This past July I celebrated with family and friends as my older sister, Erica, got married. As her maid of honor, I proudly watched as my father walked her down the aisle. Tears of happiness for my sister filled my eyes, although I couldn’t help but to think about what she had gone through to get to that point in her life.
It began July 4th 1998 and my sister just wasn’t herself. She spent most of the 4th of July inside sleeping while the rest of my family celebrated. The following day she felt worse, so my dad took her to the hospital. I stayed with my aunt and about an hour later got a call from my mom saying Erica was going to have to take the “Flight for Life” helicopter to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.
My grandma brought me to the hospital and a nurse took me to my sister’s room. I walked in to see her hooked up to multiple cords and machines; her eyes red from crying and her skin pale from the sickness that was plaguing her body. My eyes filled with tears and I ran out of the room- I couldn’t stand to see her that way. After a few minutes I returned with a stuffed animal from the gift shop, put on a brave face, and said my good-bye.
For the next month I made the three hour trip with family at least twice a week, each time with a gift for my sister. The doctors had no idea what was attacking her body, and they told my parents the odds of her dying were more likely than those of her living. After a week and a half she was transferred into the ICU, and I watched as her condition worsened. It was as though she was slipping away from me, right before my eyes. By this point she was at least fifteen pounds lighter than when she entered the hospital, her spirits low, and her feet black, blue, and purple up to her ankles due to no circulation.
My family knew we needed to stay strong in order to help Erica pull through. Aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, and family friends showed support through cards, balloons, flowers, and any other gifts imaginable. Finally, after three weeks in the hospital, my sister’s spirits were back up, and she was positively reacting to treatment. After dozens of blood transfusions, hundreds of needle pricks, I.V. drips, and blood tests, we started to see the “old” Erica again.
That summer changed my relationship with my sister forever, and I realized the importance of having her in my life. That is why I believe in family, and the importance of their love and support. I feel that if it wasn’t for my family, my sister wouldn’t have had the strength to make it through that time. My sister is now healthy, strong, and one of my very best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
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