The Aftermath

Where do I even begin?

Last Friday, exactly a week ago, I had two thirds of my left lung removed. The surgeon said it was the size of a cantaloupe. That’s really very scary.

I originally thought they would have had to remove my ribs, so as soon as I woke up, my first question was what did you do?

I vaguely remember speaking to my surgeon and seeing his shadow. I just nodded and smiled the entire time.

My strength actually fascinates me. My father took a video of me crying. I didn’t cry for myself. There was no self-pity. I cried for those around me. I cried for my aunt. I cried for my surgeon. I cried for the people I love.

                                        

Most of my time in the hospital has been a blur – most of it spent on narcotics that send me to cloud 9, which I really don’t mind.

As soon as I open my eyes, they shut, once again allowing me to fall into a deep sleep.

It seems like a different world. My daily activities consist of eating, taking drugs, sleeping, and doing that all over again. I have no worries and I have no interest in doing anything besides laying in bed and playing Candy Crush. I cast aside any other activity that stimulates my mind because my attention span is all of zero. Anytime I try to type a text, I fall asleep after the first sentence (which usually looks like: inifnirgjifjriw hugatrqftv wfrn).

photo 2 (1)I hardly ever sleep. Every hour on the hour either a nurse, a respiratory specialist or a patient care technician comes in the room to do something with me. The hospital has no clock. They give me injections, and take blood and X-rays whenever they feel like it.

I am Bane.

I am Bane.

I love my respiratory specialists. They nebulize me and then they pass a percussor along my back for 20 minutes. It’s heaven.

I’ve taken so many medications. For a person who never even used to take Tylenol, I’m poppin’ pills like it’s my profession.

                                        

Having been contained in one room for such a long time would give any normal human being cabin fever, but I don’t mind it too much. It’s different. The nurses have become close friends of mine and the only other social interactions I can say I’ve had is smiling at other sick patients as we both make laps around the floor’s hallways. But we’re all here trying to fight for the same thing: life.

photo 5 (1)

My first steps.

I walk to pass time and to straighten my back a little – after all, I sit in the hospital bed 98 percent of the day. When I get up and go, I go. There’s nothing else to do and walking makes me feel better so I make 3 to 4 laps each time I walk, which takes an hour to 45 minutes. Mind you, I walk so damn slow and I get winded very easily. For a person who ran 3 miles everyday and swears by CrossFit, it’s really depressing to see my body so weary and run down.

I’m the most fashionable walking patient there is. I have my Prada, Gucci and Tory Burch clutches at all times. I wish this was true – a girl can pretend, right? The bags are two chest leak boxes, and the other holds my heart rate monitor.

photo 2 (3)

I had two air leaks. So, the doctors had two chest tubes connected to the lung through the left side of my torso. Fortunately, the first was removed after 3 days but I still have one in that just won’t heal properly. I won’t be released from the hospital until then. It can heal in two days or it can take 2 more weeks. Who knows what’s gonna happen.

There are no more flights to Trinidad. Obviously this saddens me in so many ways. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I haven’t even had time to enjoy it or introduce it in any way. I would have been in Syracuse this week finishing my finals, building a snowman and finally decorating my very first real Christmas tree. But, I guess not.

Things don’t always work out the way you want them too, and I get that. I just hope everything works out. I don’t want anything else but to start the new year in good health with the rest of my family.

                                        

Day 1 was like starting life from scratch. I had to learn how to walk and function again. It was very difficult. I was given a few breathing exercises to do every single hour I’m awake to re-expand the lung.

Over the past few days, I’ve seen remarkable progress. Every single day, I’m able to do something new, whether it be something as little as putting on my own socks or sleeping on my side. My scar is almost fully healed and it just adds character (not that I need anymore).

                                        

What I’m thankful for:

  1. Mom, dad and Aunty Christine. I don’t know what I would have done without each of them.
  2. Having a hospital that has room service. Time to feast!
  3. Amazing nurses. Southern hospitality is a real thing, people.
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2 comments

  1. I am not sure if this will be comforting, but you had this health hiccup at a perfect time. You’re young enough to be stronger than most, you seem to be healing very well, and even if you were not in TT for Christmas, you were awake and relatively well for it. A year from now you’ll be celebrating your year of health. And I speak from experience as on December 7th of this year I celebrated two years of having my aortic valve replaced. Where you’re at now, experiencing your body anew, will truly get better.

    Keep strong,

    Lise

  2. So very proud of you Theresa and your deep understanding of the meaning of life. Being your first real English teacher in high school at Maple Leaf, I always was amazed at how expressive you were and today I see you have put your experience into such a beautiful and sensitive interpretation of this profound unforgettable experience that you can share with so many others. It is a privilege to have been your teacher and a small part of your writing art! God bless you and may your story touch many more lives! Suzanne Soderstrom.

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