On the Other Side

by - March 25, 2019

I have not been posting as much as I anticipated when I first started this blog. I felt like I had so many opinions, experiences, and different information rushing around inside my mind. I thought I would have hundreds of things to write about endlessly. But the truth is that initial shock and most of the healing happened within my first year or two after my admission. Then you slowly go back into a routine and healing becomes part of that routine. It's still a paramount experience. But I'm not stuck in a place where it defines me anymore. It certainly has pushed me to be more of an advocate for ECMO patients and critically ill patients in general. This will never change. It has truly become a passion of mine to be involved in medicine and be part of a Patient Advisory Council. Which brings me to the heart of this post.

I have been fortunate to meet two patients on ECMO circuits. Seeing these patients in the same position I was in has been somewhat jolting. Seeing them on the ventilator, the ECMO machine, the drips and IVs, the wires and leads, it can be very overwhelming and make the room feel so small. It's so strange to stand in this tiny room with this very critically ill person, suspended in animation, barely surviving. This person who is someone's child, and might have children of their own, who has dreams, plans, and aspirations, at the mercy of modern medicine and a miracle. While I stand on my own two feet, breathing without complication, thriving and watching. To see them and know I was once them brought tears to my eyes. It's a reminder of how delicate our bodies are. ECMO is always a last-ditch effort. To meet the family members who stay and pray by the bedside 24 hours a day and offer them my support is so unbelievable. I get to stand in front of them as living, breathing proof that I was able to survive. And I don't think this is like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit. I think this shows that miracles happen and people can heal against all odds. It gives them some hope, something that they can hold on to. And I genuinely hope this makes their journey a little less grim, and a little more hopeful. I am just filled with gratitude for the experience I had to go through, and the people that I've meet along the way. Forever so blessed.

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