They caught the subway to the hospital, carrying four-year-old Charley up the many flights of stairs, lugging her heavy, specially designed wheelchair under their arm. It cost them $15,000 for this trip, for a consultation that lasted just 20 minutes. The specialist was there, with his registrar and a drug company rep. The Hoopers handed over their gifts. A book of New Zealand landscapes with a picture of Charley pasted in the frontispiece, a bag of kiwifruit sweets and a glass koru paperweight.
Published in: North & South in June, 2014.