There was a lot to be scared about, too. All those doctors, and all that medicine, and my Mom and Dad looking like they were going to cry. And there were the strange feelings in my body, and the strange things that I saw in that hospital. It was so much for an eight-year-old to get used to. But I did, finally, and I even found some things about the hospital that were funny! Not funny enough to make me want to stay there, though. I was very happy on the day that I left that place. On the day that I got dressed up in my 101 Dalmations overalls, and said goodby to all the hospital people. So much had happened to me since I left my cabin at the camp. It was hard to believeÖ
But thatís not what I was thinking about right now. How could I, when I was absolutely sure that every kid in the room was staring at me? I'm just like everybody else, I kept thinking. Just like everybody else! It IS true that I like pizza, and jump rope, and going to the movies, like Amy, and Margaret, and Fred, and even Joshua (though he was terrible at jump rope). And it IS true that I love animals, especially wolves, and so does Stephanie. But it is also true that I, Sally Kathleen Preston, got sick and they didnít--at least not like I did. They didn't get the kind of sickness that just doesnít go away. The kind that I'll have to live with, from now on. From now on! At least that's what they told me. And it made me so sad.
Hereís how it all began. I was eight years old on August 30th, and it was the last day of sleepover camp. Everybody came to my cabin in the morning to sing happy birthday and to bring me a big stack of pancakes. The pancakes were spectacular! "Sally" was written on the very top in purple frosting, exactly the color of my old Barney doll. And there were nine candles, too, one for each of my eight years, and an extra one for good luck. I was so excited and so surprised that I really didnít notice the weird feeling in my body! And after the cakes and the song, when I did pay attention to it, I tried my best not to think about how strange I felt.
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 14, 2004