my sister going to die?'
By Jen Pulham
September 26, 2006 | It was October and I was laughing.
I don't know why, but I was. Then Cami, my sister six
years older than me, called me on my red house phone.
My good mood continued and I made a joke. A joke that
quickly died when she told me I needed to go to the
hospital right away. Katie, the sister born in between
us, had been in an accident. I was shocked. On Cami's
end of the phone I could hear voices. Dad. Talking to
Katie and I were born almost three years apart, but
we were only two years apart in school. We had a difficult
time going to the same schools, mainly because I made
it that way. I loved being annoying when I saw her with
her friends and she loved ignoring me. Needless to say,
we were both happy when she graduated high school and
chose to go to Utah State University. Not only would
there be more hot water for the rest of us, but I would
get sole use of the car.
I went to the Logan Regional Hospital, emergency wing.
Some of Katie's friends were there. Jeremy Wilkins.
Jeremy, Katie, and I had Family Finance together the
past spring. And Alyssa, Katie's roommate, whom I already
didn't like. They told me what had happened. Katie had
been long-boarding, something I knew she wasn't skilled
in. She had been coming out of Green Canyon and the
road began to be steep. In order to stop herself, she
took her right foot off the board and tried to put it
down on the ground.
Unfortunately, that ground happened to be the gravel
shoulder of the actual road. With this unsure footing,
she took her left foot off and landed head first in
the gravel. Her friends ran to her, calling her name,
with no response. Back at the hospital wing, Alyssa
and I were admitted into the emergency room to wait
My family owned a townhouse in Logan. I still know
where it is, somewhere around 550 E. 700 North. Katie
lived there her first three years of college. We became
better friends after she left. I occasionally came to
visit her, which usually turned out to be me coming
to visit her and all her friends. She always was popular.
I would sit on the couch, staying uncomfortably silent,
waiting for the time when it would be late enough for
me to go to bed, but not so early that I seemed like
a complete loser. She knew when I didn't feel comfortable
with her friends and was very considerate of me. But
we always had a better time when she came to visit at
home. It was during these years that I realized what
a good friend she was. When I graduated from high school
I chose Utah State, too.
Finally Katie arrived. The doctors and nurses wheeled
her towards us and I could hardly believe what I was
seeing. There was my best friend lying on a stretcher,
and I had no idea what was going on or what was going
to happen. The blue, green and purple bruises on her
face were accented by the scarlet red of the various
cuts. Her lips were swollen and bruised. She had a large
wound on her right temple where she had hit the gravel
first, and blood was beginning to mat in her blond hair.
One of her teeth was chipped. Another was gone. Beyond
that, I couldn't tell where else she was injured.
Her clothes were dirty and torn in various places.
A nurse began to cut away Katie's jeans. Alyssa started
talking to Katie, but I couldn't. I didn't know what
to say. She kept saying her head hurt. And that she
was cold. I stood in the background and watched the
doctors and nurses.
Katie had the car again, and would come visit me once
or twice a week. Or sometimes I'd walk to the townhouse
after class. There was one day in winter when we were
walking down the steep, slippery sidewalk of 700 North
when I simply couldn't stay on my feet. I started to
slip but caught myself. A young man offered to help
me down the hill. Katie found this terribly amusing.
I declined, though, and continued walking. A few seconds
later, I full out fell. So Katie and the young man escorted
me down the hill, much to her delight. I don't know
why she thought it was so funny, but the fact that she
laughed a lot about it made me laugh a lot about it.
A doctor told me Katie would need to be life-flighted
to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. She had an epidural hematoma,
or blood on the brain. The surgery would involve cutting
a hole in her skull in order to drain the fluid. At
this point I couldn't help but ask the question, "Is
my sister going to die?" The doctor, for legal reasons,
couldn't tell me yes or no. I followed the doctors,
and Katie in the stretcher, to the helicopter. She told
me it would be OK. I cried as I watched the helicopter
fly away. This would not do. I couldn't just wait.
Her friends took me to her car and I started driving
to Salt Lake. By now it was dark outside. When I got
to Salt Lake, I began the adventure of the Avenues,
trying to find LDS Hospital. I managed to find the University
of Utah hospital, which didn't help. Eventually I found
it, and Uncle Keith parallel parked my car, a skill
I had not yet acquired. Doctors waited to hear my report
on what had happened. I gave them a synopsis and went
and sat with my family in the waiting room. Katie went
in for surgery sometime around midnight. After a while,
Mom and Dad sent Cami, Becky, the youngest sister, and
me home. I woke up and headed to the hospital in the
Katie was all right. It was October and I was happy.