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Not Knowing is the Worst...(Post #4)

Some days are better than others; there are days in which you get up on the right side of the bed and everything seems a bit brighter. Then there are days when you forcibly peel yourself from underneath the covers, swing your feet on to the cold, hard floor and attempt to stand. Unfortunately, there are also those days when you cannot physically get out of bed at all. I am such a lucky person, I have had so many great days, more than I probably deserve! My life has been filled with so much love and joy that sometimes I feel guilty when I complain about having a bad day. But as fortunate as I have been, I have learned that my bad days are as important to me as those moments of triumph. Those bad days are the times in which I become more thankful for what I have in this life. One thing that has been consistent over the past 14 years is the idea that having a bad day is OK; we tend to ridicule or judge others who seemed depressed or “down in the dumps”, but fully accepting those depression filled days is what allowed me to crawl up out of that dark place and become the person I am today. It is easy to give up, or to give in; especially in the world of sports, if you don’t feel like practicing, then give up, if someone is better than you, then give in. Although quitting may seem easier, that does not mean it is always the right form of action. We all have the option of giving up, but I challenge you, find a better alternative, there is always another path that will allow you to be your better self tomorrow.

The stock market fluctuates, sea levels change daily and as we get older our weight tends to vary a little more than most of us would like. But I did not know that pain could fluctuate to such a degree that I would be able to recall certain experiences only by remembering my level of agony. After I was lucky enough to make it home from the hospital and I began my recovery, I awoke one morning with a pain in my stomach that can only be described as an internal torture. I can recall the moment my leg snapped in half, the pain was indescribable, but the ache I felt in my stomach was truly something from a nightmare. There was no relief, we called the doctors and they prescribed different medications in hope that I could rest, but nothing allowed me the reprieve I so desperately needed. The feeling of helplessness is something I will never forget, it is something my parents will never forget. As I lie in my childhood bed, only one emotion swept over me and that was terror, one thing I have learned throughout my life is that not having an answer is almost always worse than having the wrong one.

Finally, after multiple phone calls, and numerous prescriptions, we decided to head back to the hospital. I was rolled into the emergency room for the second time in 48 hours and the smell of bleach and apprehension immediately set in. I’ve always been a pretty dedicated student, and when test day would arrive, I made sure I was always prepared. The tests that were completed during my second adventure into the world of emergency medicine were much different than your normal history exam. There were numerous doctors running in and out of my room, and if I would have thought to charge admission, then maybe the medical bills that were accumulating by the minute may not have been so overwhelming! So after I had an MRI, CAT Scan, Ultrasound, multiple X-Rays (just to name a few), I thought to myself, now that the test(s) are completed, we should have an answer to why my stomach felt as though it was being twisted into submission by a professional wrestler. The only answer I continued to receive was We Don’t Know, hardly the result for which I was waiting. Hearing “we don’t know” from a medical professional is terrifying, that feeling of helplessness began to sink in once again. Where do we turn for help? Who can we call? What are our next steps? And dammit, why does my stomach still hurt? I wanted answers, my entire family wanted answers, but unfortunately, we do not always get what we want, and that is something I was forced to learn from the beginning of this entire ordeal. The path we are on in our lives is not always a smooth ride, and there will be times which life seems unfair, but it is all part of some larger plan. No matter what or who you believe in religiously, spiritually, psychologically, etc., there are certain consistencies that bridge every divide in society and one of those constants is that none of us have all the answers.

After speaking with my family doctor, it was evident that I needed further diagnostic testing to determine what was going on. So, once again, my journey took another turn and I was rushed to a larger hospital, in hopes that I would finally get the relief in which I so desperately required. The ambulance ride to was much more somber than my previous excursions. There was minimal talking, no blood pressure cuffs, no IV needles, just a young boy left with his thoughts about what was happening to him physically and emotionally. When we arrived at the ER, and the back of the ambulance was opened once again, all I could see was a team of doctors, all standing at attention, all wearing long, white lab coats. It was like a scene from a medical drama, a group of professionals waiting to swoop in and save the day. In that moment I thought again of the importance of teamwork, working together is something we take for granted in society, so I was blessed to have a team of individuals who were going to put forth their best efforts to determine what was wrong.

I was rushed to the infectious disease floor within the hospital; they rolled my large, sterile bed into a small, dark room. I knew people were talking about me, but I couldn’t determine what would be their next course of action. Finally, a young female doctor, small in stature, stepped forward and said that we needed to remove my cast. Once the cast was removed, the entire room cleared except a few doctors and my parents. When I saw the look of disgust and repulsion dart from face to face, I knew my life would never be the same. I had developed two very severe wounds on both sides of my ankle. The wounds were each approximately the size of a golf ball, and went so deep into my skin and muscle that you could essentially look through my leg. There are two things I remember most about that day; the first being that I was actually excited because they found what was causing my stomach pains, and the second was the overwhelming stench of rotting flesh. It was the most disgusting and pungent scent I had ever encountered; and as doctors began to plan their attack, my mother and father stood strong, holding a towel over their faces, trying to hold back the urge to cry, remaining as positive as possible! When the doctors told me they knew what was causing my stomach pains, I was elated, then shortly following that feeling of elation was a feeling of fear as a nurse plunged a large needle into my arm and everything went dark.

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