A year ago, I returned to New York from an amazing trip to Spain. A year ago also marks when I was hospitalized shortly after coming home due to contracting a bacterial infection overseas. It was a pretty traumatic experience, and one that I didn’t tell most people out of a fear that they’d think I was just seeking attention. However, there were also some parts which looking back, make me smile.
I talk about the worst of it first.
I went to a doctor’s office after being sick for a little while. Since I was out of the country a few days prior, and the Ebola fear was still in the air, I was sitting in the waiting room wearing a bright purple rain jacket and, under a secretary’s orders, a huge surgical mask that was way too big for my head. Everyone in the waiting room was staring at me. All eyes were my way as I left too, holding a tub to vomit in, running for the car. A very memorable time.
My resting heart rate was way too fast and my fingers were purple from dehydration, and no one in the emergency room could really figure out what was wrong with me, so I was admitted into the pediatric center, being 16 at the time.
My experience? Well, I don’t remember much but what I can recall is about a thousand different people saying “So you were in Spain? How was it?” and a thousand more saying “I can’t seem to find a vein” while pocking me with needles.
It took an ultrasound, something that made me feel extremely uncomfortable and awkward, a CT scan, something that forced me to drink this nasty dye liquid, and a line of 3rd year residents staring intently at me like I was an orangutan at a zoo, to figure out what was wrong with me. A bacterial infection.
The diagnosis wasn’t very promising either, since it seemed like every hour a different resident trying their best to mimic bedside manner told me that infections like mine seen in other cases have shut down kidneys, and that if I have renal failure right now, I’ll probably die.
Being in the pediatric center, I also had this woman who would come in and try and cheer me up, or something. She’d constantly try to get me to go into the playroom, like she was a cashier coaxing me into signing up for the discount card. “We have a Wii” she said. “I feel like shit” my eyes would reply. The only way I could seem to make her go away was agreeing to a stack of crossword puzzles and word searches.
These word searches would make me smile, however; just for a different reason.
I was given a pencil, obviously, and when I got bored of finding the profane words in the jumbles for hours, I started doodling and writing on the backs of the papers. I did some of my personal comic strip ‘The problematic situation’, and some of trees. I wrote some jargon extensively. All I had was time.
But I also wrote a poem. It was during this interesting time in my life, and not just because I was being forced by every technician to re-account all my time in Spain, or have dozens of needles stuck in me, but it was interesting for, you know, personal reasons. So I wrote this poem. And that’s all I was going to share on this blog post, but it needed context, and the actual context is nothing more than my shy, awkwardness at the time this was written.
Here it is:
So, that’s my story of the time I was in a hospital, thought I was going to die, got slightly better, and wrote a poem. Things have definitely changed in a year, and looking back I feel sad and smiley at the same time. However, as great as 2015 was, I’m in a place where looking forward is in my best interests. Perhaps in a year this blog post will be nothing more than a sad, smiley piece of nostalgia as well.