Tuesday, February 3, 2015
april 17th, 2009.
I am going to (try and) imitate Debbie Frampton’s essay Letting Daddy Die as I continue to build upon my experience in getting mono in high school. I am going to focus on imitating the reflection she has during the event of her essay (looking back at memories while also explaining the situation at hand). I don’t usually do this, but I think it would add a little bit more to this story of mine. However, her essay ends feeling very unresolved, but I don’t think that would be possible when referencing scripture since the point of the scripture is to bring a sort of peace or resolution to the problem. I may or may not include the scripture. We shall see what happens as I write it:
My eyes fluttered open and closed as my mother sped down the freeway to the ER. Lying back in the front seat of my dad’s Honda, I saw small, blurred stars against the navy blanket of sky, a rare clarity for April in Seattle. I saw the worry on my mom’s face as she frequently glanced at my sweat sheened forehead. When we got to the hospital, I was helped into a wheelchair and pushed into a room, then shuffled into a bed to lie down again. My head bobbed around as I was asleep more than I was awake in that visit. When spoken to, I looked at my mom for reassurance, but I only saw worry and fear. I tried my best to answer their questions, but my words slurred, half of them being lost in what I thought was a dream and the rest not even said because I actually was dreaming.
“So, what did I do wrong this time, huh?” I was sassy toward my father after a not-so-well-played soccer game and pulled the car door shut, hard. He looked surprised, but chuckled. It felt like he always was getting on my case about something or another. You could have been faster, you could have passed smarter, you could have blocked that goal, you could have tied your shoes tighter. Well, that last one, not so much, but that is what it felt like. In the moment, those times were frustrating, as I sat there, grass-stained, usually bleeding somewhere, tired and sore, listening to my dad tell me everything that I did right and everything I messed up on. But of course I only remember the things he mentioned I screwed up. In retrospect, I wish I could listen to all those talks again.
My mom near burst into tears when she was informed I was not about to die. Turned out, I had contracted a severe case of mononucleosis. I was told my spleen was enlarged (that still sounds so disgusting) and if I did anything too physically intensive, it could burst and kill me. It seemed a bit dramatic, but apparently truthful. Mono-hives covered my arms and legs, a fever wracked my body, and I slept for almost three weeks straight. I don’t even remember driving home that night at the ER. All the hard-earned muscle I had built up from a full season of soccer, basketball, and weight lifting disappeared with my curves as I lost a fifth of my body weight in those few weeks. It took me three more weeks to be strong enough to return to school, dropping three classes and taking naps during those times instead. I was perpetually exhausted and over time I realized I would not be continuing sports in the rest of my high school career. After nine years of soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track, and cross country, I would not recover enough to be able to compete with my peers, let alone keep up with them.
“Pick up the pace, Self, don’t be the last one!” Ugh, I hated the varsity basketball coach sometimes. As we ran lines, I was always the first one done, so I would do a few extra, but he didn’t see that. He saw me continuing to run as the other players heaved at the sideline, only finishing their 17 while I was on 20. They were the ones who couldn’t keep up with me. I may not have been very quick, but I was sure helluva lot faster than any of them. Not-so-subtly glaring at him, I finished my set and stood by the other girls, standing straight, triumphant, proud, and hardly breathing heavy as the rest were doubled over and wheezing.
Since school had gotten out, I had started to go on frequent walks and then pushed myself to go on runs. I still slept more than the average teenager which says a lot, but I was finally getting back into it. I was still tired all the time but I was getting better. About three months after first night in the hospital and mere weeks from soccer try-outs for the fall season
Yeah, that’s a thing you can do with mono. And of course, I did it. My fever hit 104 and I slept for three days before I was back in the hospital bed. Unsure what was happening, my mom was back in her state of stressful worry. Being told mono was back was almost more devastating than hearing about it in the first place. She breathed again. I cried some more.
Over time, I became bitter toward my situation. My former teammates continued to play the game, not even slightly phased by my absence. I felt as though I had worked harder than any of them, which probably wasn’t always true, but it sure felt like it. They didn’t know what they had still. They could still play. They could very literally still walk and not be weary, run and not faint. I had it all taken away from me, in a weekend. In a moment. It was all gone.