Abby was sitting in the desk next to me, and when she saw what was happening, she raised her hand and asked Mrs. Preston if the two of us could be excused to go to the bathroom. Abby was such a nice friend, and she knew just what would make me feel better. She gave me a big hug when we got into the hall, and told me that Nina was a meanie. Then we held hands all the way to the girl’s bathroom. When we got there, Abby turned the cold water on and rolled out some paper towel. I made a cup out of my hands, filled it with water, and took a giant drink. Lots of the water escaped onto my face, and some of it stayed on my eyelashes, but it sure made me feel better!
"I was so scared that everyone would tease me because of this stupid sickness, Abby. I hate it!" I was about to cry again because I was feeling so sorry for myself, but instead I swallowed hard and turned my mouth rightside-up, into a smile instead. "Thank you for being my friend", I said. "If you can keep a secret, I’ll tell you all about what happened, but you have to promise not to tell anybody, not even your sister."
When Mrs. Preston came in to see what was going on, she found us sitting on the floor of the bathroom, giggling. I had told Abby everything about the hospital, and about my medical problem, and the medicine that I'd have to take forever. And Abby didn’t make fun of me. Not at all. So next I told her about the funny clothes that everyone wore, and about the trick that I played on my nurse, and about the magic bed and the walky-talky. Everything seemed so much better now.
Mrs. Preston took one look at the two of us, and she started to smile. "Sally", she said, "It looks like you had a tough time in the classroom. I'm happy that you're feeling better now. This year we will be doing a new activity in the third-grade. I think that it will be a lot of fun, and will help us to learn about one another. I call it, ‘this is my life’. Every Friday, one of the children will get to be the star for the day. Everyone who wants to will have a turn. The stars will get to decorate the bulletin board with photographs of their life, and with anything else that they'd like to tell the class about... Would either of you like to go first?" Well, I looked at Abby, whose eyes were big and sparkly, and whose smile told me that she thought it was the greatest idea.
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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