A mother always should know best when it comes to their child, Dana Sherbrook thought. After all, what person would know a child better than the parents? But Dana's life was full of sleepless nights, mounting medical bills, and a constant fear whenever her daughter was out of sight more than a few minutes.
Would she be okay? Would she need anything? Would she have an accident?
Every time her children started a new school year, Dana was always on the phone with the school nurse, talking to the nurse about her daughter's multiple conditions. "She shouldn't have too much physical activity without a watchful eye," would be the most often given advice. And often, questions followed the advice, questions like, "Will a teacher be able to take her to the nurse's office if worse comes to worst?" or "Will she be okay to walk around on her own?"
That was what happened when Dana's two youngest children were to be starting high school. She wasn't worried about Saxon; he had always been an independent boy and got along fine on his own. It was his twin sister, Harper, she was worried about. The only solace she received was that Harper wasn't alone: Obviously, Saxon would be going to the same school, and they even had two classes together. But she also had her older sister, Gabriella, going to the same school as a junior.
Maybe Gabriella was a bit absent minded, but even she knew how to care for her younger sister. After all, the medical problems that Harper faced on a daily basis had been present even prior to her birth.
The thing that perplexed Dana and her husband, Immanuel, was the fact that while Harper required over ten doctor visits a year, her twin brother, Saxon, was a beacon of health. Gabriella, too, didn't seem to have any medical problems. So what had caused the problems in their youngest child—especially since her own twin was perfect, in terms of health?
Although Dana wasn't exactly a perfect picture of health—she had been told at a young age that having children would be difficult—doctors just couldn't figure out why Harper had so many medical problems. In fact, her small body was so full of problems that if Dana or Immanuel suddenly lost their respective job, the family just wouldn't know where to turn for funds for their daughter.
"I want to go to Disney World," Gabriella announced.
"We'll see," was always the answer that Dana gave. How were they to afford a vacation like that when just making ends meet was difficult enough?
"We never get to do anything fun!" Gabriella huffed.
"Family camp," Dana said.
"Even that's not fun. We can't even have hamburgers on the cookout nights because of Harper's heart. And when everyone else is going on a hike, we're always at the back because she can't go fast."
"It's not your sister's fault," Dana reminded, but she felt for her daughter. Even at the camp for other families with the same condition, they were pitied. It was hard for them to be the envy of anyone anymore—at first glance, the Sherbrooks looked like the perfect family. Immanuel, tall and handsome; Dana, young and lively; and three perfect children like Gabriella, Saxon, and Harper.
"I just wish that everything we do doesn't revolve around her," Gabriella snapped.
Dana sighed; she wished the same things sometimes. Having to say 'no' to her daughter when she wanted to play soccer, for fear her heart wasn't strong enough; trying to explain that she'd never have children as a result of Turner syndrome; denying requests for candies and soda because her internal sugar was too high.
But the Sherbrook family was far from perfect, and had been so ever since a karyotype during Dana's second pregnancy came back with disastrous results.
Doctor Amelia Shay was a nice woman. But even she had a hard time breaking the news to Immanuel and Dana that their daughter had Turner syndrome, along with congenital heart defects, a common complication of the disease. One of these defects could be life threatening, she said, and would require surgery immediately after birth to correct. If Dana wanted to, Doctor Shay said, she could have an abortion with the affected twin, which was known to the Sherbrook family and the doctor as 'twin two'.
But Dana refused, saying that any life was worth living. As soon as Immanuel cut the umbilical cord of his daughter, she was whisked away, given an Apgar score of four, and was prepped for surgery on her right ventricle and pulmonary artery. The doctors told Dana and Immanuel that though the surgery was successful, the baby would require blood thinners.
They named the little girl Harper Grace as a symbol of how she was a blessing to the family. Her brother was named Saxon Caine as way of showing their faith—both in the Lord and in their faith that their children were going to be living long and healthy lives.
However, even though little Harper's life was prolonged with her surgery, doctors found other problems that were complications of Turner syndrome as well. At birth they discovered a heart murmur. Another run of tests showed that Harper had hearing problems and would require ITC hearing aids to make sure she got the most out of life.
That still wasn't the end of the Sherbrook family's problems. Later on, they found that she had type one diabetes. Harper was also found to be far behind her class in terms of her reading level. A trip to the family pediatrician, Doctor Nunez, showed that she had dyslexia.
Not only did Harper require the twice a year doctor visits that were common with children, she also had two endocrinologists, both of which saw her four times a year each. Then there was the audiologist that they saw a few times a year as well. Occasionally, her standard pediatrician would call the family in for tests on the girl's heart, too. The amount of medical bills that started piling up was astounding.
Dana and Immanuel would receive many sympathetic looks from other families from having to check Harper's glucose in public or for adjusting her hearing aids, sometimes even for having to help her read signs and menus. But Dana never regretted her decision to go through with the pregnancy and she loved her daughter no less than her other children.
When Harper and Saxon were starting high school, Dana's worrisome side went into overdrive. She was on the phone with the school nurse night in and night out to be sure that nothing happened to her little girl ("Doctor Megan said she has to have a sugar level of at least 120 before she can do physical exercise." "Make sure she sees you before she goes to lunch to check her sugar and blood pressure." "If she needs blood thinners, I'll be sure to send her to your office."). Soon, she had the school's phone number memorized.
Saxon was glad that he wouldn't have to spend every class with his twin sister, which was opposed to elementary school and junior high, when Dana was sure that they would always be together. However, in high school, when their different interests and needs were just too poignant to ignore, Dana knew that enough was enough. Saxon and Harper would have one class and lunch at the same time, and that was it.
A week before the end of summer, Dana and Immanuel dragged Harper to the school and showed her to each of the teachers, telling them that their daughter Harper had a bad heart and diabetes. They said that it was due to Turner syndrome, that she had dyslexia, and her hearing wasn't as sharp as the other students they watched over. But they also warned to watch out for their little girl and make sure that nothing happened to her. "She's a special girl," they told the teachers. And to Mrs. Parker, the teacher that had Saxon in the same class, they said that she could, unlike her colleagues, relax her grip over the girl—her brother would be there in case of dire circumstances.
This was what was considered 'normal' for the Sherbrook family. The only problem, however, was that the Sherbrook family was anything but normal, and that became evident on their twins' sixteenth birthday.
That was the day that they were sued for their daughter's birth…by their own daughter.
Hihi! So this is a story idea I've had for a while now, and just got around to writing. The idea started in the fact that I am a type one diabetic myself, and my mom is always harping me (no pun intended) to write a story about diabetes, since I want to be an author. So I wrote this, since I wanted the focus of the story to be an ill child suing her parents, and I figured that diabetes wasn't enough of a problem to sue…though I think I kind of went overboard with the illnesses, it was better to be safe than sorry, right? Please review, that's what motivates me to write this!