At the hospital, everything seemed to be going wrong. The family entered room 1204, shocked to see what they hoped they would never see. Jodi was hooked up to several tubes, and an oxygen mask was worn on her face, helping her to breathe. Apparently, she'd had a seizure, and it didn't look too good. It could have killed her almost instantly, but she was lucky.
Seeing a tiny, fragile, five-year-old girl being put in such a situation was heart-breaking. All the family could do was hope for the best, and wish for a miracle. It seemed the only way out of this situation. Jodi had only been at the Children's Hospital for a day, while Cody had been for three weeks. Both their lives were now being put in danger, and they weren't sure if they'd even be there for the end.
So far, throughout this entire experience, Ryan had been woken up in the middle of the night a few times, something he was never pleased with doing. But if it was a family emergency, he was willing to do whatever it took to help them through it. Cody still wasn't doing so well, and fought as hard as he could to keep himself alive. Jodi, however, was in a more severe condition, and could die at any given time. This was all making Ryan nervous, since he didn't want anything to happen to them.
"Tomorrow's gonna be a tiring day," Ryan muttered, rubbing his eyes.
"I know," Theresa said, understanding.
"I have baseball at, I think, six o'clock," Ryan explained. "Whenever I'm really tired, I lose concentration. It'll be really hard to hit the ball."
Theresa knew how Ryan acted whenever he was extremely tired. He tended to lose concentration a lot, especially in sports and at school. She knew it would be difficult for him to play baseball in the evening, which was when his game was. He could only set his mind on sleep, which was something he wanted so badly. He was the star of the baseball team, and everyone was relying on him. He would gain back his concentration when he slept that night, and then he'd be fine the next morning.
Ryan knew that there was no way that he'd be getting back to sleep, even if they headed back to their grandparents' house. He'd just lay there, thinking. He wouldn't be able to concentrate on sleeping at all. Haunting thoughts would reach his mind, like the possibilities of Cody and Jodi not being capable of defeating their horrible diseases. He couldn't imagine losing them. His thoughts would bring him back a few years, when he lost Eric to the same disease Cody had been diagnosed with. He still hadn't really gotten over that.
Besides, he didn't want to lose any more family members. After his father's death three years ago, he was hoping that nobody in his family would have to join him for a while. Sure, it would be nice to see their father again, but not if it was associated with death. Ryan kept his hopes up that Jodi would make it through the night.
Jodi began to shiver violently. She was not having another seizure, but she was beginning to become rather cold. Her eyes slowly began to close, as she wanted to fall back to sleep. It was a horrible wake-up call, everyone had to admit. She struggled that night to stay alive, knowing she only had two choices; fight or die. She definitely wasn't looking forward to dying.
Cody, too, was making the same decision. He coud hardly sit up, and he felt like the end was near. He struggled to breathe most times, but the doctors thought this was all normal for someone with leukemia. He wanted to strangle them sometimes. When he felt really sick, and vomited a lot, they would again tell him that this was all normal. Things just weren't the same anymore.
"Come on, dude, you're making us lose!" Those few words spilled out of some of his teammates mouths, thinking he'd smarten up. Instead, it was making him worried. As the ball was thrown at him, he swung the bat, missing once again. They all knew that he was the best player on the team, but they had no clue as to why he'd lost all his concentration.
"Strike three!" the umpire called out. "You're out!"
Disappointing his team once again, Ryan headed back to the dugout. His coach placed a hand on his shoulder, stopping him.
"Look," the coach began. "You'd better start getting your head in the game. The team is counting on you. Now next time, make sure you go for it."
Ryan nodded. "But I hardly got any sleep last night," he said hopelessly. "My sister had a seizure at three in the morning, and they've been working on her since. She has a brain tumor. I lose concentration whenever..."
"Oh, I see," the coach interrupted. "But you should at least try your best. We're in the last inning, and so far, you've only hit one ball for each inning. The farthest you've made it so far was to second base. You're known to hit lots of home-runs. Out on the field, you've missed every ball that has come at you. Just try your best this time, okay?"
Ryan nodded once again. "Okay," he agreed. He sat down on the bench, sipping at his water bottle. His teammates surrounded themselves around him, each wearing annoyed expressions on their faces.
"What the hell happened out there?" one guy asked. Ryan hated him. His name was Tanner, and he was almost fourteen, the oldest on the team. He thought of himself as the best player on the team, when really, everyone loved to see Ryan beat him every game at the amount of home-runs hit. In reality, Ryan was a much better player than he was.
"Shut up," Ryan muttered under his breath. "I hardly got any sleep last night."
"And how does that affect your ability to play baseball?" Tanner asked, just trying to start a fight.
Ryan knew very well from the past week he had played that Tanner was known to say rude words to at least everyone. Especially if they were more than a year younger than him. Ryan felt so small, being the youngest on the team. Of course, Tanner would make rude comments to him, since Ryan was the only ten-year-old there. To make it even worse, he'd only turned ten in the middle of May, so he hadn't been that age for very long. He didn't like dealing with Tanner whatsoever. He decided the best thing to do was ignore him once and for all.
"Tanner, seriously, just leave him alone," another boy on the team snapped. Ryan recognized him a little, but he couldn't place exactly where he knew him from. The entire time he'd played on the team, he'd been trying to think about where he first saw him. About the only thing he knew about him was that his name was Blaine. He decided to ask him.
Blaine sat next to Ryan just as Tanner went up to bat. "I don't know how, but you look really familiar," Ryan said, setting his water bottle down on the metal bench.
"I've seen you too," Blaine told him. Wisps of curly blonde hair poked out from underneath his baseball cap. Ryan had recognized him from somewhere, he just didn't know where.
"I've seen you in the Children's Hospital before," Blaine continued.
"Oh yeah," Ryan said thoughtfully, his mind drifting back to being in room 1204. "Your room is across from ours, in room 1203."
"Yeah, my sister Michelle has leukemia. She's only six."
"Really?" Ryan asked, surprised. "My brother Cody is eight and has the same thing. And then my sister Jodi has a brain tumor, and she's only five. They first told her she had it yesterday. I was up all night because she had a seizure at three in the morning. That's why I'm so tired."
"I'd be tired too," Blaine replied. "We've been woken up in the middle of the night for Michelle. She would wake up extremely sick and then we'd have to take care of her until she went back to sleep. It's really frustrating, since my sister Sierra gets grouchy when she's awake for too long. She's only three."
"Strike three!" the umpire bellowed in front of them. "You're out!"
Tanner stomped back into the dugout, angry. "Who's the loser now?" Ryan commented.
"Shut up," Tanner snapped. "This has nothing to do with you."
"Funny how you make fun of me for missing, but when you miss, even just once, and someone laughs, you threaten to do something to them."
"Whatever," Tanner muttered, not sure how to respond to that.
There was two more batters who went up after Tanner, and both of them, who weren't really the best players on the team, scored their first home-run, earning the team two extra points. They were now beginning to pull ahead of the other team. Pretty soon, they'd probably be the winners.
At last, it was time for the team to head out to the field. The coach decided to put Ryan on first base, which was a real mistake for someone that was having concentration difficulties. His job was to catch the ball so that the person who hit it wouldn't be able to make it past first base. If they did, they'd have a chance at going to home base to earn their team another point, if they made it past second and third. If Ryan didn't catch most of them, then soon the bases would be filled. He had to focus this time. After this, the game would be complete.
The first batter approached the home plate. He tapped the metal bat against the base, and then held it up next to his shoulder, ready to swing. Usually, Ryan was the pitcher, but the coach put him elsewhere, since he was the pitcher in the first inning, and threw it horribly. Their next game was in two more days, and he'd probably be more focused then. As the pitcher tossed the ball into the air, the batter swung, smacking the ball in Ryan's direction.
He didn't even try. He hardly noticed it coming at all. All of a sudden, it just magically landed in his glove. He didn't even know how. He wasn't even looking. It just landed there.
"You're out!" the umpire yelled, pointing toward their team's dugout. The batter, disappointed, entered the dugout and sat down on the metal bench inside. The next batter strolled out, and when the pitcher threw the ball, he missed all three times. Now there were two people who were out. One more and the game would be over.
The third batter prepared for action. She steadied the bat, making sure it was just in the right position. As the pitcher tossed the ball in her direction, she swung hard, and sent the ball sailing through the air. Once again, it headed in Ryan's direction.
He attempted to catch it, but it bounced off the tip of his glove. It fell in the grass, just behind him. Since Ryan was so short, he couldn't reach up very high. The batter ran pretty fast, and bolted toward the first base where Ryan stood. He quickly scooped the ball up in his glove, and just as the batter was about to tap her foot on the base, Ryan did it first. It was a close call. Very close.
"You're out!" The umpire waved his arms in the air, motioning for the batter to come back. Ryan's team had won by three points. He was surprised he had even caught the ball both those times. Finally. Now he'd get to go back to the hospital.
The teammates all praised Ryan, glad he had finally focused on the game. He felt happy for himself, glad he was no longer going to recieve rude comments from them. His coach patted him on the shoulder and said, "Good job, buddy."
Since the hospital was not too far away from the baseball field, Ryan would be forced to walk. His mother couldn't come to watch, since she had to take care of things at the hospital. He dragged his baseball gear down the road, beginning to feel hot. Though it was evening, the temperature hadn't dropped at all. It still felt the same as it had all day. How he wished he could be sitting in that air-conditioned hospital. That would feel nice.
As he continued on down the street, Aunt Mimi's van pulled up next to him. "Come in," she ordered. He hopped into the front seat, since she had brought no one else. "I couldn't just let you walk back all by yourself."
"But I walked all the way there," he reminded her.
"Yes, I know that," she responded. "But I figured you'd be tired from the game and want a ride. So I decided to come and pick you up. Anyway, how did it go?"
"How did what go?"
"Oh, the game," said Ryan. "We won fifteen to twelve."
"Well that's good." Aunt Mimi nodded her head. She paused for a moment, trying to think of a new conversation to start. "So it's going to be August in about a week or two," she stated.
"That went by fast," Ryan muttered.
"I know," Aunt Mimi agreed.
Ryan couldn't believe how fast summer was passing by. School would start in about a month and a week. It would just be him and Shirley going. Cody and Jodi were out of the question. To be completely honest, he actually wanted school to start soon, since there was really nothing much to do around there. He was afraid for the summer to end, though, because he was afraid that by the time back-to-school came around, only he and Shirley would be around. He didn't want Cody and Jodi to die. He was afraid he'd lose them by the end of the summer. Well, things had gotten much worse with Cody for the past three weeks of battling for his life, and Jodi had just started. He hoped this wouldn't all end in death.
"Why are we here?" Ryan asked, gazing around the crowded mall.
"Your mother wanted me to buy you a cell phone," Aunt Mimi answered.
"What?" Ryan asked in disbelief. "But... I'm only ten! I've never seen a ten-year-old with a cell phone!"
"Yes, I understand that part, but she wanted me to get it for you so she could communicate with you at school," Aunt Mimi explained briefly.
"Why would I need to do that?"
"Well, you're starting at a new school, and plus, if anything was to ever happen back at the hospital while you were at school, she could just text you."
"But she'd probably be the only person on my contact list," Ryan mumbled. "I doubt that any of my friends would have a cell phone. Anyway, what kind of phone am I getting?"
"Your mother was actually willing to pay a lot," said Aunt Mimi. "She gave me somewhere around five hundred dollars to buy you a phone with. I think she wants you to get a BlackBerry or something like that."
"Sweet!" Ryan said excitedly.
The two of them approached the desk. Ryan was feeling much better from the extra amount of sleep he had recieved in the past two nights. It had been two days since Jodi had her seizure. It was about noon, and he showed not one sign of being tired at all; in fact, he seemed to be a bit hyper. As Aunt Mimi began to speak with the man at the counter, Ryan took a quick peak at the phones they had on display. He really liked the look of the BlackBerrys. He would prefer one of those over an Android or an iPhone. Though a BlackBerry phone looked a bit more confusing to use, he knew he'd learn how to use it eventually. He knew that they were also quite expensive, so he was to be extra careful not to drop it at all.
A few minutes had whizzed by. Aunt Mimi joined Ryan in the search for a cell phone that suited him. He took quick looks at the samples, and finally selected a blue one. "How much does this one cost?" Ryan asked.
"It's two hundred-fifty bucks for that one," the clerk replied, grinning.
Ryan decided to keep this one, since it was probably the cheapest one there. He didn't want his mother to have to give out so much money on such a small object. Plus, she'd have to pay the monthly bills. With his new cell phone, he would get unlimited texting, but, if he were to call someone, it would cost a certain amount of money per minute. He was only given a certain amount of minutes per month. He realized that he never usually called anyone anyway, but if he did, it was on the home phone, not a cell phone.
As Aunt Mimi continued to speak with the clerk and pay for the phone, Ryan held his new cell phone in his hand, examining it, looking at its features. He had another baseball game tonight, since it had already been two days, and he really wanted to show everyone his new phone. He knew somehow that Tanner would show off his iPhone, and try to rub it in Ryan's face at how much better it looked. But Ryan's cell phone was brand new, so he could rub that in his face.
Aunt Mimi chuckled the slightest bit as they began to walk away. Ryan fiddled around with his BlackBerry, pressing several different buttons. "What are you doing?" Aunt Mimi questioned.
"Trying to find the ringtones," Ryan replied, grinning. The cell phone had already been activated, so he could now play around on it and learn how to use it.
They hopped back in the van, ready to go back to the hospital. Ryan knew somehow that Derek would be quite jealous of his new phone, since he had been longing to get one of his very own. Aunt Mimi was strict with that part, since she'd only let her kids get a phone if they were thirteen or over. Theresa let Ryan have one for a good purpose, which was to communicate with him whenever something happened back at the hospital when he was at school. That way he'd find out from someone that was not the principal, recieving a call from Theresa.
Back at the hospital, Jodi was still hooked up to those many machines. It had been two days, and she was having a difficult time recovering. She had just had another seizure that morning, and she was beginning to rely on the oxygen mask to keep her alive. Cody and Jodi were both being fed through tubes, which also wasn't the greatest thing. But at least Cody could breathe on his own. Or so they thought...
Doctors and nurses rushed into the room quickly. The family could only sit and watch, anxious. They couldn't do anything. The doctors worked on Cody, as he had automatically stopped breathing. Cody was panicking, as he was afraid that he wouldn't catch his breath at all, and he wouldn't live. The doctors assured him that everything would be okay.
They worked and worked on him. His breath still wasn't coming. He lightly clutched onto his throat, hoping this would somehow help him gain back his breath. Jodi watched horrifically, scared half to death that it would happen to her if they took the oxygen mask off her face. They were going to do it tomorrow. She was afraid she would die, too.
As Cody lay in bed, hopelessly fighting for his life, his eyes focused on the ceiling. This worried Theresa, making her think that he saw something she hoped he didn't see. "Cody, do you see a light?" she asked. "A big, bright light?"
Cody nodded, nearly giving Theresa a heart attack. He was seeing the light to Heaven. He was going to die.