urged. "We have to go soon."
He quickly grabbed whatever he could find in the drawers. He didn't care if he grabbed a t-shirt or a sweater. As long as he was ready, he was fine.
He exited the room, wearing a pair of black jeans and a blue pull-over sweater. It wouldn't be so warm outside in the middle of the night, anyway. Jodi and Shirley were already dressed, Jodi wearing a pair of purple jeans and a blue tank top, while Shirley was wearing her favourite white knitted sweater that she had worn on her birthday, along with a regular pair of jeans. Her sweater had many large-sized holes in it from being knitted, which was great for a hot day. It didn't really matter what they were wearing, just as long as they were dressed and ready to go.
Theresa quickly dialed 911 on the phone, and carried Cody out to the living room couch. He just lay there, moaning. She quickly grabbed a bowl in case he vomited again. It was quite serious, since he had been vomiting up blood. He was in even worse shape than the night before. Both arms were completely purple, and he had little purple splotches on his cheeks. He was going through a lot, especially for an eight-year-old.
"Dude, are you alright?" Ryan asked, staring blankly at the purple splotches displayed on Cody's face.
Cody shook his head weakly. He couldn't even speak, because he had lost his voice. He was breathing heavily, attempting to ease the pain a little. Jodi and Shirley were clueless as to what was going on. They didn't understand, and didn't really think anything about it, except for the fact that it was a pretty serious situation. All Cody wanted was to be pain-free.
Theresa entered the living room. "They'll be here soon," she announced. She leaned over Cody to check if he was okay. "Are you doing okay?" she asked.
He couldn't really respond to that. He just lay back and rested his head on the arm of the couch, trying to get comfortable. "You shouldn't get too comfortable," Theresa warned. "They'll be here soon, and you will have to stay on the stretcher."
At last, the sound of wailing sirens filled their ears. They could see the lights flashing through the curtains on their front window. Instead of having the paramedics knock at the door to be let in, Theresa bolted down the steps and flung open the door for them. They entered the house and quickly located Cody.
They talked to Theresa for a few minutes before they brought Cody outside to the stretcher. As they rolled the stretcher down the driveway toward the ambulance, one of the paramedics turned toward Theresa and said, "There is only allowed one extra person inside the ambulance."
Theresa, starting to panic, said, "But I have no other way of getting my kids to the hospital! They can't stay here by themselves, the oldest is only ten! And it's the middle of the night!"
Theresa allowed the paramedic a few extra minutes to speak to the other paramedic about whether they should let the entire family in or not. They finally agreed to it, but warned her that there wasn't a lot of room in the ambulance. Theresa simply did not care about the amount of space that there was, just as long as they were all able to get to the hospital together.
The paramedic was right; there wasn't a lot of space in the back. They found themselves squished together during the ride to the hospital. Shirley sat on Theresa's lap the whole way there, while Ryan and Jodi were left to find some other kind of space. Cody had plenty of space on the stretcher, which made him like the idea of riding in an ambulance. But he had never been in one before, and he didn't really know what to expect when he was brought out of the ambulance. This time, he was even more nervous than the previous night, because he was in worse shape, and he didn't know what they'd do to him when they arrived.
It didn't take long before they felt the ambulance come to a complete stop. They had arrived. Ryan breathed a sigh of relief, glad he wouldn't have to be squished any longer. The paramedics rushed to the back, opened the doors, and began to lift the stretcher out. Cody began to panic a little, and he was trembling. Theresa made sure to tell him not to worry, that everything would be okay. He kind of ignored her, though, because he was afraid that she was lying to him.
They disappeared through the doors of the Emergency Room, and immediately brought Cody into one of their rooms. Theresa had just realized that this was the other hospital, the one that she dreaded coming to, the one with all the rude doctors and nurses. Theresa just shook it off, not really caring who was working with her son. Just as long as they helped solve the problem. She was kind of hoping that they had hired new workers, ones that were less disrespectful. Then, everything would seem much better, and she could breathe a sigh of relief when she knew that they were not constantly throwing nasty comments at him.
Theresa motioned for her kids to come and sit next to her across the hall. They hesitated for a moment, but let in after a few seconds. They were just as anxious as Theresa. They nervously sat next to her, wishing that they were still in bed, that they were still sleeping, that Cody was alright. They were hoping for a miracle, and wanted Theresa to be able to say that everything would be okay, without lying. Hopefully, his condition wasn't too major, and it was all just a false alarm or something.
Jodi and Shirley didn't know what to think. They were too little to really understand, and they were confused as to why they were there. They knew Cody was sick, but they didn't know exactly what was wrong or why he was really acting the way he was. They were nervous, but not as nervous as Theresa and Ryan were. They knew exactly what was going on, and they were easily able to detect that this was definitely not mono.
It took a while, but a nurse finally left the room. She grasped a clipboard in her hand. Theresa had never seen her before, and she seemed to have a friendly character. She was just a young nurse, and Theresa judged that she was probably in her early twenties. The nurse turned to Theresa and said, "Well, we do have some news to share with you."
"What's the news?" Theresa asked desperately.
"Well, I didn't run any tests on your son, but the other doctors did, and gave me the results of the tests. I just graduated from college, so I am kind of just learning the basics of this job. The doctors sent me out here to break the news to you."
"Well, what's the news?" Theresa repeated. "Is it good or bad?"
The nurse hesitated to speak for a moment. "Well," she said. "I don't know how to put this into words, but... oh, this is so hard..."
Theresa was desperate. "What?" she said. "Please, I need to know!"
The nurse avoided eye contact with Theresa, drew in a deep breath and said, "Your son... has leukemia. He needs to be transported to the Children's Hospital. Immediately."