A Time to Recognize

January 11, 2010
Coming out of a daze, I hear the cautious voices of paramedics strapping me onto a stretcher. All I remember was stepping into the warm shower, and then I felt as if a freight train hit me. Paramedics were lifting me into the air and started heading out of my front door towards the ambulance. “One, two, three,” they said, lifting me into the ambulance. I.V.’s were sticking out of both of my arms, and I could feel cool liquids running down my body. The ambulance started pulling away and my mom asked if I was okay. Out of impulse I said, “Yes, Mom, I’m great.” I was not okay; in fact, I had no idea what had happened to me in the previous ten minutes. All that cycled in my mind was how could this happen to me.

Just the night before, I was playing running back for the Gleason Redskins. It was a playoff game, and it was a nail biter until the final seconds and we came out on top. I wanted to play as much as I could, so I had no water breaks the whole game. Obviously, this was NOT a good decision.
Now, here I am, pulling into the Texas Children’s Hospital, still in shock. I took about five minutes to get off of the ambulance, but after that I was on a stretcher, being rolled into the emergency room. One of the paramedics asked one of the ladies at the front desk, “We need a room now!” The lady looked and said,” I’m sorry, sir, but there are no open rooms.” After the paramedics debated for a while, they just decided to put me in the hallways and wait there for a doctor to come and check on me. What was only a couple of hours felt like days of waiting. Every now and then, a nurse would come by and check on me and give me a Gatorade. I remember my Mom leaving and coming back with McDonalds; then the doctor finally came. He took an EKG(heart scan) of me and came back thirty minutes later. I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope. It is a heart condition that has a really long explanation. In short words, I get dehydrated very easily and I faint when I get over dehydrated. After a total of five grueling hours, I was debriefed to go home. It was one in the morning and I was extremely tired. I went to sleep in the car on the way home.
The next morning I woke up and went to eat breakfast. On the table was a container about the size of two film canisters called Thermotabs. Thermotabs are a salt pill that contains sodium and potassium and helps keep you hydrated. I take these once a day, everyday during breakfast. These pills taste terrible and will never taste any better. I took these pills for about five months, and I still was wondering, why me?
It all started when I spent the night at my friend Clay’s house. We stayed up really late playing some new video game. The next morning was Sunday, so we had to get up early to go to church. We arrived at the packed church and the band was playing excruciatingly loud music. The music bothered me, but I just shrugged it off. After about the third song, I felt really awkward like I had in the shower previously so I tried to sit down. Next, I woke up. I had a really bad headache, and I was lying on the floor and I had hit my head on the pew in front of me. This time I did not go to the ER or the doctor. My parents did not panic, they called the doctor and he said things like this would happen with my condition. I just went home and lay around for the rest of the day.
After my incident at church, I was hoping I would not faint again. Well, I fainted again; this time at Kroger when I was checking out with my dad. I went there when I was recovering from the flu and I was tired of lying around for the past few days. Ironically, I went there to buy Gatorade because I had just drank the last one earlier that day. My parents scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist, and I went the next week. I took an EKG and my heartbeat was the same as the last time. All the doctor told me was to take two Thermotabs at breakfast now and to drink Gatorade at least once a day. I thought that wasn’t too bad of a deal, I mean who doesn’t like Gatorade.
Continuing what my doctor told me to do, I have not fainted since that day at Kroger. I have been told that I “grew out” of my heart condition, but I still take Thermotabs as a precaution. This experience has made me a more cautious person and thankful for my athletic ability. Now, when I need a water break, I take a water break. When I have had enough, I stop. I learned that everything happens for a reason.





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