A Life Spent with an Illness
A True Story by “JJSL”
“I want to be a nun and a teacher as well,” the words which I always hear from my sister. Her only and very dream which she could never ever reach now. Tears began to fall down from my eyes as I reminisce my memorable days with my closest sister.
When I was young my parents often went to Manila with my sister Jewel (not her real name). I know the very reason why they have to do it. My Ate possessed a very deceiving illness called rheumatic heart disease. She inherited it from my grandfather on my mother’s side. Because of this she wasn’t able to enjoy her childhood and teenage life. Instead of playing outside like every other kid does, she did it the other way. She would spend most of her time lying in the hospital bed at Bethany. I remember whenever she was confined to the hospital, I was like confined too. Not because I do have an illness, but because of my innocence during that time. I even found it enjoyable staying there for there are lots of foods and I love roaming around the hospital that’s why I almost commit to memory every corner of the said hospital. However my enjoyment did not blind me from the whole reality. With that I became closer to my Ate that most of the time I went with her to attend prayer meetings. I know what she was going through that it did not stop me from pitying her which I know she did not want from the very first place. She wanted to feel like an ordinary person without special attention or treatment given to her. But unfortunately this only wish of her could never be granted for everyone knows her real situation. Even Hannah, her closest friend, worried too much about her condition which undoubtedly my sister was upset a bit.
“I have no illness! What sickens me is your attention being given to me which always makes me think that I will not stay any longer in this world,” she exclaimed one day.
Then it came to a point that my parents needed to make a very hard decision that affected her so much. She was a third year high school student at Asian that time when my parents decided to make her stopped for her own sake because it was like every month she was being brought to the hospital. Aside from that her condition was getting more crucial and worse. Fortunately she was able to apprehend it without anymore asking.
On May 2002, two years have already passed since that decision that my parents made, two days later after being discharged at the hospital, my mother and Ate Jewel together with my youngest brother went to Manila for my father was waiting there for my sister’s upcoming heart operation. Not long after they went there, in fact it was just a matter of days, we were very shocked when we received a call coming from my parents that my sister already passed away because prior to the day she left she was in good condition. Then my mother told us that when they had a check-up, the doctor said that my sister needed to be operated as soon as possible for her condition is getting worse day by day. My mother let us know what happened during the remaining days of my sister. On May 15, 2002, my sister requested her favorite foods to be served on their dinner. Luckily, my parents granted her request not knowing that it would be her last one. Late on that evening when they were already sleeping excluding my sister, she woke my mother up telling that she was feeling something very painful on her heart. My parents were very much worried but the problem was that there were no vehicles passing on the road so they still have to wait a little longer. Then few minutes later, my sister said that the pain was already gone and she insisted that there was no need of bringing her to the hospital. My parents gave in to her insistence and decided to bring her to the hospital first thing in the morning. But before they went back to sleep my mother asked my sister to describe the hurt she had felt a while ago. This was my sister’s answer:”it was like thousands of needles were being injected to my heart.”
An hour ago, my mother woke up again because of a tight hug from my Ate. After that my mother wasn’t able to sleep again because of worrying about my sister’s condition. She noticed that my Ate spent her time praying which she did not mind at all because it was actually very usual for us to see her doing that.
Then on the early morning of May 16, 2002, my parents were already preparing for bringing her to the Philippine Heart Center when my sister asked my mother to escort her because she wanted to urinate. When my mother was already accompanying her to get up from the bed, suddenly my sister collapsed. Although the medical assistance were not able to lengthen her life for we understand that it was really God’s will to end all her suffering by that time.
pictures by : robiJiZ