“Forever Changed” by a 1T7 Student
Today is Thursday. At rounds, a patient gazes up at me or at least it seems he does because his fixation moves on after a mere second. Smiling is the only way I can think of to comfort him. It’s universal when it’s meant from the heart. His hands are arrested in place with the restrains attached to him. I notice he has a diaper on and wonder how old he is? My answer comes from the attending’s report that he is only 24.
* * *
It is Sunday. The start of a new week! This morning is just like any other day, but I have a headache. I don’t know where it came from. I can’t walk and I stumble on my way to the washroom. I hear my mom calling my name, Rahul. I feel pain. I see my mother. She seems to be screaming and crying but I don’t know why. What is going on? Why cant I seem to get my words right? Why can’t I seem to move? I’m going to be late for work. Damn. My manager will not be pleased.
There are people dressed in medical clothes standing on top of me. There are noises but I can’t seem to tell them to let me go to work. It can’t be that serious. I see people standing on top of me and I’m placed on a stretcher. Where are they taking me? I’m asking my mom to stop this but no one seems to understand me. We are going to the hospital.
I feel like I’m coming in and out of consciousness. But I can’t be sure. Somehow no one is speaking to me. But they are speaking with my mom who seems to have been crying for a while. My sister has made it too. This must be serious. They are nodding and signing. Some time has passed but not sure how long. I see a nurse come towards me to shave my head. After a few long looks, my mom comes to the bed and is trying to tell me something. I think it’s surgery … crani-o-to-my. I am asking why and what but it seems she doesn’t understand. I want to stop this with my arms but I see that they are clamped down. While lied down I see the sign for the surgical room and a doctor that is telling me to breath and count to 10. I want to ask him what has happened to me. But no one understands. I can only hope that the surgery makes everything go back to normal.
I blink a few times. The light is too bright. The headache is gone but I feel different. On the left are my mom and sister. They look worried and sad. My hands are still in restrains. I can’t seem to talk at all now. My limbs are moving without my will. I feel urine coming out of me but I didn’t mean for it to happen. The doctor is standing across my mom and looks concerned.
From my account it’s the fourth day that my life has changed. It is Thursday. A series of students and doctors come around me like every morning. The looks are just like all the others. The doctor touches my head to demonstrate to them that I don’t have a skull any longer. One of the faces stands out to me. She smiles. I connect with her and mean to smile back. But it doesn’t happen. A tear comes down my face. I then realize that my life has changed forever.