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A Sickle Situation

Written by:
Cousin Whitney

Part Three

The nurse walked back in with a syringe.  “You know Miss Brighton we still need you to eat something.”  The nurse said.

Kelsey sighed, “Yeah I know.  The guys just went down to the cafeteria to get me something to try to scarf down."

The nurse put the medicine into her IV.  “There that should help you.”  She said.

“Thank you.”  Kelsey said.

“So I have been meaning to ask you this.  The one that has the accent, where is he from?”  The nurse asked. 

“Balki?  Oh he’s from Mypos, it’s a Mediterranean island.  The language they speak there is called Myposian.  It’s a real neat language.  I know how to speak it some but still learning.”  Kelsey explained.

“Oh wow.”  The nurse said amazed.  “Balki.  That’s a neat name.”  She thought.

“Yeah he’s only been in America for a few years but he’s still learning.  He can now add this to his list, meaning my sickle cell.”  Kelsey said.

“Well he is so sweet and caring.”  She said.

“Yeah he is.  The other guy is his cousin, Larry.  He is something else.  Larry is a little high-strung and Balki is always keeping him going, but he took him in when Balki showed up on his doorstep unexpectedly when he came to America and they have been living together ever since.  They can be a handful, but they are two guys that I love and would dare not change or trade.”  Kelsey said.

“Well I wish I knew guys like that.  It's hard enough finding a decent one.”  The nurse said.

“Tell me about it.”  Kelsey agreed.

“Well I’m so glad you have them and Balki, he’s kind cute!”  The nurse said as she moved her eyebrows up and down and smiled.

“I know!  I’m so glad he’s all mine!”  Kelsey said blushed.

“Okay, well I’ll be back to check on you.”  The nurse said as she walked out the room.

Just then Balki and Larry walked in with a tray of food.  “Chow time!”  Balki said as he sat the food down on the roll away table.  “Your food, Madam.”  Balki said as he took the top off acting as waiter.

“Thank you Balki.”  Kelsey said as she giggled.

Larry placed a napkin across the blanket covering Kelsey’s lap.  “We got you some chicken tenders with Bar-B-Que sauce, fries, and a fruit punch to drink.  Cousin Larry thought that would be better than a soda.”  Balki said.

“Thank you Larry, my dietician.”  Kelsey joked.

“Well I thought that would be a little healthier than a carbonated, bubbly soda and easier on your stomach.”  Larry said.

“Anything else you need Kelsey?”  Balki asked as he rolled the table close to her for easy reach.

“No thank you Balki.  You guys have done way enough.”  Kelsey said as she pushed the button to motion the bed so she can sit up.  Since the chicken tenders were kind of large to try to cut them, but was having difficulty.

“Kelsey would you like for me to cut them for you?”  Balki offered.

“Would you please?”  She begged.

“Sure.”  Balki said.

“Balki you be careful.  We don’t need two people in the hospital.”  Larry warned.

“Cousin, I know what I’m doing.”  Balki said as he cut the chicken tenders.  “There you go Kelsey.”  Balki said.  “Thank you.”  She said.  She picked up one of the piece of the tenders.  “How are they?”  Balki asked.

“They are okay.”  She said as she chewed.  “Plus it would be better if I really wanted it but what can you do?  The fries are tasty though.”  She said as she dipped the fries into ketchup.

“Well we’re just glad you’re eating something, right Balki?”  Larry said.

“You bet your bibbibakas Cousin.”  Balki said.  Kelsey continue to eat the chicken tenders and fries.  She was finally done.  “How was the chicken tenders Kelsey?”  Balki asked.

"It was good…for hospital food.”  Kelsey said as she took a sip of her fruit punch.

“I’m so happy you ate most of them.”  Balki said.

“Yeah it was kind of too much to eat though.”

“Well what you ate was good enough and I am proud of you.”  Balki said.

“Thank you Balki.”  She said as she smiled.  She then yawned.

“Someone sleepy again?”  Balki asked.

“Umm-hmm.”  She said nodded her head.

“Well you go right to sleep.”  Balki said.

She drifted off to sleep.

“Aww Cousin she has went to sleep.”  Balki said.

“I guess the IV pain medicine finally got to her.”  Larry said.

“I’m glad she finally had something to eat and she starting to feel a little better.”  Balki said.

“Me too, I’m going to head to the bathroom.”  Larry said.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said.

Balki pulled the covers up to her.  He then cleared some of the trash off her table and sat the tray by the door.  He then sat back down.  He began to softly sing.  Larry walked out the bathroom and heard Balki softly singing a lullaby in Myposian.  Larry quietly walked up behind Balki and placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled.  They both watched her soundly sleep.

*************************

During the night Balki and Larry were woken by a sound.

“Ow!  Ssss!  Ouch!  Owww!!!!”

Balki and Larry jumped up.  “Kelsey are you okay?”  Balki asked concerned.

“Just in-ow-a little-ow-pain!”  Kelsey said.

Balki gave Larry a worried look.  Kelsey pushed the nurse’s call button.

“Yes Miss Brighton?”  The nurse said.

“Can-ow!  Can I have the-ow-nurse please?”  Kelsey said painfully.

“She’ll be right in.”  The nurse over the intercom said.

“Bu-but Kelsey I thought you were feeling better.”  Balki said in a scared tone.

“Balki it’s just-ow-a little-ow-flare up!  No biggi dealiki.”  Kelsey said as she adjusted herself in the bed.

Balki looked at Kelsey who was wincing in pain kind of badly.  To him it didn’t look like a little flare up.

The nurse walked in.  “What’s wrong Miss Brighton?”  The nurse asked.  “Are you having pain?”  She asked.

“Ye-ow-yeah.”  Kelsey said as she winced.  “I need-ow-I need some pain medicine please.”  She said.

“You know the doctor has you on oral medication now hoping you may be able to go home tomorrow.”  The nurse explained.

“I-ow-know.”  Kelsey said as she winced.  “But I-ow-really need some!”  She said.

“Okay, I’ll be back with some pain medicine.”  The nurse said.  She then walked out the room.  Kelsey continued to wince in pain.

Balki looked worried and scared.  “Kelsey are you going to be okay?”  He asked.

“I’ll-ow! I’ll be fine Balki.”  She said breathing kind of heavy.

As much as Balki wanted to believe her he didn’t looking at how she was in the bed.  Balki turned to Larry.  “Cousin, Kelsey sickle cells have made a U-turn.  She now may not be able to go home like what was said.”  Balki said worried as he spoke softly to Larry so Kelsey wouldn’t hear how worried and nervous he was.

“Yeah Balki, it’s kind of looking like that.”  Larry said feeling the exact same way as Balki.

The nurse walked in with a pain pill in a medicine cup.  Kelsey took the pill and washed it down with some fruit punch that was on her table.

“Let me just take some vitals on you.”  The nurse said as she put the stethoscope in her ears.  She listened to her heart, took her pulse, checked her blood pressure, took her temperature, as well as checked her IV.  “How is that helping?”  The nurse asked.

“It’s-ow-helping some.”  Kelsey said as she winced.  “Of course it’s-ow-not as fast acting as-ow-the IV pain meds.”  She said.

“Well hopefully that will help.  I’ll check on you in a few hours.”  The nurse said.  She then walked out.

Balki walked to Kelsey’s bed.  “Kelsey are you going to be okay?”  Balki asked still concerned.

“I’m going to-ow-fine Balki.  Don’t you worry.”  Kelsey said as she winced.

“But Kelsey we going to be leaving in two days.  We were hoping you would be well and go home tomorrow.”  Larry said.

“Guys, don’t-ow-worry.  I’m going to be fi…”  She then drifted off to sleep.

“Well she went back to sleep which means I guess the pain pill must be working, but I am still worried.  What if the sickle cells sickle up again and the pain comes back?  I really want her to come home before we leave Cousin.”  Balki said.

“I know Balki.  I do too.”  Larry said as he took in a deep breath.  “This...this is a very intense disease.”  He said.

“Oh Cousin.”  Balki said as he dropped and hung his head.  “Cousin she just got to be feeling better by tomorrow.  She just GOT too!”  Balki stressed.

“Balki we have done all we can.  I’m afraid there is nothing more we can do.”  Larry said.

“Cousin!”  Balki said shocked.

“Balki I’m sorry but we have done all we can, prayed on it, thought positive thoughts, been there for her, there’s just nothing more we can do.”  Larry said.

“Cousin so you just giving up on Kelsey?”  Balki asked appalled.

“Balki of course not, but what else can we do?  Nothing much.  Now I suggest you get ready for us to get on a plane and go back home.”  Larry said as he went back over to the chair curled back up and went back to sleep.

Balki just let out a sigh and rolled his eyes at cousin.  He then turned around to Kelsey and just looked at her and pulled the blanket up to his neck.  “Kelsey you just have to be better tomorrow.  You just HAVE too.”  He whispered.

*************************

The next morning the sun rose, the birds were chirping, and the sky was clear.  Balki woke up to the sound of someone was in the bathroom.  He looked over and saw Larry still asleep in his chair.  His head quickly shot over to the bed.  It was empty.  “Kelsey!”  He said worried.

Just then the bathroom door opened.  “Hi Balki!”  Kelsey said as she carefully walked out pushing the IV pole.

“Kelsey!”  Balki said shocked.  He quickly got up and rushed over to her.  “Kelsey!  You’re up and walking!”  He said amazed.

“Yeah I am.”  She said with a smile.

“Here let me help you.”  He said offering his arm.

“Thank you Balki.”  She said still walking carefully.  He helped her back in bed.  “Thank you.”  She said.

“I - I can’t believe you are up and walking.  Why you didn’t call the nurse or ask me or Cousin Larry for help?”  He asked.

“Because I didn’t want to wake you and I felt I could do it on my own.”  Kelsey said.

“Well I am proud of you.”  Balki said.  “So how are your pain levels?”  He asked.

“My pain level is down to a 3.”  She said.

Balki gasped.  “That’s great!  That’s what the doctor said.  That means you in no pain.”  Balki said starting to get excited.

“Wait Balki, that means I’m in little to no pain.  I still have some but it’s not as bad as before.”  Kelsey said.

“Oh Kelsey that’s great!  Wait till Cousin Larry hear.  He’s going to be pleased as punch!”  Balki said.  He then rushed over to Larry.

“Wait Balki!  I don’t think you should-uh…”  Kelsey said trying to stop Balki but it was too late.  Balki was furiously shaking Larry.

“Cousin!  Cousin!”

“Uh, what?  What?  What?  What?”  Larry said as he woken up to be shaken.

“Cousin!  Cousin!”  Balki said still excited.

“Balki what is it?”  Larry said annoyed.

“Oh po po.  This is not going to be good.”  Kelsey said quietly to herself.

“Cousin, Kelsey pain levels are down to a 3!”  Balki said still excited.

“They are?”  Larry said shocked.

“Yep and she got up and went to the bathroom all by herself!”  Balki said still excited.

“She did?  That’s wonderful!”  Larry said.

“Yep now we so happy we do the Dance of Joy!”  Balki said.  Balki and Larry performed the Dance of Joy.

Just then the doctor walked in with Balki catching Larry in his arms on the last ‘hey.’  “Am I interrupting something?”  Dr. Culver asked with an eyebrow raised.

Balki and Larry eyed the doctor embarrassingly.  Kelsey softly giggled.

Dr. Culver walked over to Kelsey’s bedside as Balki put Larry down.  “Well hello Miss Brighton and how are we feeling?”  Dr. Culver asked.

“Oh better.”  Kelsey said.

“Good.  The night nurse told me you needed some pain medicine last night?”

“Yeah I did.”  She said. 

“And how did that help?”  He asked.

“It helped, I mean not as fast as the IV medicine but I did go back to sleep last night and slept most of the night.”  She said.

“And what is your pain level today?”  Dr. Culver asked.

Balki and Larry stood off quietly in the distance.

“It’s down to a 3.”  She said.

“Hmm that’s very good news, isn’t it?”  He said.

“Yes it is doctor.”  She said.

“Okay let me examine you.”  He said as he put the stethoscope in his ears.  He listened to her heart, looked in her mouth, up her nose, in her ears, pressed down on her stomach, and rubbed her glands.  He then began to bend her legs in all directions.  “Does that hurt?”  He asked while bending one leg.

“Uh uh.”  She said.

“Does this hurt?”  He asked while bending the other one.

Kelsey winced a little.  “Hmm, some.”  She said.

“Okay.”  He said as he gently placed it back down.  “And I heard you had something to eat too?”  He asked looking through her chart.

“Yes!  Yes she did!  I can 'pouch' for her!”  Balki said.

“Balki!”  Kelsey said through gritted teeth.

“Sorry doctor he didn’t mean to do that.”  Larry said laughing nervously.

“But Cousin all I was trying to do…”  Balki said as he tried to explain. 

“Shut up!  Shut up!  Shut…up!”  Larry empathically whispered.  “Please continue.”  Larry posing an embarrassed smile and offered.

“Uh thank you.”  Dr. Culver said.  He turned back to Kelsey.

“Well Dr. Culver?  Am I well enough to go home…maybe today?”  Kelsey asked.

“Well…”  Dr. Culver thought.

Balki and Larry held their breath slightly.  Kelsey leaned in with a hopeful look.

“Yes, I say all systems are a-go.  You may go home today.”  Dr. Culver said with a smile.

Kelsey smiled back.  Balki and Larry grabbed each other excitedly.

“I’ll go get your paperwork together.”  He said as he got up from the chair.  “You take it easy young lady.”  He said to Kelsey.

She shook her head.  “I will.”

He then walked over to Balki and Larry.  “I have to say out of my all patients you two have been something else.  It was a real pleasure meeting you guys. Two people I will never forget.”  Dr. Culver said.

“Thank you for all you done doctor.”  Larry said extending his hand out.

“It was my pleasure.  You got a strong spirited young lady over there.”  Dr. Culver said shaking Larry’s hand.

“Thank you doctor.”  Balki said as ran up to him and hugged him.

“Uhhh!”  Dr. Culver grunted as Balki gently squeezed him.  Larry embarrassingly looked away.  Balki let him go.  He walked out the room.

The guys rushed over to Kelsey’s bedside.  “Kelsey that’s great news!  You going home!”  Balki said excited.

“Yeah and not a moment too soon either.”  Kelsey said.

“Well we are happy for you Kelsey.”  Larry said.  Kelsey smiled.  “Well Balki let’s start getting Kelsey’s things together so when the nurse comes back to give Kelsey’s papers and take her IV out.”  He shuddered when he said that.  “She will be ready to go.”  Larry suggested.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said.  Balki and Larry began to gather Kelsey’s items together.

“Well I think that’s it.”  Larry said looking around.

“I think so too Cousin.”  Balki said.

“Now all we got to do is wait for them to bring in the paperwork and unhook me from this machine which seems like it take forever for them to come in here and do.”  Kelsey said.  “Sometimes it makes me think they have forgotten and that they are discharging me.”  She remarked.

“Well let’s hope they DON’T forget.”  Larry stressed.

“Well what to do now?”  Balki asked. 

“I would say I could get dressed but I still have this IV in my portacath or port for short.”  Kelsey said.

All sat quiet for a minute.  Larry impatiently began to look at his watch.  “Arggh!  Someone should’ve been here by now.”  He said impatiently.

“Patience Cousin.”  Balki said.  “This man has never had patience.”  Balki said turning to Kelsey.  “He gets upset when people crossing in the crossing walk.”  He said.

“No, Balki, have you seen some of those people that be crossing in crosswalk?  Some of those people are as young as you, or even Kelsey.  It seem like when they are crossing the street they have forgotten how to walk or how to pick up their feet.  And that’s what gets me frustrated, because they know they have the right of way and I can’t do nothing about it.”  Larry protested.

“But Cousin they only have two feet and you have four wheels.  I think speed rules out as beneficiary.”

Larry rubbed his head with frustration.  “Balki there are some things that you just don’t get or won’t get and I don’t want to waste the rest of my life on this Earth trying to prove them to you.  And where is the HECK is this nurse at?!” He said annoyed and upset.

Just then a nurse came in.  “Well someone is going home today!  That’s great!”  The nurse exclaimed.  “Now before I take your IV out how is your pain Kelsey?”  She asked.

“Ah, I’m in a little.  You think I can get a little to take the edge off?”  She asked.

“Sure, like one for the road?”  The nurse joked.

“Basically.”  Kelsey said.

“I think we can give you a shot of it through your IV?  One of them is going to be driving you right?”  The nurse asked.

“Yeah.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay.  I’ll be right back.”  The nurse left out the room and returned with a syringe and saline.  She then put the medicine through a tube and flushed it.  She then dispose the needles in the biohazard box.  “Now what you say we get that needle out your chest huh?”  She said.

Balki and Larry shuddered and tensed up when she said that.

“Sorry guys, a little privacy.”  She said as she pulled the curtain.

Balki and Larry unsure of what to do.  Just then Dr. Culver walked in.  “Ahhh there you guys are.”

A worried look formed over Larry’s face and his eyes grew wide.  “What?  What is it?  She’s not going home today?”

Dr. Culver chuckled, “No, no of course not, she’s going home today.  I wanted to give you guys these.”  Hands some booklets to Balki and Larry.

“What are these?”  Larry asked.

“Just pamphlets with more information about Sickle Cell: the disease itself, treatments, medicine, how to manage it, stuff like that.  Thought you guys may like to read up on it more.”

Balki gasped, “Oh wow!  Thank you Dr. Culver!”  Balki said as he hugged him and let him go.

Dr. Culver smiled as Balki and Larry were flipping through the pamphlets, “You are most welcome.  Miss Brighton is very grateful to have friends like you to join her in this battle.  Gives her a sense that’s she’s not alone and can continue her fight.  She’s a tough girl and with you guys behind her will make her tougher!”  Dr. Culver said.

“Well we really didn’t do much but be there for her.”  Larry said.

“And that little thing was the biggest thing you could do.  You guys have a safe trip back to Chicago."

“We will doctor and thank you for everything.”  Larry said.

“Yes thank you.”  Balki said.

“You guys take care.”  He said and then walked out.

“See Cousin the doctor complemented us on what a good job we been doing and you were ready to give up on Kelsey last night.”  Balki protested.

“Yeah, I guess I kind of was.”  Larry admits.  “I just hated seeing her like that.”  He said.

“I know Cousin, but that little bit of hope you had inside of you helped her pain levels go down and now she is going home!”  Balki exclaimed.

“Thank you Balki.”  Larry said feeling proud.  Just then Larry gasped.  “Balki I just thought of something.”  Larry said.

“What Cousin?”  Balki said.

“I think when we get back to Chicago my next article is going to be about Sickle Cell and informing everyone about this disease, not just in Chicago but everywhere raising awareness and maybe getting other people to help join the fight in battling this disease.”

“Cousin that is a brilliant idea!  I like it very much!”  Balki exclaimed.

Larry beamed with pride.

“Well she’s all done!  Not a prisoner anymore and tied down to the machines.”  The nurse said as pulled the curtain back.  Balki and Larry smiled.  “Kelsey you can start getting dressed and I’ll be back with your discharge papers and prescriptions."  She discarded the needle into the biohazard box and walked out.

“Kelsey you going to be okay getting dressed?”  Balki asked.

“I should be fine Balki, thanks.”  Kelsey said as she slowly got up.

“Well we will be right outside the door if you need us.”  Larry said.

“Thanks Larry.”  She said as she carefully walked to the bathroom to change.

“Cousin I’m so excited Kelsey is coming home today.”  Balki said.

“Me too, I just hate it’s the day before we’re going back to Chicago.”  Larry said.

“Yeah Cousin but she could be going home tomorrow, the day before us going back to Chicago.”  Balki said.

“Yeah, that’s true.  I just hope she will be able to take care of herself and be okay after we leave.”  Larry said.

“Cousin don’t worry we’ll call and check on her.”  Balki said.

Just then Kelsey came out the bathroom.

“Kelsey you doing okay?”  Larry asked.

“Yeah I’m fine.”  She said as she slowly walked over to the chair.  Balki went over to help her.  She carefully sat down.  Just then the nurse came in.

“Well Miss Brighton these are your official walking papers.  You are free to go.”  The nurse said.

“Thank you.”  She said as she took them.

“No problem.  Do you need anything else?”  She asked.

“Maybe a wheelchair?”  She asked.

“Sure thing.”  She said.  She walked out and came back in with a wheelchair.

“Thank you.”  Kelsey said.

“You’re welcome.  Take care okay and get well.”  She said.  She then walked out.

“Well Kelsey, we’re ready when you are.”  Balki said.

“Well I guess I’m ready.”  She said.  She carefully got up and got into the wheelchair.  “We have everything?”  She asked.

“I think so.”  Balki asked.

“Wait, Mickey and Dimitri are still in the bed."  She said.  Balki went and got them.  Now we are ready to go.”  Kelsey said.

Larry put the bag over his shoulder.  “Well let’s go.”  He said.  They all walked out in tow.

*************************

They arrived back at Kelsey’s condo.  “We’re here!”  Balki said.

“Bet you thought you would never see this place again eh Kelsey?”  Larry asked.

“In a way it felt like it.”  Kelsey said.

“Well let’s get you in and settled down.”  Larry said.

Kelsey unlocked the door.  Mushu and Balki happily met them at the door.  “There my babies are!  Did you miss me?”  She said in a baby voice.

The three of them all walked in.  Larry sat Kelsey’s bag down while Balki carefully helped Kelsey over to the sofa and helped her sit down.  He then gently put her feet up and covered her up with a blanket.

“Thank you Balki.”  She said.  Mushu and Balki jumped on the sofa and repeatedly licked her.  “Okay!  Okay!  I’m happy to see you guys too!”  She said as she giggled.

Balki and Larry both took a seat on the sofa as well.  “Kelsey you need anything right now?  Something to drink?  Some medicine?  Something to eat?”  Balki asked.

“No thank you Balki, I’m fine now.”  She said.

“Okay, how is your pain levels?”  He asked.

Kelsey giggled.  “My pain ‘levels’ are fine now.  Nothing above a 5.”

“Okay good, let us know if they do.”  He said.

“I sure will.”  She said.

Larry let out a tiring sigh.  “Well this has been one interesting vacation.”  He said.

“Yeah I bet this is one vacation you guys will never forget.”  Kelsey said.

“Nope you can definitely say that.”  Larry said.

“Once again I’m sorry it didn’t go as planned.  I had really wanted it too.”  Kelsey said.

“Kelsey you now stop it.  We just happy that you are home and feeling better.”  Balki said.

“Thanks Balki.”  Kelsey said.  Balki smiled.  “Well since this is you guys’ last night, I want to do something special.”  Kelsey said.

“Kelsey no!  You need to be resting.”  Balki quipped.

“Balki it’s you guys’ last night!  I have to and want to do something.  We haven’t gotten a chance to do much of nothing else.  Plus I’m fine right now.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay but what can we do?  It’s getting late and we have to be at the airport early and we don’t want you doing nothing too strenuous.”  Larry said.

“I don’t know.”  Kelsey said as she began to think.  “I know!  I can order us some pizza and we can bake cookies and have a Three Stooges marathon.  I have the whole collection of their shorts.  All 190 of them in chronological order.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay that sounds good, but I don’t think we can watch all 190 of them.  We can watch most of the Curly era and maybe a little of the Shemp era.”  Larry said.

Kelsey giggled.  “Larry I wasn’t planning on watching all of them.  Just a few hours’ worth.”  She said.

“Okay.”  Larry said.

“Okay, now let me order the pizzas.”  She said reaching for her call-out menus and a pen and pad.  “Balki, what kind of pizza you want?”  Kelsey asked.

“They don’t have pig snout pizza do they?”  He asked.

“Hmm, no I don’t think so.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay, well sausage and pepperoni for me.”  Balki said.

“Ok so make that two.”  She said writing it down.  “Larry?”  She asked.

“I’ll take pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, black olives, and mushrooms.”  Larry said.

Kelsey scrunched her nose up as she wrote the toppings down.  “Yuck!”  She said.

“Yeah he’s weird like that.”  Balki said in a low tone to Kelsey.  Larry kind of heard what Balki said giving a hurtful look.  “Cousin you think you going to be okay eating those peppers?  You know how they mess with your stomach.”  Balki reminded him.

“Balki I’ll be fine and I have my Maalox just in case.”  Larry assured him.

“Okay, why don’t I just order one large pizza, one half for Balki and I and the other half for topped over Larry.”  Kelsey suggested then giggled.

“Cute Kelsey.”  Larry said sarcastically.

“Okay, let me call LA-Mo’s.”  Kelsey said as she got on the phone and call the pizza in.  She then hung up.  “Okay they said about 30 minutes, so I’m going to go change into my pajamas and then we can start making the cookies and start our marathon."

“Yay!!”  Balki said excitedly.  He then tried to do an eye poke to Larry but Larry blocked it with his hand.

Kelsey giggled then carefully got up.  “Be careful Kelsey.”  Larry said.

She winced a little.  “I will Larry.”  As she picked up her bag and went into her room.  Balki and Larry made sure she made it to her room.

“Well Balki, while she is doing that why don’t we get packed so we won’t have to in the morning or have to be rushing.”  Larry suggested.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said.

They both got up and went to their rooms and began to pack.  Larry neatly folded his clothes back in his suitcase.  “I hate I didn’t get to wear none of my other clothes I brought.”  He said as he neatly folded them back up.

Balki as well was packing his suitcase.  When they were done they both walked out at the same time.  “You all done Balki?”  Larry asked.

“Yep Cousin, I packed everything back up.  Except Dimitri.  He said he didn’t want to go into that stuffy bag.  He wouldn’t be able to breathe and plus he said he wanted to watch some of the Three Stooges marathon and to make sure Kelsey is okay.”  Balki said.

“Of course he said that Balki.”  Larry said rolling his eyes.

Just then Kelsey walked out her room in some loungeful Mickey Mouse pajamas.  “Hey guys, you ready to make some cookies?”  She asked still kind of limping.

“Yes we are but are you sure you’re going to be able to do it?”  Larry asked.

“Of course Larry.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay but if you start not to feel well let us know.”  Larry said.

“I will.  Let’s get started.”  She said as she started making her way to the kitchen.  “Okay, we need a mixing bowl.”  She said as she pulled it out.  “Some flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda, chocolate chips and walnuts.”  Kelsey said as she gathered all the ingredients.

“Okay, let’s start making the dough.”  She said.  They all put the ingredients in the bowl and mixed them.  “Now let’s roll out the dough.”  She said.  She sprinkled some flour on the board and got out her rolling pin.  “You guys do that while I turn on the oven?”  She said.

Balki and Larry rolled the dough.  Balki began to hum the bibbibaka ditty.  “Balki can you not do that?”  Larry said.

“But Cousin I am rolling out the dough.”  Balki said.

“I know but we’re not making bibbibakas, we’re making cookies.”  Larry said.

“But Cousin this makes it more fun.”  Balki whined.

“Balki this is not the time to be doing the ditty.”  Larry said starting to get annoyed.

“But Cousin I want to hum the ditty.”  Balki whined.

“But I don’t want you too.”  Larry said.

“But I do!”

“Guys?!  Guys?!  What’s going on over here?”  Kelsey said as she went over to break up the debacle.

“I want to hum the Bibbibaka Ditty and Cousin Larry won’t let me!”  Balki cried.

“Larry why won’t you let him hum the ditty?”  Kelsey asked.

“Because there is no reason for him to hum the ditty.  We’re making cookies here not bibbibakas.”  Larry stressed.

“See?!”  Balki cried.

“But Larry he’s humming it, not singing it.”  Kelsey explained.  “Just let him hum it.”  She said.

“But there’s no need for him too.”  Larry stressed.

“Okay tell you what, Balki you hum it really softly to yourself and Larry you try to block it out and don’t pay any attention.  Okay?”  Kelsey said.

Balki and Larry just looked at each other.  “Okay now let’s get back to making cookies.”  She said.

The guys resumed to making the cookies and following the orders Kelsey just gave them.  “Kelsey the dough is already and rolled out.”  Balki said.

“Great!  Good job guys!  Now let’s shape them with the cookie cutters.”  She said.

She pulled out a whole case of cookie cutters and a decorating kit.  “This have over 150 cookie cutters in it!  So dig in and find your fa-vah-rite shapes.”  Kelsey said.  They all began to go through the bunch.

“Look Cousin!  I found one the shape of a lamb!  Looks like Dimitri when he was a baby!  And one of a goat!”  Balki exclaimed as he cut them out.

“Wow that’s great Balki!  I found one the shape of a tie and camera!”  Larry said as he cut them out.

“Cool Cousin! I found one the shape of a vest!”  Balki said as he cut it out.

“And of course I found one the shape of Mickey Mouse head.”  Kelsey said cutting hers out.  “Oh and here’s one in shape of a heart.”  She giggled.

“I found one the shape of a palm tree.”  Larry said cutting it out.

“And I found one the shape of…”  Balki began then he stopped.

“What is it Balki?”  Kelsey said.

“…A sickle cell.”  Balki said as held up a crescent shaped cookie cutter.  “These are what your cells look like?”  Balki asked curiously.

“Yeah Balki, those are what sickle cells look like.  And this is what the shape of a normal blood cell look like.”  She said as she held up a round shape cutter.

“Like a doughnut?”  Balki asked.

“Well yeah you can think of it like that.”  She giggled.

There was a knock at the door.  “Oh that must be the pizza.  I’ll be right back.”  She said as she carefully walked away.

“Cousin I’m going to make a cookie in shape of a sickle cell, in honor of Kelsey.”  Balki said.

“That’s a great idea Balki, I think I am going to do the same when you are done.”  Larry said.

“Okay.”  Balki said then cut the cookie shape out.  “Here you go Cousin.”  He said handing him the cookie cutter.

“Thank you Balki.”  Larry said.  He then cut his out as well.

“There.”  Balki said.  “Cousin this a special cookie.”  He said admiring it.

“Balki how can a cookie be special?  It’s just a cookie.”  Larry said beginning to decorate them.

“Cousin it’s special because Kelsey is special.  This is what she has to live with and go through with just about every day of her life and the shape of this cookie represents that.”  Balki explained as he decorated too.

“Okay Balki, whatever you say.”  Larry sighed not really understanding Balki’s metaphor.  “Well Balki I think we’re done.”  Larry said.

“I think so Cousin.”  Balki said.

“I’ll just put all the cookies on the cookie sheet and put them in the oven.”  Larry said.  He slid the cookies in the oven.

“Well the pizza is here.”  Kelsey said limped back in the room.

“Kelsey why didn’t you let us know?  We could’ve helped out.”  Larry said.

“Oh Larry it’s okay, it was just one pizza.”  Kelsey said.

“Well Kelsey the cookies are in the oven.”  Balki said.

“Great.”  She said.

“What you want us to set the timer for?”  Larry asked.

“For the cookies to be soft, 10-12 minutes.”  Kelsey said.

“Okay.”  Larry said as he set the timer.

“Can you guys get the refreshments together while I’ll get the blankets and I also need to take some pain medicine too?”  Kelsey said.

“Sure Kelsey.”  Balki said.

“Thanks guys.”  She said as she limped out.

“Cousin it looks like Kelsey is not starting to feel well again.”  Balki said getting some glasses out.

“Yeah because she’s doing too much.  She needs to be resting.”  Larry said getting some lemonade out the fridge.

“Yeah.”  Balki agreed.

Larry poured the lemonade into the glasses.  “But she is going to rest while we are watching the marathon.”  Larry demanded.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said getting some plates out.

“Okay guys the player is set and ready to go!”  Kelsey called out.

“Great and the refreshments are ready too.”  Larry said as he and Balki walked into the living room with the refreshments.

“Alright!  Let’s get this marathon started.”  Kelsey said. 

“Okay, but first you on the sofa young lady.”  Larry demanded.

“But Larry I want to lay out on the floor with you guys.”  Kelsey whined.

“Kelsey you’re still not well enough and you have been doing too much as it is.  Balki and I would feel better if you were on the sofa.  Please?”  Larry asked.

Kelsey sighed.  “Okay.”  She climbed on the sofa and Balki covered her with his Myposian blanket and fluffed her pillows for her and put Dimitri by her side.

“There.  Are you comfy?”  Balki asked. 

“Yeah, I am.”  Kelsey said.

“Good.”  He said.  He then got a plate and put a slice of pizza on it for her and handed it to her with a glass of lemonade.  “For you.”  Balki said.

Kelsey took it.  “Thank you Balki.”  She said.

“You’re welcome.”  He replied.  He then got a plate and put a slice of pizza on it for Larry and handed him a glass of lemonade.  “Here you go Cousin.”  Balki said.

Larry took it.  “Thank you Balki.”  Larry said.

Lastly he got a slice for himself and a glass of lemonade.  “Thank you Balki.”  Balki said thanking himself.

“Balki I don’t think you need to thank yourself.”  Larry said.

“But Cousin I think it’s considerate that I thank myself.  It shows I have manners.”  Balki said as he took a seat on the floor on the opposite side of Larry.  Larry just shook his head.

“Okay guys let’s get this marathon started.”  Kelsey said as she pressed play on the remote.  The Three Stooges theme began to play.  They watched and laughed.

All of a sudden the timer went off.  “That must be the cookies.  I’ll go get them.”  Larry said.  He went into the kitchen and took the cookies out and turned the oven off.  He walked back into the living room where Kelsey and Balki were still laughing.

Balki saw Larry walk back in.  “Cousin where are the cookies?”  Balki asked.

“Balki they have to cool off.  Give it about 5-10 minutes.”  Larry said taking a seat back on the floor.

“Okay.”  Balki groaned.

They all continued to watch and laugh.  “Well the first disc is over.”  Kelsey said.

“I’ll put in the next disc.”  Balki said as he got up and changed the disc.

They all sat and watched and laughed hysterically at the TV.

“Balki I think the cookies are ready, you want to help me with them?”  Larry asked.

“Sure Cousin.”  Balki said as he got up.  “We’ll be right back Kelsey.”  Balki said.

“Okay.”  She said.

“Cousin the cookies came out great.”  Balki said admiring them.

“Yep I must have to admit we did a good job with them.”  Larry said beaming with pride.

“We sure did Cousin.”  Balki said.

“Come on, let’s take Kelsey a cookie.”  Larry said putting the cookies on a plate.  “Hey Kelsey the cookies came out great you want… one…?”  Larry said as he walked into the living room with the cookies in hand and discovered the sight in front of him.  Balki discovered it too.  Kelsey had fell asleep.

“Cousin, Kelsey has fallen asleep.”  Balki said shocked.

“Well Balki she needed it.”  Larry said setting the plate down and turning the television down.

Balki went over and covered her up some more.  “I guess her pain medicine got to her.”  Balki said.

“Maybe so Balki but at least she’s now resting.”  Larry said.

“Well Cousin now what?  We can finish watching the marathon.”  Balki said.

“No Balki I think we need to store the cookies away and go to bed ourselves.  We got to be at the airport early in the morning.”  Larry said.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said sadly with the thought of them having to go back to Chicago.

Balki and Larry stored the cookies away and cleaned the kitchen up.  Balki went back into the living room.  Larry began to head to his room.

“Balki aren’t you coming to bed?”  Larry asked.

“No Cousin, I think I’m going to sleep out here with Kelsey.”  Balki said making him a little cot on the floor.

“Balki are you going to be okay sleeping out on the floor like that?”  Balki asked.

“Well of course I will, don’t be ridiculous.  I’m a sheepherder.  We’re use to sleeping on the ground.”  Balki said.

“Okay, but Balki remember we have to be up early in the morning, hmm?”  Larry warned him.

“I know Cousin.”  Balki replied.

“Okay, goodnight Balki.”  Larry said.

“Goodnight Cousin.”  Balki replied.

Larry went into his room.  Balki pulled the blanket up to him and curled up.  The dogs came over and laid next to him.  He then turned to Kelsey.  “Goodnight Kelsey.”  He whispered.  Then he turned back around facing the television watching it a little bit, then he drifted off to sleep.

*************************

“Balki?  Balki?  It’s time to wake up.”  Said this soft, sweet, angelic voice.

“Hmmm?”  Balki said sleepy and barely moved.

“Come on Balki it’s time to get up.”  Said the soft, sweet voice again.

Balki still didn’t move.

“Come on Balki, it’s time to get up!  We going to miss our plane!  Balki!”  Said this yelling, harsh voice.

Balki’s eyes popped opened.  He then realized where he was at and who the yelling, harsh voice was.

“Balki!”  Larry yelled again.

Balki looked up and saw Larry and Kelsey hovering over him.

“Hi Cousin.”  Balki said.

“Don’t ‘hi Cousin’ me Balki!  Get up!  We need to get going soon!”  Larry stressed.

Balki threw the covers back, climbed up off the floor rubbing his eyes.  “Kelsey are you okay?  How you feeling?”  Balki asked.

“I’m better Balki, but how did you end up on the floor?  Why didn’t you sleep in your bed?”  Kelsey asked.

“Kelsey you don’t remember?  The cookies finally finished cooling off and Cousin Larry and I went to go get them and when we came back with them you had fallen asleep.  Cousin Larry went to go sleep in his room, but I decided to sleep out here with you.”  Balki explained.

“Oh okay.  I guess my pain medicine had put me to sleep.”  She said as she folded the blankets up.

“Yeah, it did.”  Balki said.  “I hate we are leaving today.”  He said sadly.

“Aww Balki, I’m sad and hate it too.  I wish I could turn back the hands of time and make this week like it should have gone.”  Kelsey said.

“Me too, but I’m glad you are feeling better and was able come home the day before we were supposed to leave.”  Balki said.

“Aww thank you Balki.  You and Larry being there for me helped a lot.”  Kelsey said.

“Aww go on with you.”  Balki said as he playfully pushed her away.  Kelsey giggled.  “Kelsey?  You think we will still be able to do the fun things that we have done in the past?”  Balki asked.

“Of course we can and will Balki.  I’m still the same Kelsey.  Nothing about me has changed, except now you guys know I have a medical condition.  I am still same ole Kelsey Brighton.  So don’t think of me as any different as you did before.  Okay?”  She said as she smiled.

“Okay.”  Balki said.

Larry came out into the living room / dining area.  “Balki go get ready.  We have to be leaving soon.”  Larry said.

“Okay Cousin.”  Balki said and walked to the back to the bathroom.

“Kelsey I wanted to thank you for your hospitality.”  Larry said.

“Oh Larry, you don’t have to thank me.  It’s just like the way you guys treat me when I come to your apartment.  My condo, your condo.  I’m just still sorry for the circumstances-.”

“Now Kelsey stop it.  You’re home, well, that’s all that matters.  And Balki and I know more about Sickle Cell now too.”  Larry said.

“Well that’s a good thing, because a lot of people don’t.”  Kelsey said.  “I hope you guys enjoyed you’re ‘last night in LA special’.”  She said.

“We did.  I think Balki enjoyed it more.”  Larry said as he laughed.

“But I noticed you guys didn’t eat any cookies.  Why not?”  She asked.

“I guess because after you fell asleep on us and we cleaned up the kitchen we just didn’t think about eating any.”  Larry said.

“Well I put them in a bag for you and Balki to maybe have a snack on the plane if you want.”  Kelsey said as she held up the sandwich bag.

“Thank you Kels.”  Larry said.

Balki comes into the area where they with his suitcase and shoulder bag.  “Well I’m ready.”  He said.

“Yeah it looks like you guys certainly are.”  She said as she sighed.

“This is always the hard part.”  Larry said.

“And the most hurtful too.”  She said not trying to cry.  “Almost as bad as a sickle cell crisis.”  She sniffed.

“Aww Kelsey don’t cry or I’m going too.”  Balki said.

She chuckled wiping the tears away.  “We certainly don’t want that.”

“Balki look, Kelsey gave us the cookies to take with us on the plane.”  Larry said as he held up the cookies.

“Oh, thank you Kelsey.”  Balki said as he smiled.

“You’re welcome.”  She said as she smiled back.  “Now Kelsey make sure you take care of yourself after we leave, make sure you eat something, drink plenty of liquids, be careful of extreme activities, rest, and if you are in pain take some medicine.”  Balki ordered.

“I will.  Jeez you find out a person has sickle cell and boom you facing judgment day.”  She cried.

“Kelsey we just want to make sure you stay well.”  Larry said.

“I know, I’m just joking.”  She said.

“And we are going to call you as soon as we get home to check on you and let you know we made it back safely.”  Balki said.

“Okay Balki, I appreciate that.”  Kelsey said.

Just then the dogs walked up to the guys and rubbed their heads against their legs.  “Aww, you're going to have two four-legged friends that are going to miss you deeply when you guys leave.”  Kelsey said.

Balki stooped down and rubbed their ears.  “Aww we going to miss them too.”  The dogs began to lick Balki’s face.  “But we will be back.  Right Cousin?”  Balki asked.

Larry stooped down and petted the dogs.  “Well of course we will.”  He said in a friendly voice.  The dogs began to lick Larry’s face.

“Well come on guys, let get you to the airport before the dogs melt you more and we have to wait another day for you guys to become solid again and while I got the urge to take you the airport.”  She joked.

“Okay.”  Balki said sadly.  Balki and Larry picked up their bags and pulled their suitcases.  They all walked out the door in tow.

*************************

Larry unlocked the door to their apartment and they walked in.  Larry let out a sigh.  “Well everything still looks the same.”  He said as he put his bag down and looked around.

“Well of course it does, don’t be ridiculous, this our apartment.  How else would it look like?”  Balki said as he shut the door and put his bag down.

Larry just shook his head.  “I am worn out.”  Larry said as he flopped down on the sofa.

“Me too.”  Balki said as he did the same.  “I wonder how Kelsey is doing.”  He thought.

“Well we said we were going call her to let her know we are home safely and see how she is doing.”  Larry reminded Balki.

“You’re right Cousin.”  Balki said as he got up and went over to the phone.  He dialed Kelsey’s number.  It began to ring.

“Hello?”  Kelsey said as she answered.

“Hi Kelsey I was just calling to let you know Cousin Larry and I are home safe and sound.”  Balki said.

“Oh that’s great.  I’m glad to hear you guys made it back safely.  I hope your flight smooth.  I miss you guys already and the dogs do too.  They are looking for you two.”  She giggled.

“Aww we miss you all too.  How are you feeling?  No sickle cells around are they?”  She giggled.

“I’m in just a little pain, but the pain level is just at a one.  No biggi dealki.”  She said.

“Well don’t let it go no higher than that.  Sickle cells are not our friends.”  Balki ordered.

“I’ll try not to.”  She said then giggled.

“Okay.”  Balki said.

“So where is Larry?  Does he have jet lagged?”  She asked.

“No he’s on the sofa.”  Balki said.

“Tell him I said hi.”  She said.

“I will.”  Balki said.

“I just want to thank you guys once again for all you did and for being there for me and sticking by me.  You guys are the best and I love you guys and don’t know what I would do without you.”  Kelsey said.

“Aww, it was nothing, we love you to Kelsey, just do us a favor?”  Balki asked.

“What’s that Balki?”  She asked.

“Don’t be afraid to tell us anything.  We love you and care for you.  I know it may be harder to do with Cousin Larry because of his panic modes.”

Larry heard what Balki said, his eyes grew wide and looked shocked at Balki.  Balki saw Larry’s face but didn’t pay him no mind and continued to talk, “But I can take news better than he can.”  Balki continued.

“Okay Balki.  I’ll remember that.”  Kelsey said.  “Well I’m going to let you guys go and get unpacked, get settled in, and get some rest.  I know you guys are pretty beat.”  She said.

“A little, but it’s all worth it knowing you’re feeling better.”  Balki said.

Kelsey let out a smile over the phone.  “Thanks Balki.”

“We will call and check on you tomorrow.  Remember my instructions.”  Balki ordered.

“I will Balki.”  Kelsey said.  “Bye!”  Kelsey said as she hung up the phone.

“Bye Kelsey!”  Balki said as he did the same.  “Well Cousin, Kelsey is still feeling good.  She said she’s in a little pain but her pain levels are not high.”  Balki said as he went over and sat down on the sofa.

“Well that’s a relief to hear.”  Larry said as he was going on the pamphlet Dr. Culver had given them.

“So Cousin you reading up more on sickle cell?”  Balki asked.

“Yeah, this disease is something else.  It’s a shame that people like Kelsey have to suffer with it and deal with all the treatment they have to go through and there’s no cure for it.”  Larry said.

“It’s like they have to live two different lives.”  Balki added.

Larry looked at Balki.  “Yeah kind of like that, Balki.”  Larry said.

“But it’s also good to have people like us in their lives too.  They know they are not alone.”  Balki said.

“Yep.”  Larry said.  “Balki I can’t wait to this article about it.”  Larry excited.

“Cousin, maybe we can open up a Sickle Cell information center.”  Balki said getting excited.

“Balki, I think that’s going a little too far.”  Larry said stopping him from getting too excited.

“Oh, okay.”  Balki said sadly.

“But the article is going to help out a lot.  It’s going to give out a lot of information it.  Maybe we can do other things to raise awareness about it.”  Larry said bringing his spirits up.

“I like that Cousin!”  Balki said as he smiled.

“Come on Balki, let’s get ready and go to bed.”  Larry said.

“Cousin what about us unpacking?”  Balki asked.

“We can do it tomorrow, I’m exhausted and you’re exhausted.  This vacation didn’t allow us to relax.”  Larry said getting up off the sofa.

“Okay.  Cousin, can I just say something right quick?”  Balki asked stopping Larry.

“What?”  Larry annoyed.

“I just want to thank you, did a wonderful job getting Kelsey to the hospital and finding out what was wrong with her and staying by her side.  She greatly appreciates that and will be forever indebted to you and so will I.  You made this Mypiot very proud.”  Balki said.

“Thank you Balki, that means a lot to me.”  Larry said as he smiled.

“And you didn’t faint or anything!  That’s a major improvement!”  Balki said reminding Larry of how he would normally act in any intense situations.  He then pick up his shoulder bag and took off to his room.

Larry just stood in the middle of the room with his face dropped.  All the hype that Balki built up in him quickly faded away.  He then remembered the cookies Kelsey gave them when they left.  The one shaped and looked like a sickle cell was still left.  He looked at it and then smiled.

“Balki’s right, this cookie is special, just like Kelsey.  That’s a special, tough young girl.”  He said as he picked up his bag and took the cookie with him into his room.

The End