The author and her two sisters.
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Meeting My Big Sister

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My big sister, Marcia, recently had hip replacement surgery and was discharged from the hospital. Because she needed additional therapy, she was not living in her own apartment at North Oaks Retirement Home. Rather, she was temporarily staying on the first floor of an adjacent building called Autumn Ridge where they offer additional rehab before going back to her own apartment. I was coming to pick her up on Sunday so we could go together to visit our little sister, Ellie, who is ill with a horrid fatal disease, called Atypical Multiple System Atrophy with Ataxia (MSA).

I called when I was ready to leave. “Marcia, what room are you in?”

“I’m in 108, but you don’t have to come in. I’ll wait on the patio. Drive around the building to the back, and you’ll see me.”

“Sounds like a plan. Wait for me to come and walk with you for safety.”


It’s about a ten-minute drive from my house. When I got to the entrance, I drove around to the back of the building but did not see a patio. There was a back door, however, so I parked the car, walked to the door and rang the bell.

“Yes?” asked a worker who answered the door.

“I’m here to pick up my sister, Marcia Speer. She was supposed to be on the patio, but I don’t see any patio.”

“That’s because she’s in the Autumn Ridge treatment center. But come on in, you can walk through.”

First, I had to go to the lobby of North Oaks before I could get to Autumn Ridge. I had no idea how to get to the lobby so she walked with me. More importantly, I was not in great shape. I’d been having some serious standing and walking problems. When I got to the lobby, I had to immediately sit down.

“What’s your name?” I asked my “guide.”

“It’s Rosalie.”

“Rosalie, thank you so much for helping me, but I have another problem. Because I’m having some leg issues, and Marcia is still recovering from surgery, I don’t know how I’ll get her back to the car. Can you tell me where I can park that will be closer to the lobby of Autumn Ridge?”

“Well, it’s really not close. How about if I bring your car around to the right place?”

“OMG! That would be great. I’m parked right outside of the door I came in. I think my car is the only non-truck on that lot. It’s a red Toyota. Here’s the keys.”

I handed her the keys and called Marcia.

“Where are you?” She asked. “I’ve been waiting for 15 minutes.”

I told her what was going on and that l should be there in about five minutes.

When Rosalie came back, I said, “Thank you so much, but I have another problem. I just can’t walk that distance. Do you think I could borrow a wheelchair?”

“Let me see if I can scrounge one up.” She came back a few minutes later and said, “Here we go. Do you want me to wheel you?”

“Are you sure that’s not too much trouble? I don’t want to take you away from your duties.”

“It’s fine. I’ll wheel you over and have someone see to it that everyone gets safely into the car.” What a doll!

It was a looooooooong walk! I never would have made it by myself. When we arrived, Rosalie turned me over to Olivia, another staff member. She asked Olivia if she could bring the wheelchair back when we were finished with it.

I looked around and didn’t see Marcia, so I asked Olivia if she knew where she was. She didn’t but told me to “stay put” and she’d be right back. Well, “right back” turned out to be another ten minutes!

Meanwhile, I was calling Ellie to let her know what was happening and that we’d be there in about 15 minutes. I called Marcia’s cell but got no answer. Finally, I saw my tiny sister (she can’t weigh more than 90 pounds) strolling along with her walker, looking like a movie star with all the time in the world. I had to smile.

“Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for almost 15 minutes.”

“I don’t know. Just been walking over. I’m a little slow, ya know?”

Olivia wheeled me to the door. I thanked her and told her I’d be fine from here. I was able to walk with my sister, get her settled in the car, fold up the walker, get in myself and head to Ellie’s.

As we were leaving, I was looking at the surroundings and realized if I’d gone to the next driveway, it would have taken me to the entrance of Autumn Ridge. Oh well. Live and learn. Now we had a funny story to entertain Ellie.

Please leave your comments below. 

Read more by Linda Miller.

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  1. You all have the funniest stories when it comes to getting together. I’m so glad you guys are still so close. It warms my heart knowing you are there for my mom. Love to all. And I really do take good pictures

    1. Yes, I love that we’re close. Your mom and I were at each other growing up, but that makes for som fun stories. Did you ever read “My Sister Hates Me”? It’s one of the first stories I wrote when I joined this group.

    1. I’m glad you like it. There were other things that happened, but it was several months ago, and I can’t remember everything. Do you remember that day?