Trapped

February 24, 2012
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I’m not sure if you know what it’s like to wake up every morning in pain. But surely you know how it feels to have an ache that is inconsolable by nature. You’ve had your alarm screech at you in the wee hours of the morning as you thought to yourself “I can’t do this.” You’ve presented your case to your pillow, negotiated with your council of covers, and after being denied, stumbled to the bathroom.

Well this Monday morning, my tears of pain appealed to my cotton jury, and I was granted permission to stay home. As much as I would have loved to celebrate my victory by flopping over onto my stomach, I couldn’t move. Each motion cued my spine to throb, my neck to ache, and my stiffened joints to pop in an attempt to rearrange their tight living conditions.

So I remained frozen. My heart raced as I panicked over missing school. I was still behind in all of my classes due to nineteen absences. I thought constantly about getting up and doing some homework, but the muscles in my back collectively hissed at the idea.

Paralyzed, I thought of all the possibilities and the “what ifs.” Limited to the outskirts of my mind I felt trapped, and I longed to escape my purgatory. Nothing satisfied me more than the thought of rolling myself up, and waiting for my problems to wither and die. But I wanted them to suffer, and to severely punish them for showing me no mercy.

Like a static shock, I felt a jolt in my shoulder blades. The abrupt shot made me jump chest first, mimicking those cardiac revivals seen on medical dramas. I thought about what my orthopedic surgeon used to say. “It’s just your split spinal nerves.”

The word “Just” echoed in my delirious mind, as I lay petrified. “Just?” I thought to myself, every time I experienced these electric shocks. Though I knew that they were forever apart of me, I was always surprised to receive them, like an unwanted visit from a relative.

Whenever the lightening bolts made me publically flinch, or twitch, and someone I knew happened to notice, I would find myself the dummy of my ventriloquist surgeon as I explained, “Oh, well you know how I had spinal surgery? Yeah, it’s just the nerves that were split during the procedure trying to come back together.” And I’d say it with the same disturbing level of nonchalance.

The optimist in me calmed my negative thoughts and I started to think of pleasant things. I thought about what my next school day would be like with my eccentric teachers and kooky friends. I was excited about my upcoming math and science lectures, my awesome approaching English lesson, and my lovely Spanish class. Then I laughed at myself for being such a nerd.

I thought of the colorful distant future that awaited me, and of what I could do to strengthen myself emotionally and physically. I reminded myself that life wouldn’t give me anything that I couldn’t handle, and the reassurance was enough to rock me to sleep.


Pumped up on caffeine and extra strength Tylenol, I tackled my evening with a vengeance. I pounced on piles of missing work, slowly working my way through the intimidating stacks of paper. Making great progress I decided that sleep wasn’t an option. I taught myself the lessons printed on glossy textbook pages, and filled out the worksheets that questioned my knowledge. This continued until about one o’clock in the morning when I finally succumbed to the weakness of my limbs and the mushiness of my brain.

When I bundled myself up in my blankets I heard a loud boom outside my window. The light drizzle from earlier had turned into a full fledge storm and the weather caused my spinal implants to ring with pain like a silent tuning fork. For two hours I tossed and turned trying to find a comfortable position, but my attempts were hopeless. Whenever I came close to getting a microsecond of sleep, my suffering body felt the need to remind me of its agony.

At 3:30am I was engulfed by insanity, and a small piece of me died that Tuesday morning. I grieved properly, and my sobs were drowned out by the sound of the downpour. A couple of hours later, I wobbled on sleep deprived noodle legs to the bathroom like a zombie. There I found my mom getting ready for work. My mouth was doughy and barely able to function, but I managed to form words. “The rain.” I mumbled wide eyed “It rained all night.” I started to lose my composure “And, it just kept raining, and the pain,” I stuttered “driving me crazy.” By this time my voice was shaking and I was visibly trembling from head to toe “I just wana sleep. I’m so tired” I cried. I completely broke down, and in my mothers arms I repeatedly verbalized my desire to sleep in-between snivels.





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