Melissa McLay -- March 11, 1984 to September 22, 2002
In Collective Remembrance

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March 23 | Day at the Hospital
Melissa’s knee was once again swollen to about the size of her head, and Mom decided to take her to the hospital on a summer Saturday afternoon. She was about 9, I think, and her knee had been hurting her for a really long time.

The doctor took Mom and Melissa to a room buried deep within the hospital halls, but I wasn’t allowed to come. I sat in the waiting room for an hour at least, though it felt like much more.

Mom had given me a dollar for a candy bar or something, so I went off in search for a vending machine. I ended up in the cafeteria; I was just pulling my Snickers bar from the machine when a large nurse kicked me out of the cafeteria.

Being restless, I went outside to wander around the parking lot and woods behind the hospital. I met another kid a few years younger than me and we hung out for a few hours. I had mentioned that I was incredibly hungry – lunch had come and gone and dinner was just around the corner. I had missed one and was about to miss another.

This kid – I think it was a boy, but I cannot remember – said he lived just a few blocks from the hospital and he would get me some food. He was gone for no longer than fifteen minutes and returned with some apple juice, an orange, and a granola bar.

He told me that he had to sneak it out so that his mom wouldn’t get mad. I was so grateful and gobble the entire thing up.

It was getting dark, and he had to go home. I was sad, but returned back to the waiting room. Jennifer showed up because she was supposed to go with the three of us to the Mother/Daughter tea at the church that day, but the doctor was taking too long with Melissa.

After a few hours, Melissa and Mom came back. The doctor had removed three large syringes of water from her knee. This was the first of many doctors’ visits that concluded she had juvenile arthritis. I’ll never forget Melissa’s bad knee.
Remembered by Valette | 11:51am

please note: the dates for all comments posted before january 8, 2004 are incorrect.

I remember how awful this was for Melissa. I also remember her having to have her blood drawn for tests and the lady couldn't find a vein and poked her like 19 times. She was so brave...I couldn't have done it!

Posted by Jennifer
January 07, 2004 | 3:32 PM

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