The Climb

It was a dark and stormy night!… lol no it wasn’t. Should it have been? I mean it was a sad hard day, but it was beautiful outside. It was sunny and bright. And sad and hard. It was all of those. There were no storms. In fact, over the 5 months, I can’t remember any storms. Maybe that’s why it was so hard. If your whole world stops for a moment in time, the world should too, right? I mean just out of curtesy, right? Well shit, wait a minute. That would be so depressing! Ok, I’ve figured it out. Here goes again.

It was a bright beautiful day. But who cares what kind of day it was? I honestly don’t even remember. I remember sunlight. I remember struggling more than I ever had just to walk. Just to walk! This is not something a 13-year-old usually worries about; no longer being able to get from one place to another. But that sunny bright day, 13 and a half years into this life, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t. The feeling I remember wasn’t fear, wasn’t sadness or worry or sickness, it was embarrassment. I pulled and I yanked and I never for one second let anyone help me up that hospital emergency ramp. And after this, I never let anyone help me again.

I remember the sun, and the pulling and yanking. I remember the ramp may as well have been climbing to the heavens. Which, had I not been climbing towards an emergency room, is where I would have ended up. Lol, pretty dramatic eh? How do I tell this? I’m a goofy person. I use humour to alleviate pain. So how do I tell a sincere story of my most painful memory without goofing off? I have no idea. I’ll give it another go.

Ok. It was a sunny bright beautiful day. There I was, gripping that rail with every last ounce of energy I had. I had to make it to the top. That’s who I was. I had to do it and I had to do it on my own. I remember my mom flanking me on the left side. I could feel her worry but it was almost completely hidden by her strength. There was nothing wrong with me. I was just sick. Like pneumonia or whatever. Maybe they’ll give me some fancy drug and I’ll be back at school tomorrow.

I remember it being a Monday but none of my memories are certain. This is the longest walk I’ve ever undertaken. I will make it. I’m fine. I’ll be back at school tomorrow. That’s all I cared about. School was my everything and I was great at it. It was my first year of high school and I was at the top of my class. It’s June so only a few weeks left, my first end of year field trip with my new friends and a well-deserved summer ahead. I’m good. Get up the ramp, get the drugs, go home, rock the school stuff, fun with friends. Solid plan.

I’m going to pause the story for a moment. Plans – Just stop making them. No wait. Keep making plans because it’s important to have direction, but stop being attached to them. How annoying am I being right now? I know, I know. I’m sick of hearing it myself. I almost even just went as far as to say: be flexible! Good lord. I may as well put this in the self-help section. Let’s be real though for a moment. Have loose plans. No matter how healthy, financially stable, in love, or whatever other horoscope-esque quality I can think of that you are, plans can get torpedoed. And the more loose your plans, the more open you are, the faster you will bounce right back. Those screwed up plans ain’t going to get you down! You’re loose and you’re golden. Alright, time to resume.

So bright and sunny, yah-da yah-da. Where was I? Right? Climbing. Heaven or hospital? Where will she end up? I give you guys more credit than that. I realize you know I’m writing this so heaven still waits. Or perhaps not, I mean I’ve had 20 more years to mess things up. But I digress.

It truly was the hardest, longest climb of my life. And to be honest, I never really thought of the climb. There’s so much that happened and so much that has happened since. But that climb is very important. Because after that climb, I would never be the same again. Once I finally made it past those emergency doors, that’s when the whirlwind started. A huge tornado swept in and took hold of me. I often feel like I’m still spinning. Maybe I am.

I don’t really remember this part. I just remember hearing words. Words like “I can’t get a pulse”. Lol this guy must be a resident, I probably thought. Of course I had a pulse! I mean that’s pretty basic. I had done some lifeguarding courses so I knew that if a person doesn’t have a pulse you need to try to give them one and get that heart beating. But those people are unconscious. I’m conscious. So once again I’m fine and this guy needs to learn a thing or two about the basics. Plus, I’m here because I have pneumonia guy. That’s what the last doctor told me. Since you can’t even find a pulse, I’m going to pick Doc #1’s opinion over yours. But people seemed to take this guy seriously because the whirlwind swept me past everyone in the waiting room into an exam room very quickly. I guess pneumonia is a big deal. Whatever.

Then the needles came. I remember the needles. I don’t remember much after this. I remember throwing up. Mom had bought me an orange jumbo freezy on the car ride over. Its journey ended in one of those kidney bean shaped dishes they give you to toss your nuggets into when you’re sick. The freezy’s journey was over but mine was just beginning. I remember telling my mom: “Don’t tell anyone about this”. I was so embarrassed. I felt weak. And shit, was I weak. But not in the way I felt. My body was giving up on me.

I remember being given something to make me pee. I guess they needed a sample. I don’t remember exactly how this went but they decided to send me to the children’s hospital. I got into an ambulance. But wait, remember that thing they gave me to make me pee? And of course, that was the bumpiest ride of my life! At the children’s hospital I remember someone coming up to me and talking to me. I was alone on a gurney. I don’t know how I ended up alone or who this guy was, but I certainly wasn’t interested in whatever he was saying. By this point I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I was starting to realize I had been swept into something I had not signed up for. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go home so badly. I ended up in a room in a bed. There were cartoon animals on the wall, and they’d bring in a portable x-ray machine that would hover over my torso to take picture. I remember a nurse and so many needles. Needles in places I never thought of. Needles in arms, in my neck, in my thighs. I was blessed with tiny veins. Not a blessing at all but definitely a great conversation starter piece for every nurse I would ever meet after this.

The rest of this part of the story had to be told to me. I fell unconscious at some point. At least I thought I had. Everything went dark but my family says I was still conscious. Even though I wasn’t all there, the whirlwind continued. There was a doctor working day and night on my case. My parents said they don’t think he ate or slept during this time. My poor parents had to deal with social workers. They were told to prepare funeral arrangements. My parents refused to speak to them further and that doctor refused to give up. What just happened?

Then I woke up.

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