If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout all of my experiences in hospitals, it is that each and every one of us is lucky, and although this may sound a little sadistic, there is always someone who has it worse off than you do.
You might be saying, hey! Who are you to tell me that I am lucky? Well, allow me to explain. I have spent over 740 hours in the hospital. First of all, I was born with a congenital heart defect that consisted of a missing pulmonary heart valve and a hole in my heart, which has led to four open-heart surgeries, the most recent of which was in the summer of 2005. Secondly, I had what is called a chiari type 2 deformation, which basically meant that I had a misshaped bone at the base of my skull which was restricting my spinal circulation causing cists to form on my spinal chord. This in turn led to an operation called a chiari type 2 decompression in the summer of 2006. Lastly, I am growth hormone deficient, which means that my body does not produce enough natural growth hormone thus causing me to be abnormally short and forcing me to inject myself with 3.2 mg of human growth hormone daily. However this is too long of an explanation to give the men and women of the St. Paul Police Department who pull me over almost weekly thinking I am an 8 year-old out for a joy ride in my mother’s car. Instead I have to politely tell them no, I don’t know Santa, no I don’t have a pot of gold, and no I cannot convince the Kebler Elf to send their precinct free cookies.
All right, let me get back to the real point of this paper. This I believe: each and every one of us is lucky. How do I know this? Nearly every time somebody hears about my medical ailments for the first time, they all say something similar to this: “Man, you’re the unluckiest kid I know.” But I always reply, “No, man. I’m the luckiest kid you know.”
Let me explain. Through all the time I have spent in hospitals, I have seen almost every worst-case scenario you can imagine. I have seen and talked to kids who have terminal cancer, heart disease, lung disease, leukemia, and just about every worst disease on earth. And I know for a fact that despite my ailments, I have honestly looked at this kids and said to myself, wow, I can’t imagine coping with what that kid is going through. The truth is that even though I have had five major operations, all of my ailments are fixable and I am able to lead a completely normal life. The point is, each and every one of us has our own burdens. However, whatever these burdens may be, the fact is there is always someone who has it worse off than you do. So once you come to realize and accept your burdens for what they are, you too will look at how much worse it could’ve been and feel truly lucky, just like I do.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.