The Significant Change

The waiting room was crowded that even an elephant couldn’t fit anywhere in the room. It seemed like one of the busiest days in Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, except for it wasn’t any special day of the year. My family was sitting in a row, the four of us, my Mom, Dad, my younger sister, Tessa, and I. It wasn’t just an ordinary day for my family, instead the day we were all dreading. My sister had an appointment with the neurologist, to find out why my sisters was having headaches to the point it was turning into migraines. We prayed day in, and day out that my sister would be perfectly fine and might just be stress headaches but we weren’t a hundred percent sure in this case. Waiting in the waiting room felt like time was paused and everything was at a standstill. My family trusted the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and knew that the care they would provide for my sister would be top notch.

My sister, Tessa, was the nicest ten year old anyone could ever meet. She always had a smile on her face, no matter how she was feeling that day. She had the eyes like an ocean, crystal, bright blue eyes. Her hair was a medium length, almost past her armpits, and a nice dirty-blonde colour tinge to it. She was always laughing and making others around her feel a sense of happiness rush through them. My sister was truly the most amazing sister a girl could ask for.

“Tessa Garth”, said the nurse from behind the desk. We all stood up and started walking towards the desk, in which the nurse came out from behind and lead us to a patient room.

“My name is Nurse Becca, Dr Shepard will be in here soon”.

My sister went and took a seat on the bed in the patient room while my parents and I sat in the chairs. After waiting for what felt like more than five minutes, we heard a slight faint sound of someone knocking on the door. All of a sudden, in comes Dr. Shepard, the neurologist at Grey Sloan. He sat down in the chair next to the computer that had Tessa’s chart already inputted on. He began doing his normal check up routines such as shining a light in her eyes to check the pupils, reflexes and numerous more standard routines. After asking some questions about her everyday life, Dr Shepard removed himself from the patient room and returned a few minutes later with a conclusion.

The face he had returned in the room with was the one you’d have when you find out bad news but don’t quite know how to tell someone. He tried so hard not to show it in his face, but we had been to countless numbers of doctors that we knew when there was bad news. We had appreciated the way he came in trying to keep the room positive but we wanted to know what was wrong so we could find an approach to fixing it before it was too late.

“I am truly sorry for what I am about to tell you, but there are steps to cope with what it is I must tell you.”

“Tessa has a mild brain tumour that is pushing against her frontal lobe, in which is causing her headaches and other symptoms she is experiencing.”

My mother burst into tears, in which flowed so fast it was like the current in a river. She tried to contain her tears and hold them in but she just physically could not. Dr Shepard explained what steps we could take, such as her having surgery tonight. My parents both agreed to the surgery even though there were possible complications involving it. They made it clear that they would rather them try removing it than it becoming worse.

Six hours later, the nurses came in to prep my sister for surgery. It was the most scariest time for me and my family. All we could do was pray that this surgery would work for most of the part.

We went out and took a seat in the waiting room, where we waited to get called in this morning. The amount of people waiting in the room had gone down so much that an elephant could actually fit. We waited and waited, hoping for the best news we could receive when we seen the doctor come out of the hallway.

“We removed the whole tumour, except the outcome after the surgery is unknown at this point in time”, said Dr Shepard.

My parents jumped up in joy and went and gave the doctor a huge hug. They were so happy that Tessa made it out of the surgery. My grandpa had surgery on the same thing that Tessa had gotten done today and he never made it through the surgery. It was a huge burden that was lifted off of my parents shoulder knowing that she made it through. I almost cried of relief knowing that my sister made it out alive.

After a couple hours my sister was put in the ICU to be monitored for a few hours to see if she was responsive after the long surgery she was put through. They had to watch and make sure her organs were still working after having strain put on them. My parents and I sat by her bedside. All we heard was the tiny beeps from the heart monitor in the room. Her heart rate was stable. Out of the blue, her eyelids started flicking open. My mom jumped up out of the chair she was sitting on and ran out the sliding doors to alert the nurse that she was waking up.

The doctor came rushing into the room, almost like he was on a mission. He bent overly ever so slightly and began saying my sisters name. At first I was a little confused as to why he was doing this, but then it came to me as why he was. He was trying to see if Tessa was responsive to her surrounding.

My sister’s eyes opened up fully, almost like a camera lense when it is first used. Her mouth began to slowly open up to the point where words used to escape through it, except there was nothing. A breath of pure air was the only thing that had escaped through the open mouth. My parents began trembling at the thought of their daughter losing her speech.

My sister talked non stop at home, and when I mean non stop I mean like a circle with no escape. It frightened em at the thought of never hearing my sister’s sweet voice ever again.

“Dr. Shepard, will my daughter ever speak again?”, said by my mom who had this worried look on her face.

The doctor had explained how this was one of the common side effects of the surgery my sister had. My mom took a huge breath in and tried holding back the tears she preferred not to shed in front of my sister who had zero clue of what was happening. My mom took my sisters hand in her other hand and held her hand tight showing that she was going to be just fine.

After a week in the hospital, a young women, maybe in her early twenties, walked into the room and introduced herself. I read the name tag that was on the left side in the shirt. Her name was Allie, blonde hair and blue eyes. As soon as she introduced herself, she explained thats she was the speech pathologist and that Dr Shepard had sent her down here to talk about options for sign language and family ways to cope with this. My family had agreed to the idea of this as they knew that Tessa would never earn her speech back and we would all have to cope with this somehow. My parents and the lady doctor discussed a day and time when the first appointment would start and all the further appointments from then on. As they continued talking, Dr. Shepard walked in and told us that my sister would be able to leave that night as she was all healed after a week long of monitoring her. That was the best new my parents and I had heard all week.

Eight o’clock had reached and the nurse came into the room with discharge papers for my sister. We packed up all her belongings and headed home for the night after such a long day.

The next day was the first day of my family’s speech coping lessons. We learnt ways of coping with my sisters loss of speech and we started learning the basics of sign language to communicate with her. Doing these coping mechanisms really bought our family closer in terms of working together. My parents knew that doing these speech therapies would definitely be a benefit in the long run.

After weeks of speech therapy we were finally able to communicate with my sister in terms of sign language. As time went on, things had become a routine and were becoming easier for us. This was definitely a significant change that changed the way we lived. Although we were so grateful that my sister had survived through this all. Learning how to cope with these drastic changes in my families life to make my sister feel included was definitely a great idea.  

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