| Moonwalk |

Moonwalk: Chapter 6

“If the colonoscopy came back clear, then what’s wrong with me?”


As told to Rochel Samet

Iwake up to the smell. Strange-smelling air, straight up my nose through a tube. Hospital.

At first, I just blink in the stark white light. Then a blur of voices register. Ma, Ta, the nurse who called me “honey.”

There’s a sudden upsurge in the noise, the faces move, and I see Dr. What’s-his-name, who did the test. He has a deep voice and a stern face, like I’ve done something wrong.

“Well, Liba,” he says, pronouncing it Lie-bah. “Your colonoscopy has come back clear.”

I look at him, trying to process.

Ma takes my hand. “It’s okay, Libby. The test is fine, you’re okay.”

There’s a pit in my stomach, and it’s not just because I haven’t eaten in maybe 40 hours.

I close my eyes. The doctor is still talking, saying something about restricting my diet, trying to find the cause of the trouble. The words float above my head. I can’t concentrate.

“Would you like some juice, honey?” says the nurse, tapping me on my arm right next to the IV needle.

“Yeah. Apple. Thanks.” My voice is thick. I cough hard and immediately, my head aches.

The nurse sticks a straw near my mouth, but keeps a hold on the cup of juice as if I can’t hold it myself. I struggle into a better position and take it from her.

“How are you feeling, Libby?” asks Ma, edging up beside the nurse.

“Uh... okay,” I say, between sips. Actually, I’m starving and woozy and scared I’ll black out. “I just wanna sleep,” I mumble.


I take another breath and nearly gag. The apple juice is too sweet.

“No. Home. Please. Just take me home.”





Ari knocks on my door late afternoon. “Ma wants to know how you’re feeling,” he tells me importantly. “And if you wanna drink or something.”

“Tells her thanks.” I try to sit up. It’s six-thirty already? How did the day pass so fast? I need to eat something. “Yeah, bring me melba toast, maybe?”

Sara’s next to visit, slipping timidly into my room. She looks nervous.

“Ma sent this. You can’t have the melba toast ’cuz the doctor said to go off glue-something.”

“Gluten… oh my goodness. I totally forgot.”

Gluten, and dairy, and sugar. Life is not worth living.

“Maaaaaa…” I moan when she comes up to collect the half-full veggie platter. “Will I ever to able to eat, like, normal food?!”

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” she says, avoiding the question. “Hopefully this will help you feel better.”

I scowl. “Right. I’ll get better and starve to death. What, exactly, can I eat?”

Ma has a pained look in her eyes. I was so mad a minute ago, but now I feel horrible. It’s not her fault. “I can make you an omelette if you like… or some chicken, or a fruit? Tomorrow I’ll pick up gluten-free stuff in the grocery.”

“Thanks,” I mumble. “I don’t feel like any of that now… maybe soon.”

She frowns. “Aren’t you hungry?”

“No.” I’m starving. But I’m not sitting down in the kitchen to eat an omelette when my siblings are having mac and cheese. When there are cookies on the counter and chocolate brownies in the freezer and three-quarters of the fridge is off limits.

She turns to go, and suddenly I blurt out the question that’s been haunting me all day.


“What is it, Libby?”

“If the colonoscopy came back clear, then what’s wrong with me?”

Ma sighs. Her hand drops from the door handle, and her eyes won’t meet mine. “I don’t know, Libby,” she admits. “But Ta and I want to find out. Maybe there’s a different test, another opinion…”

“Ta thinks it’s just tiredness or something,” I grumble. “Doesn’t he?”

The pained look crosses my mother’s face again.

“Libby, we’re all in the dark over here. It could be something serious, or something — not so serious, that will just pass. But we’re all trying our best to be here for you.”

I notice that she doesn’t answer my question.

*Names and details changed to protect privacy

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 805)

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