Two years ago, I would never have thought I'd almost die. I was only 14 years old. I had my whole life ahead of me. But for a week I stayed home from school, coughing up blood, feeling weak, with a headache and very high blood pressure. My mother thought I had the flu and kept telling me to drink tea, but after a whole week, I was actually getting worse. I didn't want to move because when I did, I was left breathless and panting.
My mom decided something must be really wrong, and called my doctor, who recommended I see another doctor, who thought I had asthma. I looked at him like, Are you crazy? How could I have asthma now? I've never had this problem before.
All of a sudden, all I wanted to do was sleep, but my mother kept telling me to stay awake. When we arrived at the hospital, my mom had to park across the street and I couldn't even walk that distance. I felt helpless and scared. My mom found a wheelchair and took me to the emergency room where it seemed like I waited for hours for someone, anyone, to help me.
Finally they wheeled me into a small room. Then a nurse sat me down and took my vitals. He checked my oxygen level and said that it was dangerously low. Two minutes later, a nurse came in with an ultrasound machine, examined my chest and said she had to take out the fluid that was surrounding my heart, and fast. My parents were startled, to say the least!
The next thing I knew, I was lying on a hard surface in a large white room. There were people everywhere and they all looked frantic. I couldn't stay awake, why couldn't I? I didn't realize they had given me anaesthesia.
All of a sudden I woke up and found I was in an ambulance. "Where am I?" I asked, still half asleep. I couldn't breathe. I fell back asleep.
When I woke again, I was in a bed with railings on both sides. There was a crowd of faces standing over me. I panicked and hollered for my mother. I couldn't breathe. I thrashed my arms and legs trying to capture my breath. Then a nurse came running and injected a warm liquid into my IV. I fell asleep again.
The next time I awoke, my parents were there. They told me that a tube was relieving the fluid around my heart. It turned out that I had paracarditis. The doctor told them it was lucky they brought me to the hospital when they did. I started to cry. What if they hadn't?
The most traumatic event of my life turned out also to be the best experience ever. I learned that I wasn't ready to give up my family and friends. It taught me that what matters are the things that are right in front of you and that you must take each day as it comes.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.