When I Almost Died

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I was looking through the My Documents folder on my resurrected desktop computer, which was out of commission for well over a year until about a month ago. One of the things I discovered was a text file from 1992 when I was applying to college. It turns out to be a college application essay. It's not the one I used for Brown, and I don't know where that one is. I did this later for the schools I didn't apply early to (Brown at the time allowed you to apply early but not make a commitment to go there, which almost no one allowed at the time and probably no one allows now). Anyway, it's about the time I was a hair's breadth from death in third grade, and it seemed fitting to use it for my 800th post. The style seems really wooden, in restrospect, and it seems really short to me now, but I was 17 when I wrote this, and I don't think I even had a Windows machine at the time. If I had to write about this now, I'd say a number of things much differently and reflect on some things I barely hint at here, but the thoughts I express here give a glimpse into my reflections on my life so far as I ended my time in high school, and it's nice to have captured something of that for posterity. I have changed none of the text that follows except to correct one capitalization mistake that was so glaringly obvious that I couldn't leave it. On to the essay:

For most of my childhood I was highly susceptible to ear infections and strep throat. I was the most frequent visitor to the school nurse. Antibiotics did not help. Finally, just before my ninth birthday, my parents decided that I should have a tonsillectomy.

The operation went relatively smoothly. Afterwards, the doctor told my parents that my tonsils were the most diseased he had ever seen. When I returned home, I refused to drink anything because it hurt so much. I bled a little that evening, but the next morning the doctor said that I would be alright. After we left, he realized that I might be dehydrated, although I had no symptoms, and he called my parents.

I was taken to the hospital and fed intravenously. As soon as they put the intravenous needle in my arm, I started hemorrhaging. I coughed up so much blood that I had to receive six pints, almost as much blood as my small body held. I was unable to breathe without a respirator. I soon developed pneumonia from the blood in my lungs. I was in the Intensive Care Unit from Saturday night to Monday afternoon. The resident on duty happened to be an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. There was also an E.N.T. doctor whose office was across the street. They operated to stop the bleeding and saved my life. That Sunday night they decided that they would perform a tracheotomy the next morning, but when my doctor, Dr. MacRae, arrived, he decided against it. I recovered rapidly. I was taken out of Intensive Care and given physical therapy for my pneumonia.

Most people do not begin to ponder the mysteries of life at the age of nine. When I almost died, however, I think it made me more introspective than other kids my age. My experience showed me how precious life is. I would have died had the doctor not called my parents to warn them that I might be dehydrated. I almost died anyway. Because I was young, my body was able to handle the stress. If I had been at home, there would not have been enough time to reach the hospital.

I believe that there must be a reason why I survived. The doctor's realization that I was dehydrated and the fact that two E.N.T. doctors happened to be available seem too much of a coincidence. I cannot picture all of these events as just happenstance.

My hospitalization not only caused me to consider death, and my death in particular, but it also instilled in me a deeper appreciation for life. I often think of how other people's lives would have been different if I had not lived. My survival has affected many people, altering their lives in minor and major ways. This experience strengthened my faith in God and provided an impetus both to do well in school and to make my life worthwhile.

4 Comments

Not stilted at all, i found it comfortably introspective and a wonderful testimony. we're glad you're here, Jeremy...

I agree -- thanks for sharing this, Jeremy!

Amazing story, Jeremy. Thanks for sharing it.

Re: 800th post --You might want to look into Jeremy Jackson's theories on general obsessions with round numbers.

Peace, Salaam & Shalom Jeremy,‎

I had a similar experience at the age of one month. Obviously I don't remember ‎MUCH but knowing that I stopped breathing for a few minutes and doctors said I ‎would be mentally handicapped (some say I am LOL) makes my existence in this ‎universe warranted, as you say "more introspective" and "there must be a reason why ‎I survived". ‎

Heightened physical senses as well. ‎

Issue being those times you're waiting to know the reason you've survived rather than ‎sit around working all day or change the baby's diaper. ‎

The reason is your hearty smile that lights up a room when you walk in, your giving ‎and friendly manner, your dedicated and hard work, your loyalty to family, friends ‎and spouse. ‎

And, you ask �if we bring so much joy to this world why aren�t we living the good ‎life?��next issue�..‎

I am with all those who lost a loved ones in the tsunamis; may you find the strength it takes to go on.

TB

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