My senior year of high school, I have been told to plan and prepare for life-altering changes in my future. Little did I know how dramatic and quickly some changes would come.
The day started as ordinary as any other Monday would. I sat in my first period class wishing the weekend would hurry and come back. While I played my band instrument, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back. I did not think much of it until a few moments later when I felt the same sharp pain in my chest as well. I tried to carry on as normally as I could. The pain eventually grew to the point that I could barely breathe, making the attempt to ignore it almost impossible.
I made the painful trek to the nurse’s office, and within ten seconds of listening to my chest with a stethoscope, she demanded an ambulance be called immediately. The only distraction from the intense pain in my chest was the fear and confusion now filling my mind. The paramedics arrived and quickly strapped me onto a stretcher and hurried me to the nearest hospital.
After several tests and x-rays, the doctors at the hospital explained to me that my right lung had collapsed. The doctor inserted a long, rubber tube in between my ribs and into my lung to allow the built up air pressure to be released. The pressure was off of my lung, but it would be a few days before the hole in my lung would close up and I could go home. Despite his explanations, I could not help but feel like I was stuck in a confusing nightmare.
I felt like something out of a sci-fi movie with all the tubes, wires, and machines constantly attached to me. Every breath I took was difficult. I felt completely helpless lying in my hospital bed day in and day out, unable to get up or take care of myself. I could not see an end in sight from this torture. The painkillers made me feel numb for a short while to help forget the pain. Flowers and cards made the dreary hospital room look and feel more appealing. But these material things could not take away my fears and provide me the comfort I so desperately needed.
I knew I had no control over the situation; I could not control my lung healing itself anymore than I could have stopped my lung collapsing in the first place. Coming to terms with that fact was almost the most painful part of it all. The simplicity of a friend’s company at my side, holding my bruised and swollen hand, with an assuring smile, telling me everything would be better soon, made my worries and fears subside.
I stayed in the hospital for seven agonizing days and nights. Several months later, I am still in the recovery stages. I know this injury was not only life-threatening, but life-altering. I am not, nor will I ever be, the person I was before this happened. The strength I lost physically, I have more than regained in my family and friends. Knowing I had the support of numerous family members and friends made me realize I do not have to always be in control. Humans were designed to have flaws and weaknesses so that we must rely on something other than ourselves to survive. Overcoming life’s battles is only possible through the outpouring of love and support from the people around me who so graciously share their strength in my times of need. I believe we, as imperfect human beings, are not able nor were we meant to fight these long and difficult battles alone.
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