Chapter 17 The Law of Have & Have Not
Apparently everything has a price. We all got so excited at the doctor’s office we seemed to forget that doctor’s offices run on power, staff and man hours and those cost money. It’s not something you can just win like a prize. Everyone has to live and living costs money.
Once Fred and Jane sat down with the doctor to talk treatment plans, plus surgery and recovery time in the hospital, which would be billed separately, it came down to a decision. Fred and Jane had put away some money for Marney’s college fund. There was no possible way to fund both. Marney would have to make a choice. Either the surgery, which could possibly fail, or the University. They reasoned that if she chose surgery, she could still go to a city college, but it’s not likely they’d have wheelchair basketball.
Plus, there would be several more virtual reality treatments before the surgery was even performed. That was supposed to get her mind and body ready for the surgery and impending possibility that upon recovery, she could get up and walk almost perfectly. She would, of course, have some physical therapy but its intensity would be based upon what already was or wasn’t accomplished.
“Marney, this is your decision,” Fred said to her.
Doctor Mackey looked intensely at Marney. “You don’t have to decide right now. Go home. Sleep on it for a few days. I will be here.”
“Marney, honey,” Jane said, “we will support whatever decision you make.”
Marney looked at me. I hugged her. Then she opened up and said, “I’m a little tired.”
“Ok, let’s go home,” Fred said. He stood up and offered his hand to the doctor. “Thank you, we’ll get back to you.”
“You’re very welcome,” Doctor Mackey responded.
Jane shook his hand, too. I held my hand out and he took it and I shook his hand. “Thanks,” I said.
When we left the office everyone was silent. I thought Marney would be excited and that we’d all be smiling on the way home, just knowing everything was going to be all right. But instead, I felt bad. Marney was confused. Jane and Fred were a little worried, I think. It’s like the new possibility threw a wrench into Marney’s machine...everything she knew, everything she did, the way she worked, it all stopped. She had to rethink where she wanted to go in life and it was all because of me. I felt really bad.
Journal Topic #12 If I had a million dollars, I would----
If I had a million dollars, I would give it to my sister, Marney. She wouldn’t have to choose between going to the University and having a surgery that could give her back her legs and she wouldn’t have to give the money back. It would be for keeps.
I’m not old enough to play the lottery, but I have 13 dollars and 75 cents in my piggy bank. It would give Marney thirteen chances to win. Fourteen if she’s got another quarter. A million dollars could be just six numbers away.
I could have a million dollars...
“Hey Marney,” I went into her room with my giant pink piggy bank. It even has wings on it, symbolizing pigs flying. Because all dreams are possible. I like that piggy bank. It’s not one of those ones you break either. You can just open it’s belly to get out the money. So, I handed it to Marney.
“What’s this for?” She asked.
“It’s thirteen dollars and seventy five cents,” I said to her. “You can use it to play the lottery. There’s two million, five hundred thousand and seventy two dollars up for grabs. And if you have another quarter on you, then you have fourteen chances to win.”
Marney laughed but there were also tears in her eyes. She put the piggy bank to the side, held her arms out to me and we hugged. “You’re so stupid, I love you.”
“If I’m so stupid, then why are you smiling?” I mumbled, muffled by her hug. I think she just didn’t want me to see that she was crying. But, I felt a tear drop on me.
She laughed again and then took the piggy bank, gave it back to me and said, “You’re my best friend, you know that, right?”
I smiled big and nodded.
“Go on, get out of here. I don’t want your money.” She smiled and waved me out.
I walked out and she shut the door behind me. I stood at the door for a few seconds listening. It was quiet for many seconds. Then finally, I heard the sound of her basketball being tossed at the wall. Every time I needed advice, she was there for me. Now that she needs it, even I, with my sharp mind, don’t have any I can give. I wish things could be simpler. But I guess it’s not as simple as having the money for both.
I went to my room and decided I would write a letter. Letter writing seems to have helped me in the past, maybe it won’t let me down this time either.
Dear Sir or Madam,
My name is Samantha Lane Ferguson and I am seven years old.
I’m writing to you about my sister, Marney. She’s a very talented wheelchair basketball player and she has quite a serious decision to make...
I sat at my desk writing the letter, by hand, for a very long time, so long that it became an essay, and then a story. Because this was important, I wanted to do something big for Marney and short of becoming a surgeon myself, this was my best option. I wrote and I wrote until I fell asleep at my desk. All I remember is Fred coming in to check on me and then being light as a feather for a moment before curling up in my bed fast asleep.
When I awoke, it was a bright sunny day and I knew things were going to be all right. I just had a good, cheery sort of feeling. I went to the kitchen and Marney and Fred and Jane were all already at the table talking.
“What’s up?” I asked as I sat down.
Jane looked at me silently. Fred was the first to speak. “Your sister has decided.”
Marney interrupted, “I’m not going to do the treatments. I’m great at wheelchair basketball. I’d rather use the money for college than an operation that we’re not sure will even work.”
This meant one thing and one thing only to me. She’d be going far away to college. I wouldn’t see her for four years maybe longer. “Can I borrow a stamp, Jane?” I spoke up.
Jane served me breakfast and said, “Yes. What do you need it for?”
“I have a letter to mail,” I responded, “for a class assignment.” That was a lie. I don’t usually do that but I didn’t want anyone to stop me from my plan. I know what Marney said but perhaps there’s a way to have the best of both worlds.
Fred looked at me kind of funny. “Do you understand what that means, Sam?”
“No sweat, Marney,” I said to her as I took a big bite of scrambled eggs.
“Where would you like to go, Marney?” Fred asked.
“University of Alabama just won their third straight national championship. What do you think? Do I look like I could belong to the Crimson Tide?” Marney smiled.
“Oh, I think if they want to win a fourth, they’ll have no choice but to put a uniform on you.”
“Are you sure you want to go so far away, dear?” Jane asked. She said it, I was thinking it.
Marney stopped smiling. Fred put his hand over Jane’s as if to tell her not to discourage Marney.
Then everybody just kept eating breakfast and no one talked the rest of the time. It was too solemn for me. I gobbled up my eggs and toast then rushed off to the mailbox to put the letter inside.
Every day for the next couple of weeks I did the same thing. Jane was getting very curious as to where all her stamps were going and I started to run out of excuses. Mailing letters everywhere didn’t seem like much of a class assignment which could be graded. But, if results were anything like a grade, I was about to get an A plus.