the Last Memory
| It was the day before Autumn's surgery. She had been on the Ativan for a week; they were to give it to her until the day of the surgery. Of course, she didn't notice a difference with her Cymbalta yet, but Jaycee and Melody said it would take time. She was thankful for any relief. Jaycee noted Autumn's restlessness on this particular day and suggested a pleasant surprise. All of those who helped to care for Autumn, including the security guards, had a great time planning the "party" of sorts. They couldn't wait to see Autumn's reaction. This was a person who needed something different, creative and enjoyable.
Autumn was just finishing her breakfast when Kambra and Katelyn Corbin entered. The last time Autumn had seen the chaplain and his family was the day after her mother had died. What were they going to reveal this time? Her dread soon turned to joy when Kambra spoke and Katelyn extended the package she was carrying.
"We have a surprise for you today, so we came to help you get dressed," Kambra was saying. Autumn saw Carrie the charge nurse come in with an interesting outfit. Carrie smiled conspiritoraly at the other women in the room before she left.
"Get ressed? Am I going somewhere today?"
"Yes ma'am," Judith said quite properly. All of the girls laughed, for they knew Judith to be one of the most lighthearted, sensetive people.
Katelyn held up the different type of hospital gown with great flourish. That was interesting. It was flannel, not thin cotton. It had lace across the bodice and snaps on the sleeves.
"This one is designed so that you can put it on without having to remove the IV," Katelyn explained as she untied the cotton gown Autumn wore.
"Oh, thank God," Autumn said, making the others smile. Judith helped Autumn put the flannel gown on without doslodging the IV. Then came the hair and makeup paraphanalia.
"Wow...you mean I can actually feel like a girl today?" she asked, clearly delighted. They put blush on her, but she refused eye shadow or mascara, stating that her eyes were sensetive to everything. Kambra carefully combed the hair Autumn had and styled it using hair gel. They wouldn't be able to use hair bands, pins, etc. As Kambra finished her hair, Katelyn presented Autumn's favorite pajama pants and new slippers.
"Apparently I'm going out in style," Autumn said. By now, she was powerfully curious. Whatever was this all about. After Autumn was dressed, her "carriage" entered with figurative footmen in tow.
Josiah and Abbie transferred Autumn into the wheelchair. It was her own chair, but someone had decorated it quite splendidly. They had attached an umbrella to shield her head and face from the sun. It was bedecked with glitter and ribbons of Autumn's favorite color. Judith buckled her seat belt, and Jamison presented a new blanket.
"I did some detective work," Kambra said, "so we decided to make a new blanket for you!" Katelyn finished. After this, a nurse was summoned. Sariah pushed her wheelchair, while moving the IV pole along behind them. A group of friends led Autumn and Sariah out of the hospital to a peaceful garden. This therapeutic location would provide a much-needed respite and distraction. There, Jason, Jamison and Kyle and Kendall Corbin waited with approved foods.
"A party? whatever for?" Autumn asked.
"Well, you needed a little low-key excitement, especially on a day when your next treatment option can drive you crazy! I know how nature is soothing for you, so we figured this would be the perfect place," Abbie explained as she approached. She reached down to move a corner of the blanket that was about to end up under a wheel. Autumn's friends knew this would have to be a short outing, but they were determined to make it fun. Thus, they had made sure food was prepared so Autumn could eat and enjoy it right away. They scheduled this little party around med schedule. After all, no one wanted to interrupt her celebration with medications.
"It's a...a carrot cake with cream cheese icing! Wow...it has been forever since I have eaten this..." her voice trailed off as she leaned forward to read the words written into the icing: "Happy spiritual birthday!" What was that all about?
"You told me that you were baptized on this date three years ago," Jamison explained, "so it was really neat to be able to celebrate that, especially on the day before your surgery." Autumn couldn't speak, for the tears she couldn't prevent spilled down her face.
"And after all of the hard work you put into it," she muttered. Katelyn and Kambra just laughed and said, "We'll gladly create more artwork. You need to be able to feel like a girl." All of the nurses had returned to the oncology floor, so Autumn immediately noted Josiah's arrival. Does it have to end so soon? This thought was followed by mental rebuke. She had enjoyed the last two hours with her friends. And she should complain that it had to come to an end as Josiah approached to give her 3:00 meds? This, too, was to be handled differently. Josiah handed her meds, but the typical water was not forthcoming. Instead, he produced soft ice cream.
"What a way to take meds!"
"Just don't get any ideas, Miss Autumn!" Josiah teased.
"You mean, you won't give me ice cream every time? You ruin the fun!" She stuck her tongue out at her nurse, who feigned affront.
"I'm just going to leave you here." Josiah turned as if to go, and Autumn and her friends laughed at his pretense.
"You changed your mind?" Autumn asked. Then she affected a smug expression and added, "you just can't live without me!" Josiah pushed her wheelchair and IV pole back to Autumn's room. When she was back in bed, she turned to thank her friends, but they weren't finished yet. They left her in the flannel gown and pajama pants, as she told them it would be the most comfortable thing in which to sleep. Then, when the men exited, Judith and Katelyn produced lotion.
"Compliments of Marla (the x-ray technician) and Carrie," Katelyn said. As Judith and Katelyn massaged lotion into her arms and legs, Kambra added lavender-scented linen spray to her sheets and pillows.
"this place won't smell like a hospital room for awhile. Are we sure this won't cause any sort of reaction?"
"When we planned this thing, we made sure everything would be safe. Your nurses had a splendid time helping us plan this for you." Judith tucked the blankets around Autumn and quietly exited with her daughters.
Although Autumn thanked everyone profusely, her radiant smile was all they needed. They wanted her to remember the fun she had that day, rather than the anxiety before her surgery.
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