I wrote this last year, as a journal entry for english class.
We had to recall a childhood memory.
I scarcely recall my childhood. There are few things that I can recall in full detail. I do remember very thoroughly when Jonah had his second heart surgery. As it was seven years ago, I don’t remember much of the conversation, but the events come back like they happened yesterday.
What first comes back is being picked up from my aunt and uncle’s house. Excitement flooded through me. We were getting to see Mom and Dad and Jonah! Finally! Nana warned us we may not get to see Bug (Jonah’s pet name, the whole family uses) as he was still very sick, and if he got a cold or some sort of infection, he could die. Adults could see him, because their healthier then kids. But with our age, we don’t fight of sickness as well. Thinking back, this is kind of scary. Not about our immune systems, but because we understood what she meant. At the tender age of six, we knew how little our immune systems worked, and how much less Jonahs did. Of course, being the children we were, my brother, Jacob, and I assured her we were in no way sick. We didn’t get sick when Jonah was. It didn’t happen. Or at least, that’s what the adults wanted to think.
After we left my aunt and uncles, we scurried home to pack, and were off to Indianapolis. This is one of the first memories I have of calling hospitals by the cities they are in. Riley’s Children’s Hospital is Indianapolis. Kosair’s Children’s is Louisville, Cincinnati Children’s is Cincinnati. Now days, when I’m musing to myself, something commonly heard is “wonder if mom talked to Cincinnati today…” and people are often rightly confused. ‘She talks to cities?’ is the most common inquiries, with a ‘Not exactly…’ to follow.
So we were on the way to Indy, ready to see mom and dad and Bug. I have fleeting memories of the drive up there. High spirits, morning sun, longing for the day to go by quicker, the joy of seeing a soon to birth mother. I remember mom being VERY pregnant when they left for the surgery, due in about a month. That was one of the most exciting things about them coming home. The new baby. The most exciting part for me was the fact that I would be able to remember this baby. But not just remember him. I remember when Jonah was born. He was sick, and kind of scary looking. I didn’t get to see him until he was about two weeks old. And then, we couldn’t touch the baby. Couldn’t play to loud, the baby was sleeping, or mommy was sleeping. Couldn’t look straight at the baby, the incision on his chest was icky (after he was 3 months and had his first surgery). This baby I would remember. This baby we would have happy memories of.
The next scene I recollect was walking into the hospital. A big open area, decorated as a children’s hospital should be. I remember feeling satisfied, like this was the right hospital for Jonah. We’d done good this time. Upstairs was the waiting room daddy usually slept in. Mom couldn’t sleep on a leather couch in her condition, so dad drew the infinite short straw, so to speak.
Jonah looked so sick. Laying in his hospital bed, he just looked so helpless. One of the biggest things this heart surgery did for Jonah was take away some of his speech. His vocabulary of 30 words went back down to 11 or 12 words. One of the words lost was my name. I went from ‘Arah to yeah. Which I was up until about a year ago, when I went back to ‘Arah, or ‘Issy. It broke my heart, when Jonah couldn’t say my name. That kid is my light, my joy. And when he couldn’t tell the world who I was… it was awful. I recall that more and more today then I did then, and it bothered me bits and pieces at first. But now it pains me terribly. He just recently had another heart surgery. I didn’t tell anyone about it, but I was so scared he would lose it again. That he wouldn’t be able to say my name. That I would never be ‘Arah again. Always Yeah. Always. It scared me to no end. And there for about a week, two weeks or so after his surgery, he did. He called me Yeah. And every time he did I almost cried. But only for about a week, and then it was ‘Arah again.
When we were younger, and to this day, anytime Jonah is in the hospital, we go to some sort of museum, or zoo, or aquarium. Usually it’s a Children’s Museum. The one in Louisville is the most prevalent. I recall going to the one in Indianapolis a time or two, and I’m pretty sure we went now. I don’t have many of those memories logged in my data bank. Though, I do remember feeling guilty. Poor little Bug had to lay in the hospital sick, while the rest of us went out, and had a good time. It made me sad to think my little brother had to go through the pain of surgery to begin with, and then to be deprived that chance too.
Staying in hospitals did the same thing. We always had a pool of some sort growing up, and staying in a hotel did the same thing. Jonahs favorite thing in the WORLD was swimming. Still is. And being in a hotel meant we got to swim. Which made me feel awful. Jonah couldn’t swim with us. My poor little buddy, couldn’t come with us.
The only other thing I remember about that trip was the way home. We were driving with my grandpa. Dad and Nana stayed with Jonah, who came home two or three days later. But on the way home, either just before or just after we stopped to eat, mom went into labor. It was very light, contractions pretty far apart, but they came quicker as the evening progressed. She went in the next day and had doctors slow it down with medications. A baby was a family thing, and the whole family should be there for it. So there would be no baby until dad and Jonah got home. End of story.
My memories of childhood happened mostly at other people houses, or in different cities. Though this is sad, I was a happy little kid, making the best of the time I had with my family and with my friends. Jonah will always be a big part of my life, sometimes the only one keeping me in high spirits, and his hospital days will always stay stored in the filing cabinet known as my memory.