Another smiling nurse showed me into my little cubicle and left me to change into the hospital gown. Dad stood outside the bathroom door, silently telling me that he would never leave my side, no matter what happened.
Then I was led back to my bed and I had to wait for half an hour. Eventually, the nurse came over and slapped some cold anesthetic cream on the underside of my elbow. Another twenty minutes passed by and by the, my arm felt cold and numb; which, of course, was the point.
"This may pinch a little." The nurse smiled as she inserted a needle into my vein. Attached to it was a tube that led to an IV bag full of liquid. I watched the whole procedure, not afraid by the needle, I had more of an urge to know what was happening to me.
I cannot accurately describe the feeling of the chemicals and goodness knows what else as it flowed into my body. it was cold, and made me squirm around like a thousand tiny worms burrowing into my veins. Immediately my body rejected the unknown substance and I had to severely fight the urge to rip the tube form my skin. Dad took my hand, rubbing his thumb rhythmically around and around.
"It gets better after a while." Piped up a little girl opposite me who was also fixed up to an IV line; she had no parents with her.
"What's your name?" My voice came out stronger than I felt.
"Lucy. I've got leukemia." She frowned, "I'm ten."
Ten. Dana. I closed my eyes, thankful that God had decided to heed my prayers.
"I'm Alli, I have a brain tumor."
"They think I'm going to die." She looked down at her hands, like it was something to be ashamed of.
"No," Using my good arm, I tossed back the covers and staggered upright. All the chemicals in me seemed to slosh around as I grabbed my IV pole.
"Alli, what are you doing?" my dad hissed, thinking I should be in bed.
"I'll be back in a minute."
Surprised at just how normal I felt, I walked over to Lucy and sat down beside her.
"Are you afraid?" I whispered. A couple of the other children, their parents and a nurse were listening to me.
"I think so."
"Well, I am going to die. And you know what?" Earnestly she shook her head, "I'm not scared because I have all happy memories, and so does everyone I love. Take comfort in all this. You don't need to fear death, Lucy. Because I'll be there before you, and I'll show you around." I promised.
"Yeah." I squeezed her shoulder.
"Thank you." Came a voice over my shoulder.
Looking round, I saw who could only be Lucy's mum; and she was crying.
"'S all right." I mumbled and went back to my own bed.
"That was beautiful, Alli. I'm so proud of you. To take whatever strength you have and to give it to someone else who needs it, when you need it yourself. You're so selfless." My dad gasped.
Blushing slightly, I shrugged and yawned.
About an hour and a half later, my little bag was empty and a different nurse this time pottered over.
"Well, you can go home in ten minutes. Not usual we discharge patients after their first dose of chemo." Smiling, she unhooked the drip and slipped the needle out.
"Great." I bubbled, even though nausea was welling up inside me and I felt a bit wobbly.
"Come on then, kiddo."
I changed back into my clothes.