That Doesn't Look Normal...(Post #14)
I awoke to the blaring sounds of beeping and screeching alarms going off all around me, but the only thing I could think about was that fact that my arm was throbbing and I had no idea why. Then I took a calculated glance towards the right side of my bed and saw my arm, or what was supposed to be my arm. It was close to the size of a loaf of bread; it wasn’t accompanied by the sweet smell of yeast and flour baking in the oven that reminded you of Grandma’s house, but it felt as though I had been holding it over an open flame for days. It was red and sensitive to the touch, but all I knew was that it hurt like hell and I was tired of the pain. In the midst of the madness, my parents (who slept in that hospital room, in chairs for six weeks, right next to me) jumped up and rubbed the sleep from their eyes. By this time the tube that was in my throat helping me breathe was replaced with a much smaller, more economical model of breathing apparatus that was positioned in my nose along with my feeding tube; kind of like moving from a giant SUV to a Prius. I began to become more and more agitated and worried; as though I was in a battle with the alarms going off, I screamed for my medical team, and as the beeping continued, so did my discomfort! Nurses and doctors rushed into my room and immediately began investigating what was causing the severe pain and swelling. Finally it was determined that I had suffered a blood clot via my IV that was connected to my body via the inside, upper right bicep. My medical team attempted to calm me down and let me know that they were going to fix it and everything would be all right. But that was one of the initial moments that I realized my leg was not the only problem I was going to face while in the hospital, but rather it was just the reason I became a resident of medical housing in the first place.
There are so many times in life in which we feel like we have traversed to the top of the mountain, only to be kicked in the face and shoved backward as we wipe away the blood and tears. I started my journey because I broke my leg and contacted a flesh-eating bacterium, but I continued my journey because of a multitude of painful, yet meaningful hurdles that were placed in front me, hindering my medical recovery. This is just another testament to the fact that this life is beyond unpredictable and nobody on this earth knows what is in store for tomorrow, next week or even years to come. We have to practice living each day to the fullest and taking advantage of the little victories. It is the same in football, you may earn a first down and think that you are rolling offensively, and the next thing you know, your best wide receiver fumbles going into the end zone and its time to play defense once again. Recovery is an interesting idea, when we think about recovering, we focus on getting back to how we were before we faced a particular setback, but I believe we can learn so much more from the idea of recovering from a traumatic experience. Why should we just want to “get back” to doing what we did before, or being the person we were prior to the struggle? Why can’t we take this idea of recovery and make it work for us, we are already faced with hurdles everyday that we have to “recover” from, but I say, instead of just recovering, we should IMPROVE! It was not something I knew lying in that hospital bed with a blood clot the size of a quarter in my arm, but improving myself as an educator, student, husband and human being is what has kept me afloat each time I feel like I’ve lost another paddle to the overwhelming current.
I had finally made it through the longest surgery of my life, I was out of the ICU and I was beginning my “recovery” in my new room on the infectious disease floor, you could say that I was taking strides to finally beating my opponent. And then out of the blue, this blood clot shows up and the swelling was so bad that I was halfway to becoming the new Michelin Man. If you tied a string to my fingers, you could have given my arm to a small child for them to pull around like a balloon. My medical team confirmed the diagnosis of a blood clot through multiple tests and even though they knew what was wrong, this issue can most definitely be life threatening. I mean why not? It’s not as fun if it isn’t life threatening right? I began a strict regiment of blood thinners and other medications, finally the swelling subsided over a course of a few days and I told myself that I had taken another punch but was still ready to go another round. But thanks to the unpredictability of this world, I was unaware that the blood clot was merely one of many warm up matches before I laced them up for the main event.