I’m going to use this forum to work through something that’s been on my mind lately. Growing up, my siblings and I were all fairly healthy. Despite a “Worrier’s stomach,” I was never seriously ill and was never sick more than a day at a time. I never had the Chickenpox, Measles, or Mono – even though my cousins seemed to suffer from chronic Mono and Tonsillitis. The only time I stepped inside a hospital was to see my mom and new baby sister. No broken bones or sprained anythings, though that was more luck than carefulness. My point is I was pretty healthy. And my siblings were very similar except my younger sister did have a case of the Chickenpox. At one point, I remember my brother commenting on the fact we were all so vigorous and wondered if we had some sort of strong immune system.
It started when my older sister was diagnosed with pre-cancer in the colon. Then, three-and-a-half years ago my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia. That opened a floodgate. First, my sister-in-law was taken to the hospital for appendicitis. She was operated on and the offending tube was removed. None of us thought much of it.
A year ago, my older sister slipped on her stairs and fell. She dislocated her shoulder and lay in a semi-conscious state for a while before my niece, MM, found her. MM called 911 and my sister was transported to the hospital. If anyone wants to start a tally that would be emergency room visit number 2 for a Lee family member.
This summer the ER visits have picked up speed. While my nephew was at EFY at the beginning of June, he was taken to the ER in Provo due to dehydration. Later that month, my dad, who happens to be my nephew’s namesake, was also taken to the hospital because of dehydration.
The following month I was at girls’ camp. My concern about my family revolved around my parents. My mom has started another round of chemo in Salt Lake and I was still very worried about my dad. It came as a great shock when somebody came to me Thursday morning and told me my brother had been taken to the hospital. The words took a few moments to sink in. Junior was in the hospital? Not senior? My sister-in-law and youngest niece were also at camp and we quickly left and drove 2 hours to get to the hospital.
My brother woke up at three in the morning and passed out while walking down the hallway. His daughter, Bubba, found him lying on the floor and called 911. She is the hero of this story. The reason for his ER visit has yet to be determined which is another worry. That brings the tally up to five ER visits. Three this summer alone with two visits in June and one in July. Up until this summer, I had never seen the inside of the newly remodeled ER section of the hospital.
While in Fiji, my oldest niece, MM, slept-walked out of the top bunk she was sleeping in. Her roommates found her curled in a ball on the cement floor. She wasn’t taken to an ER because there wasn’t one in the tiny village they were staying in. But she probably should have been.
The family joked about all the visits. The other day I took my parents to Evanston to help them on their way to Utah for mom’s check-up. My brother followed us so that he could bring me home and my nephew came along for the ride. I offered to drive home from Evanston and said looking around at everyone else, “Out of this whole group, I’m the only one that hasn’t been in the hospital this summer.” He still drove.
This weekend I went to Utah to see the group Sugarland. It’s a trip that’s been planned since March and everyone was excited. Both my sisters were going and two of my nieces. When I got to Utah Friday evening, I discovered my younger sister, NJ, was sick. But the plans were made so long ago she refused to let sickness stop her. She was miserable the whole time. After the concert, she said she couldn’t breathe. We took her to the emergency room at midnight with a fever of 109. She has pneumonia.
So, my question is who is next? I’ve never seen the Final Destination movies but I know enough of the premise to know death comes looking for the next victim. Is the ER looking for the next member of my family? Because if so, that would probably be me. Not too thrilled about that. Or is it just a coincidence that the majority of my family has been seen in the ER within the past few years? And what is up with this summer? Why are we starting a once a month emergency and how do I break it? Maybe I should watch Final Destination to see if there are any tips on breaking the cycle. I really want to be the trendsetter that bucks this fad.