Darkest Moments

by - May 07, 2018

I feel like I’m finally ready to open up and post this. Everything I write about is to give insight to friends and family, and the medical community who visit this blog. There’s a lot that I’ve touched on, and I usually share things with a positive perspective. But it’s also important to know that like any other trauma patient, I had very difficult, painful, emotional, heart wrenching moments. There are two in particular that come to mind that I feel like I’m ready to share even though they still carry profound sadness.

My first experience takes place shortly after I left the hospital. My mother and I had decided that we wanted to scrapbook what we could of my hospital stay. To others it may seem strange, to want to see the photos and to hear the stories. To me, it was a way of understanding and filling in the gaps of missing time. It helped me, and it still does. We were downstairs in our basement, my mom had it set up as her art studio. Ed Sheeran was playing on the radio. I was wrapped up in blankets and sitting at a big white table. I had my wound vac next to me. All the ICU photos were spread out in front of me. My mom was answering my questions, trying to fill in missing information for me. Tears started to fill my eyes. I told my mom I just need a moment to be sad for myself. I had heard so many people tell me how strong I was and how proud they were. I needed a moment to allow myself to feel the overwhelming and utter sadness that I was keeping in. I needed to allow myself to recognize that I went through this paramount medical experience. I needed to grieve. I just sobbed. I was inconsolable. And I needed that release in order to move on. I allowed myself that one moment of weakness, and then I started picking up the pieces.

The second is an experience while I was in the CVICU (cardio-vascular ICU). It’s my only memory of being in the CVICU because I was so heavily sedated and induced in a coma. The rest of my ICU experiences I share come from the MICU (medical ICU).

I peeled my eyes open slowly. It must have been in the middle of the night. I didn’t see many lights on outside, just one above me. It was dark outside. I stared at the fluorescent light in the ceiling, blinking, trying to adjust my focus. Everything was blurry. I couldn’t move my legs or my arms. My body felt so heavy. I felt something uncomfortable in my chest. I looked down to my lower right and I saw a glimpse of a giant red tube coming from chest. I turned my head to the left and I saw my PICC line, all of my IVs and wires. I saw a dozen monitors next to my bed. I was completely alone in my room. I looked around the room for a familiar face, but no one was there. I don’t think I was supposed to be awake. I don’t think I was supposed to come out of sedation. It’s difficult to explain, but when I think I back to this moment I can’t remember the pain I was in. I can’t feel it. But I can remember the feeling of laying there thinking how incredibly uncomfortable I was and wanting it to end. So I looked at the ceiling, and stared at that fluorescent light. I felt a tear roll down my left cheek. I wasn’t sure if there was a God but in my mind I prayed while I stared at that light, that he would let me go. I told him that I was ready and I couldn’t take anymore. I had done my fighting. My body hurt. I had accepted what had happened. I had made peace with everything in that moment. I was okay letting go. I was okay moving on to whatever was beyond this physical world. So I closed my eyes and everything just faded away. Peacefully. Little did I know I would wake up again in a week and I would make a remarkable recovery. Every time I talk or write about this memory my eyes fill with tears, even three years later. I was 20, about a week and a half shy of 21. Can you imagine? Being 20 years old and making that decision alone in a hospital bed, hooked up to machines; closing your eyes and accepting that’s the end? I just want everyone reading this to take a moment and be grateful for everything you have. Appreciate who you have around you. Be grateful for your health, and the resources and people around you who can help you. Reach out to someone and tell them you love them. Don’t stress the small stuff. There is so much more to this life than we know; and it is full of such amazing, sweet, kind and remarkable people and incredible opportunities.

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