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Scars aren't THAT cool...(Post #11)

Stop me if you have heard this one, but sometimes life can just suck! There are few certainties in this life, one of those inevitabilities is that bad things tend to happen to good people, but something we tend to forget is that bad things also happen to the not so decent individuals of this world. When we have a bad day, or we fall into the conjectural, life-numbing pothole of depression, we tend to view everything through a jaded vantage point. When we are dealing with a tough time in life, we usually ask the question why? Why would this happen to me? I must have asked myself that question a million times, and it wasn’t until much later in my life that I realized we might never know the reason something happens, but yet we still have to find the strength to accept it. Rather than always comparing our situations to others, we must find a way in which we accept our circumstances and make the best out of what we have been allotted. Taking a step back and appreciating the bad with the good is very difficult, we have been conditioned to always want good things to happen, but our mindset can change in an instant when faced with a tough situation. Even today I struggle with the notion that something bad is always around the corner, I may have a month or two in which it seems like the sun is perpetually shining, but as soon as that first storm cloud begins to tactically block the golden rays streaming from the blue skies, I know the rain isn’t far behind.

Once my team of medical professionals had successfully cleared all the hurdles that they encountered during the grueling 14-hour procedure, a small glimmer of hope reared its ever-so-welcomed head. Doctors had pulled off what seemed to be an impossible task and some may say this was a miracle, but in all reality, it was due to the skills of the team and a scattering of good luck. They had removed my stomach muscle, placed it in the holes in my leg and wrapped it up like a Christmas gift using skin from my thigh; the only thing missing was a big red bow! After the surgery was completed, I was taken to the intensive care unit within the hospital. The ICU was one of the more emotionally stimulating areas in which I resided during my illustrious stay. I was in and out of consciousness and each time I awoke I became immediately anxious and could feel the numerous tubes and needles that were escaping from different parts of my body. Being a 16-year-old child and waking up in a cold, unfamiliar room is hard enough, but I also had a tube inserted into my throat in order to help me with such a mundane and overlooked task…breathing. There are things we take for granted everyday, but the importance of each lungful of air becomes painfully meaningful when your next breath is not guaranteed.

Lying in the intensive care unit within the hospital was a time in which I was excruciatingly aware of all of the different aspects of pain I was experiencing. Sure, there were times in which I wasn’t in pain at all, but that only occurred when I was unconscious. And more often than not the pain became that alarm clock that you throw at your bedroom wall but keeps ringing even though it’s in pieces. I didn’t realize the importance of pain until I was much older, but that becomes common knowledge when most everyday consists of dealing with some sort of agony. In football, pain is used as motivation, if you have ever been in a locker room, you may have heard a coach utter the phrase “rub some dirt on it” in regards to minor injuries. Or the saying, “chicks dig scars”, even though I can state with a fair amount of confidence that I was not lucky enough to land my beautiful wife because my body resembles a worn out pincushion. Sure, during a football game you may get a few scrapes and bruises that can add to the adrenaline of a Friday night, but what happens when that pain is something you deal with most everyday? What happens when you wake up each morning and you’re in pain before breakfast, or instead of dessert, you finish your evening with a handful of painkillers? The pain I was experiencing was definitely physically debilitating, but pain comes in many different forms, it can be emotional or psychological as well. Your pain doesn’t have to be physical to be incapacitating, never let someone tell you that feelings cannot be painful, each of us have our own story and most often that story involves some type of agonizing situation that we must accept and move on from, which is never easy. So learning how to accept the physical pain, while also determining how I could use my emotional disdain as motivation really started in that ICU room with a tube down my throat.

The time I spent in the hospital in general was very tough, but the days and nights in which I resided in the intensive care unit was distressingly eye opening. As I have stated many times, I tell my story in a fashion that does not allow me to leave out the details, no matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable. I believe that if we hope to make an impression on others, then we need to be open and honest. The most honest moment I had following my 14-hour surgery was when I woke up and Mother Nature let me know it was time to find the facilities! Unfortunately, I could barely breathe, let alone form any coherent thoughts/sentences. Lying in that bed, not having the ability to tell those around me that I had to relieve myself was awful and embarrassing, little did I know that not being able to tell a nurse I had to use the bathroom would be one of the least humiliating moments during this ordeal.

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