Thursday, 7 April 2016
How a Book Got Me Through My Sister's Operation
In those four days, I saw my sister remain steely against throbbing pains, my dad's hand shake as he signed the thin paper of the operation form, my mum's smile remain the only tangible thing to grasp hold of. My little four person family was transplanted into a room that sighed when it let my sister leave for theatre, and sighed once more when she came back. Minus her appendix. For a second, that inescapable feeling that I was submerged under water, unable to hear or breathe a thing even as the days flitted past my eyes, remained fiercely. Then the moment burst. It felt like coming up for air when your lungs sear with the longing to breathe.
Appendicitis and four days are, when I reminisce, probably one of the good outcomes given the situation. Yet it doesn't detract from the furiously vivid memories I have of the bitter tears that too often stained my eyes, or of the bland taste of hospital food that my sister was too ill to eat but I was too hungry not to. Or more importantly, of the warm metal of my e-reader gripped rigidly in my hands, drifting in and out of focus along with the waves of tears that threatened to break through all my lip biting and calm breathing. In my sudden new home in the children's ward on the third floor of the city hospital, I had not forgotten that words are often the only sense of normalcy when everything else is a 96 hour inferno.
So there I would sit in the red leather chair with my e-reader permanently stuck on page 104 of Holly Smale's All That Glitters, carefully fixing my eyes on each inky grey word. Every time I felt my eyes strain or my voice crack, I would bury myself in the words before me and read and read and read. The familiar syllables and vowels were the constant I needed, because like it or not, those four days changed me; they changed everyone.
I ploughed through All That Glitters, and then through my chemistry homework and the Marks & Spencer's last minute shopping that happens when M&S is the closest thing nearby. Yet the memory of that book is glued to my mind; a wisp of a reminder that no matter what anyone else says, the words of a book are the language you never thought you'd need but you'll always have.
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