16. At first no one knows what is wrong with Zoe, not even the doctors, not for a long time. 

Read in Spanish or Swedish

At first no one knows what is wrong with Zoe, not even the doctors, not for a long time. Their mom says that’s because the doctors don’t know what they are doing, but their dad says, Leslie, like it might be their mom who doesn’t know.

They do different tests like the one where she has to go inside a tunnel and lie still so they can take pictures of her brain. Amy learns the difference between an MRI and a CAT Scan. She knows MRIs are more expensive but that they need to do them anyway. She knows there are magnets inside the tunnel that are very strong because you have to take off your earrings before you go into the room.

At first they don’t let Amy go in. At first she has to wait outside with their dad. She tries to practice her handwriting, but now her pencil always breaks.

But Zoe won’t lie still. At first they give her shots to make her, but Zoe is so scared of the shots that she begs and begs and begs until the nurses take the needles back. Then Amy starts to be the one to sit in the room with her sister. Amy knows the knock-knock jokes to tell, like the lettuce in, we’re freezing, and the orange you glad I didn’t say banana.

Amy stops taking pictures except of Zoe’s dog, to bring to Zoe when she has to have her blood taken, because they don’t let dogs in hospitals. There is nothing in the world worse than Zoe having her blood taken. Amy tries to show her the pictures at just the right moment, just right before the nurse puts the needle in, between when they put the gray tie around her arm and when they put the needle in. Amy believes that if she can get the timing exactly right, Zoe will forget about what’s happening.

But Amy can’t get the timing exactly right. She is always too early or too late. Zoe still sobs and begs the nurses not to hurt her.

Zoe’s arms are bruised all over from all the times they have to take her blood. Amy doesn’t look at the bags as they fill up because if she does she starts to feel funny like she’s floating and like she might fall down. But she knows she can’t fall down because what would Zoe do.

Zoe has more seizures, and now they just drive to the hospital because ambulances cost a lot of money. Amy sits in the back seat with her sister and tries to talk herself into believing that her sister’s still there.

Paris, 2013.