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Never Lose Hope
“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.” - Author Unknown
It begins on a Sunday in May 2008, when I was eleven, I had just went off track from school. In the evening, one of my teeth started hurting, and I went to tell my mom.
“Mom, my tooth hurts,” I told her painfully.
My mom responded, “You’re going to begin again that your tooth hurts! It’s just for a while, it will go away.” I’ve gone to her about my toothaches before and she was obviously tired of it. It felt like a typical toothache and I thought I should just leave her alone.
The next day, Monday, I felt weird and I went to see myself in a mirror. I saw my left cheek and was swollen a little bit. I was frightened, and wondered strangely, “Is this normal or is this a sign that something bad is going to happen?”
I got up quickly and ran to the kitchen to ask my mom, “Mom, don’t you notice anything different about me?”
“Yes,” she answered strangely, curious about it. “Your cheek seem a little swollen like a bee stung you or something like that... I’m going to take you to the dentist and find out what you have.”
Afterwards, she called the dentist, and asked, “Can I make an appointment today for Maribel Medina?”
My mom has coffee hair with chestnut eyes and is the sort mom who takes good care of her family. My mom had to take my two sisters with us because she didn’t know how much time we would be in the dentist. I have a twin sister, Lorena, that looks almost like me, and a younger sister, Janet, was four years old.
The dentist’s office was huge, the chairs were at the sides, next to the office, there was a hall that led to the rooms, the room was dead, unhappy. When we were at the dentist, I was nervous, scared that this wasn’t normal. I was unsure of what was happening because I didn’t know what I had. I didn’t trust the dentists, because I’ve noticed that they don’t care about the well-being of people’s teeth; what they cared about was just money. At the end, the dentists discovered that it was a tooth infection. They gave me medicine so the infection would go away. I was sure this would work.
“Bring her back on Thursday and we will see how she is. Meanwhile, give her the medicine!” the doctor told my mom, who reacted worriedly.
Moments later, we got home and my mom gave me the medicine on a spoon. The next day, it was worse than before. It was much more swollen and I couldn’t even open my left eye. I was scared, unsure because I didn’t know if this was serious or if this was normal. I was trying to convince myself, “Maybe this is a side effect or something.”
I saw myself in the mirror; it looked as if a bee had stung me. On Wednesday, it was the same. However, on Thursday, it was much better, only a little swollen.
I thought, “I might be getting better.” That day I had to go to the dentist again to see how I was doing. I thought I was doing good, I had hope that this infection was going to be gone but it turns out, I was mistaken. I lost hope, thinking that this nightmare was never going to end.
“This is a strong infection, I’m sorry but the medicine didn’t have any effect. You are going to have to take her to the hospital as an emergency!,” the dentist declared, worried.
Furthermore, they also informed my mom that the infection I had is very dangerous, but I couldn’t hear their conversation because they seemed to be hiding something, as if this was serious and they just didn’t want me find out. It was as if someone added fuel to the fire. I’ve noticed that my mom was worried, something strange affected her but I couldn’t understand why. When we left the dentist, she called my dad from the public phones, while he was at work. She told my dad to get off work, but I wasn’t able to hear much because of the buses and cars that were passing by.
Afterwards, that same day, my dad left his work and took me to the Children’s Hospital. When I got there, I was nervous. I was thinking, “How long am I going to stay here? I don't want to be here for long. I just want this infection off and get out of this hospital.”
The doctors were examining the infection that I had. They put a needle in my vein, so, the antibiotics could go in. Meanwhile, the nurses took me X-ray of my head. I didn’t understand what was happening. It was around 2:00 a.m. and the doctors were preparing a room for me to stay in. When I found out about that, I was scared.
My dad was asleep and I was thinking to myself, “What if I never see my mom again? What if I never return home?” Everything was just confusing for me to understand.
The next day, the nurses took me to the dentist that is inside the hospital.
The nurse kindly asked me, “Where is your mom?”
“She’s on her way,” I responded, trying to guess where she was.
When I was walking towards the dentist, I felt dizzy as if everything was spinning. I saw two dentistry chairs, one on the left, and the other at the right. The room was colorful: pink, purple, and yellow. The room was happy with all the colors. A while later, when my mom came, I began crying because I thought I would be all alone and that I wouldn’t be able to see her again. She also came in with my two sisters, who were quiet. In a moment, we went to my room, where the doctor came in and drew a diagram of my head.
He confidently said, “I saw the X-ray, the infection is in the bone. If we do nothing about it, the infection travels fast and it can go into her eye, causing her to go blind, then it will go up to her head, into the brain and that would be the end of her.”
On Friday, around at five o’clock, the doctors came in with a decision that they had for me, and my mom had to make a decision. The doctors were collaborate to save my life. At that point, I thought that the doctors had a heart of a lion.
“We have two options, one option is that we could just give her antibiotics, but we’re not sure if the infection will go away. Or we could take out the tooth, and that might make the infection go away,” the doctor said.
My mom glanced at me and asked me which option I wanted to take. I answered to myself, “I would rather lose my tooth than lose my life.” I answered my mom that I wanted to lose the tooth. That same night, the nurses were preparing me to get surgery. The room was gigantic, bright and had lots of light and many medical tools that were unknown to me and it smelled so clean. The doctors put me under while they were doing surgery inside my mouth and put an infection cleaner inside. I wasn’t sure if the surgery would make the infection go away, but my mom kept on telling me the surgery would work and that everything would be find. I had to stay in the hospital for a few more days to observe how I was doing. Two days later, they took out the infection cleaner. In that same week, the nurses put something in my vein. I observed it and it looked like a string, it was very miniature and long, so thin that it fit inside my vein, it was called the “Line”. My mom would have to inject the antibiotics that would go into my heart and it would pump the antibiotics through all of my veins.
Additionally, the doctor had send me home because I was doing fine but I will have to go back for the appointments I had. At home, a nurse was showing my mom how to inject the antibiotics and she also received help from a friend that my mom knew. My mom had to inject the antibiotics in the Line, which would last for an hour but my mom was frustrated with everything that was happening that she began to cry. Every two weeks, a nurse would come and take out some blood that would be sent to the laboratory. I had spent two months taking the antibiotics. One day, we had an appointment to the Children's Hospital in the Infectious Disease Clinic. One of the doctors decided to call to the laboratory were they had my blood. I was curious to find out if I still had an infection.
Finally, the doctor comes back and tells us, “Well, I just called the lab and told me that she doesn’t have an infection any more and now we could remove the Line!”
In addition, my mom and I were relieved to find out that I didn’t have the infection any more. When I heard that, it was as if every cloud had a silver lining. That same day, the doctors took out the Line I had. If the infection wasn’t gone, the doctors would have to perform a second surgery and I’d have to take more antibiotics and probably miss some school.
One important lesson that I learned during this event was that to never lose hope. I learned to never be afraid because whatever we are facing, it is part of our destiny, or sometimes things happen for a reason. I would advise that whatever it is that people are facing, to never lose hope. This affected me because now I’m afraid of hospitals, of doctors, and anything that has to do with diseases. Since the doctors saved my life, I have a second chance to live and continue on with my future.