Her name was Katie
Author: Auty

Chapter 21
Hospital

I have only been to St Johns hospital once. I remember last year, I fell off the swing and Mum had though I'd broken my arm. Luckily, the doctors said I had just badly bruised it and it should be as right as rain in no time. I wish, wish, wish Katie could be right as rain in no time. Maybe if she just gained weight and had a bit of counselling... Who am I kidding? Even if Katie does come out of this alive, this will live with it her for the rest of her life.
The bus journey takes about 20 minutes, all the time I'm thinking, am I too late? When it eventually pulls up outside the hospital, I rush off through the car park and through the doors to the main entrance. I don't know where the intensive care unit is so I ask a friendly looking nurse at reception.
"North wing, to the left, but no visitors are allowed unless family or if the patient is in a suitable state. Can I help at all?"
I explain my story and make up a tiny white lie about being her sister. The nurse doesn't look as if she believes me but tells me to follow her all the same. We go up some stairs and then through two sets of double doors. I'm willing the nurse to hurry up because she is walking so slowly but eventually we get to a room. I'm shocked at what I see. People are lying in bed, all hooked up to machines, some asleep, some wide awake but not moving. They don't look particularly skinny so I take it that Katie hasn't been transferred to an Eating Disorder ward yet.
"She's in a separate room, just to the right. You can only stay for five minutes and if she gets upset you must leave ok?"
I nod and walk into the tiny room, my eyes focusing on the tiny figure lying in a bed. Katie is asleep, her eyes closed, face scarily pale. She has a feeding tube through her nose and a drip in her arm. The hospital gown she is wearing, reveals a painfully hollow collar bone, pronounced even more every time she takes a breath. She looks so thin and delicate, I'm scared to touch her in case she snaps right in two. Suddenly, her eyes flicker open and she see's me. She gives a small smile, "Hey, thought you'd never come".
"Oh Katie", I say and sit down next to her on the bed.
"It's not as bad as it looks, doctors are drama queens".
"It is bad, oh Katie I thought you were dead".
"I wish I was. God, they are making me so fat. You know, they have given me this huge target weight. They said they are going to move me into Honey ward, you know the one where mad people go. I'm not mad but they keep insisting I need to get well. They won't listen when I say I'm not ill, they are the ones who are mad".
"Katie, you are ill, look how thin you are", I say picking up her wrist. It feels like a stick, light as a feather.
"You don't understand. They are feeding me all sorts through this stupid tube", she says gesturing to her nose. "I tried ripping it out but they threatened to put one in my stomach".
I don't know what to say. I can't make Katie look at herself the way everyone else see's her. Underweight, ill and in danger. I wish I had told someone sooner, then she wouldn't be in this hospital.
"I never broke my promise", I say, my voice breaking, "I never told".
"I know", she says, "Thank you".
"So promise me something, please?" I ask, tears dribbling down my chin.
"What?"
"Promise me, you'll get better and won't give up. Please".
"I promise", she says and reaches out to give me a hug.
The tubes and the drip get in the way, but for those 30 seconds my arms are around Katie, I've never wanted anything more than for her to get better.

 

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