by - December 06, 2017

The picture above is my dinning room the day that I came home. My parents had displayed all of the cards and well wishes that people had given to me. Looking at this picture is always a friendly reminder of how many people I have to live for, and how many people love me. I have been filled with nothing but gratitude and appreciation this last month. I've returned to a job in medicine helping cancer patients. I am so thankful to have the job that I have, the people I know, the things I've been a part of, the nurses and doctors who will always remember me. I'm thankful for my family, my friends, my dog and everything in between. I am most grateful to be alive.

I requested that family members send me any pictures of me in the ICU they had taken. Ones that I had not seen before. I want to see them all. I like to look back at them. It's emotional, but not in a sad way. I think it's a more complex mix of fascination, gratitude and amazement. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all over again, because everything happened so fast. A lot of it is a sedated blur. I would observe more. I would notice things I've forgotten. I'd be more grateful for where I was and the outcome that Strong was able to give me.

I wish I could go back and relive it- not for some dark twisted fantasy. I would journal, photograph and document every piece of my stay. And I would use this to help me propel from where I am now. The more information I'm able to provide to physicians and nurses, the more I can help them with improving the patient experience. The more information and experiences I share publicly, the more that patients can feel safe to reach out. When I was inpatient, only awake for a few days, I sobbed at 7 A.M. alone in my hospital room, with the sun beaming in from the corner of the room and the helicopter hovering over the roof. All I wanted was to be discharged and to put everything behind me. I called my mother crying and said I wanted to sign an AMA form (Against Medical Advice) in order to leave. But lets be honest, no one just signs an AMA and leaves the ICU at will. So, I look back at that moment and wish I had just taken a deep breath and taken in that sunlight that was shining through.

I'd also like to announce that I've become a board member of the Patient Advisory Council for University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital. The purpose of the board is to improve the patient experience and tweak and better the process in the hospital. I'm pleased to bring the perspective of a critical care patient. I'm very excited to be a part of this and make a difference at the hospital that I work for; and that saved my life. Thank you all for reading this blog and checking in!
(Sorry I haven't posted in so so long.)

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