‘What the hell was that?’ I growled, storming out of the building after my sister.
‘I’m sorry, okay?!’ she turned back to glare at me, but otherwise kept pacing in front of the parking lot. ‘You know I’m not good in places like that.’
‘Being uncomfortable in a hospital is one thing, Louise, but having a breakdown and yelling at Dad’s disability support worker is another thing entirely!’
‘I’ll go and apologise to him in a minute, I just need…’ her breathing quickened, running faster and faster, and she doubled over trying to breathe more slowly. ‘I just need a second,’ she gasped, tears streaming down her face.
‘Louise?’ I called out, my concern chipping away at my anger. I rushed over to grab her shoulders, helping sit her down on the curb. ‘Louise, what is it?’
‘I just…’ she took a deep, shuddering breath, clutching herself tightly. ‘I just can’t take this anymore. Seeing her like that, every day, not being able to do anything.’
‘You are doing something,’ I said softly. ‘By being here every day, by helping her get through it.’
‘I know, I know,’ Louise said. ‘I know. But I’m so tired. In my bones, I’m tired. I don’t know how much more I have to give.’
I nodded, and sat with her in the silence for a bit. A car drove up, the driver excited that they were going to find a spot so close to the hospital, but quickly drove away scowling once they saw us sitting in the way.
‘Take the weekend off,’ I said quietly. ‘Take the long weekend off. Spend some time with your kids and Mike. I can man the fort here.’
‘I can’t ask you to do that Joe—’
‘You’re not asking,’ I said firmly. ‘And it’s not like I’ll be alone. I’ve got the best NDIS service available in Adelaide to support me.’
She snorted, and a touch of colour shifted back onto her face.
‘Are you sure?’ she whispered.
‘Absolutely positive,’ I smiled, wrapping her up into a hug. ‘Just promise me one thing?’
‘Try to have a shower or two.’
She punched me on the arm.