Caroline Innis wishes she had never donated one of her kidneys to her older sister, Charlotte. Nothing went according to plan. Okay, one thing went according to plan: the surgery was successful, Charlotte lived, and went back to leading a happy life. So there’s that, if you’re into movie of the week happy endings. What went horribly wrong, according to Caroline anyway, is that it didn’t change what Caroline wanted it to change: her life.
As long as Caroline can remember, she has always lived in Charlotte’s shadow. Growing up, Charlotte was the pretty one, the smart one, the personable one, the going far in life one. Caroline, on the other hand, was the plain one, the average intelligence one, the pleasant enough on a good day one, and she-should-consider-herself-lucky-for-getting-that-Assistant-Manager’s-job-at-The-Gap one.
But then Charlotte took way too many NSAIDs over the years to deal with the headaches brought on by her chronic sinusitis, and it messed up her kidneys. When she told the family she needed a kidney transplant to avoid a lifetime of dialysis, all eyes fell on Caroline.
“Immediate family members make the best matches,” Charlotte told Caroline. “I can’t ask Mom and Dad, they’re too old. And my children are too young. It’s either you or a waiting list, Care Bear.”
Caroline hated it when Charlotte called her ‘Care Bear’. It implied that they were close and had a loving relationship. The only thing the two of them had in common was that Charlotte needed a kidney and Caroline had two good ones. But what could she do…say no? Then she’d also be known as the selfish bitch who let her sister die. So she agreed to the surgery.
Now, in those movies of the week with the happy endings? Both sisters would get equal screen time, the donor would be seen as a hero, and the recipient would treat the person who saved their life as the fucking goddess that she is! Sure, Caroline got a bit of attention, but not as much as Charlotte. Charlotte had to have full-on invasive surgery, while Caroline got away with a simple laparoscopic procedure. How painful that must have been for Charlotte! Poor Charlotte then needed ten days in the hospital to recover, while Caroline got tossed out after four. And unlike the girl who couldn’t handle a bit of snot in her head, Caroline only required a few pain pills to deal with her discomfort. The long suffering Charlotte, though…why, she’d be on anti-rejection drugs her whole life!
Princess so much as sneezes now and everyone turns to see if she’s about to drop dead. Meanwhile, Caroline could be in the bathroom peeing her brains out and no one ever stops to wonder if maybe she’s at the start of her own renal failure. What would she do then? Ask Charlotte for a kidney?
All she got from Charlotte in return was a simple, “Thanks for saving my life, baby sister.” Charlotte claims she wishes she could do more to show her appreciation but she’ll be physically weak for awhile, plus all the work she had to miss while waiting for the surgery has supposedly made her financially strapped.
God help the woman if she needs a liver transplant somewhere down the road, because Caroline’s days of saving lives is over. Ungrateful baby.