My Dream

December 26, 2008
By Emily Cookson, Hillsboro, OR

Beep. Beep. Beep. It is seven in the morning, December 14th 2020. I walk into the hospital in New York, reviewing my appointments for the day. I smile when I reach my office and see a plaque that says Emily Cookson Pediatric Neurosurgeon. My office is a warm yellow and decorated with crayon drawings, all by my clients: little children. I feel as if I am in a dream when my first appointment is with a tall, lanky fifteen-year-old girl, Maria, and her mother. After reviewing her MRI, I look for what the possible problems might be related to her weak leg and peripheral numbness. Looking at her lower spinal cord I quickly find a "traffic jam" of nerves. I walk her and her mother to the MRI to show them the problem. I speak to them in excitement about a possible solution. Surgery could fix the "traffic jam." Both are enthused at even the idea of a solution. After the surgery and a re-evaluation of Maria's problem, I see an unusual quick improvement.

I walk onto the plane with a group of doctors. We are part of an organization like Doctors without Borders. As I get seated I talk to a cardiologist about why we are both here on our way to Africa. I open my journal and begin to write.

I cannot believe the accomplishments, the knowledge I have in my hands to help the people around me live better lives! Here I am on a plane to Africa! I have the opportunity to help children who cannot walk, who have tumors, but who have survived their circumstances! I have the education to help them feel better than they ever have before. After watching Maria's improvement, I am amazed at the toolbox I have to help somebody who is like I once was. Those long nights of studying, memorizing, working through my bachelors, medical school, residency, all feel worth it. I am amazed at the human body and it's capabilities to heal. Thank goodness for my own disability that inspired me to work harder and be better.

I sit back in awe. I think of what my life would be like if my dad had never told me to "shoot for the sun." This is my dream come true.

The author's comments:
"Believe in the beauty of your dreams"
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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