We Had Time; We Made Fun

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I need to focus on the sounds in this hallway- amongst other noises I can hear the hum of a vending machine, the airstream from the vents, and the ding of the elevator reaching floor 8, none of which is the sound I am listening for. The coast seems clear, so I muster up all the strength in my 9 year-old biceps, and continue to grasp the cold metal with my soft and clammy hands. I am approaching the corner of the hallway as I reach my desired speed, and as I make that hard left turn past the double doorway, my body slides to the right of the over-sized wheelchair. In the heat of the moment, I forget to listen for the cautionary noises: the squeaking of those shiny white shoes. I grip the metal tight, bringing my vehicle to an abrupt stop inches away from the doctor dressed in stark white. “Whoa there! You’re gonna put both of us in a wheelchair!” He chuckled and placed his hand on my shoulder, “Your mom is back from her EKG if you want to go see her, and don’t let the janitors see those marks on the floor!” I looked down as he twisted the tip of his shoe on the beige tile, erasing the black mark my wheelchair had left. “Thanks, Dr. Cramer!” I yelled as I sped off to find my sister.

At the age of 9, I learned how to make my own fun. With my mother semi-permanently in the hospital, my family spent an excessive amount of time on the cardiac floor of Brigham and Women’s hospital. My father drove my sister and me the 3 hours to Boston every Friday where we would sleep in the waiting room for the weekend. We needed to think of creative ways to entertain ourselves since we would be spending six hours a week in the cab of a pick-up truck. First came the classic license plate game, then road kill bingo, pranks on toll collectors, and in standstill traffic, we put on beanie baby productions through the back window.

Free time was once again granted to my sister and me once we reached the hospital. If my mother was conscious, she and my father would likely be discussing matters that did not concern us kids, and there was a whole hospital to explore! Among our favorite activities were wheelchair races and lifting ourselves to the ceiling on the expensive mechanical patient lifts. The creativity children always seemed to prevail; with a hospital gown, hairnet, gloves, hanger, medical tape and hospital socks my sister and I constructed a “levitating patient” on the patient lift that moved with the touch of a button. Needless to say our character conjured many shrieks and giggles from the hospital staff.

Growing up, I learned that it was my choice how I would spend my time, so I chose to do productive things in hopes of one day joining the Peace Corps. Rather than playing video games, I chose to start my own social activism club at school. Instead of napping after school, I chose to volunteer at the Shoreline Soup Kitchen. While my peers were partying and drinking, I was working long hours in order to pay for my volunteer trip to Ghana. Although my mom’s illness and young death was a tragedy, instead of feeling bitter or sad, I feel a responsibility to achieve my goals by being productive or just making someone smile. I choose not to idle my time away; no moment in one’s life is useless; with passion and a purpose in mind anything can be achieved.





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ConsultOryx said...
Oct. 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm
It is always tricky writing about death in a college essay. But you have done an excellent job. And I love how tied it all together. Really well done. And best of luck with whatever college you aim for. Only minor edit, find a last sentence that ties to the fun a little bit more. 
 
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