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Awake

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The pain runs through my veins now, day and night. The doctors have stuck me over and over again with needles as I lay on the table, squirming with excruciating pain. The rain cascaded down outside my house during the summer of 2006. My dad put the dark image of my spine in the glass door as the rain continued to pour down on the other side. I was frozen in the moment, struck with fear. Tears immediately began streaming down my face, and gasping for air, I tried to listen to what my dad was saying. He told me I had two herniated discs in my lower spine and would no longer be able to cheer in the ninth grade.

One month later, I endured two painful epidural shots in my lower back. The pain shot through my entire body as the doctor stuck me with the four inch needle. I could feel the medicine as it seemed to trickle down my leg. Tears seeped out of the corners of my eyes as I felt my leg go numb. Again in the summer of 2008, I had to endure twelve more shots in my lower back. I lay on the table, helpless and shaking, as the doctor stuck me over and over again. A found it nearly impossible to lay perfectly still as the doctor drove the needles deep into my skin. With each plunge the needle took, my body twitched. With each plunge the needle took, I squeezed the hospital pillow tighter. With each plunge the needle took, I tensed my body. Finally, after the twelfth needle was pulled from my skin, all the tension was gone and I could finally relax. It was over.

It wasn’t over. The months came and went, but the pain never went with them. Beautiful, warm, summer beach days, and I couldn’t even play in the ocean with my friends. In August when school began, I barely had the strength to make it through all of the walking on the first day. Because things could get too rough, I couldn’t do much with my friends on the weekends. I haven’t been able to run for exercise in over a year; only walk. I couldn’t try out for cheerleading because it meant too much running and jumping, too much flipping and twisting, too much for my back to handle. In December my family and I took an airplane to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Dr. Jho, “The Miracle Doctor”, was going to operate on me. “He’s the best”, people told me, --- but how was I supposed to trust this man? Surgery is more than just a shot. The doctors put you to sleep and you are out --- cold. “What if I don’t wake up?” I thought to myself on that dreadful morning of December 18. As the sun was barely rising on that frigid windy morning, we arrived at the hospital. This was it. Sitting in the waiting room, I sat trembling, unable to sit still. Finally I heard my name. The nurse’s sweet tone seemed to calm me, but when I saw the enormous double doors that feeling was gone. Walking with her hand on my back, she was slowly leading me in a straight path down the long hallway of tan walls and white tile floors, straight for the silver doors.

Awake. I was wheeled into my very own hospital room, where I would have to spend the night. Just a few short minutes of being in that white, square room, I got up and walked into the bathroom to change my clothes. It was like my back was steel, unable to bend. The excruciating pain radiated through my body as the night drug on and on. Late night walks around the hospital hallway brought chills to my fragile body and soreness with each step. The more I walked, the less stiff my back seemed. This was a time when walking, although painful, was actually helping me. However the pain --- the pain was indescribable.

The memories of those three days in Pittsburgh are still with me today, and will remain with me forever. Haunting as it may seem, I wouldn’t be this far without that experience. Walking is something many people take for granted. I have experienced the positives and negatives of walking --- pain caused by walking and walking out the pain. My pain has been at its lowest ever since the surgery and some days are better than others. But what tomorrow holds, well, I’ll never know.





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Chandler M. said...
Jun. 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm
Thank you Mrs. Jones. I learned from the best! :)
 
Traci J. said...
Jun. 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm
This was my favorite piece by you--honest, gritty, reflective. Having to evaluate so personal response
 
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