Courageous at Cedars-Sinai
I was eight years old the first time I realized that I needed time and rest. Sports were out of the picture, considering the situation I was in. I was scared because I didn't know if I was going to wake up. I found out that anesthesia has killed people before me, and I didn't want to be a victim.
"Just breathe in and breathe out." whispers the doctor in a calm tone. I take slow, steady breaths, squeezing my stuffed animal tight. Clunk! My head hit the pillow, and I dozed off into a forced, dreamless sleep. I was born with a disorder called clubfeet. My feet were put in casts for eight weeks since the day I was born. My feet slowly kept arching up and inching in like a golf club. Another name for clubfeet is talipes equinovarus. It's a rare disease for elders but it's common in newborn babies. Most treatments are successful, but their have been a few mistakes over the years. In 2007, seven of the seventy-two treated feet didn’t improve. The night before my operation, I hugged my parents good night, and prayed that everything would be alright.
Waking up the next morning, I realized that I took my ability to walk everyday for granted. I never realized that some people don’t have enough money to get cured. They might never walk in their life. I felt confident going into the room, where I changed into the robe that the blue-eyed nurse gave me. Everything after that was a blur. I woke up in a different room, still clutching onto my stuffed animal, Boo. I felt nauseous, although those were the common symptoms. My doctor, Deirdre Ryan, told me that the surgery was very successful. I finally gained enough strength to look down at my feet. I saw a flash of pink and purple, and fainted. I scared myself by looking at my feet. My parents started to wake me up a few hours later, and I felt unalert and hungry.
“You fainted at the sight of the casts. It’s a normal reaction” assured my nurse.
“Ookkayy” I stumbled. Sleeping in the hospital is not as bad as it sounds, except I felt awful because my parents had to sleep in chairs. I experienced great feelings of remorse. I wanted to help out my parents so bad but I just didn’t know how to. I don’t remember if I cried myself to sleep or dozed off from all the medications I took, but I remember how awful I felt. I got cleared the next day and went home in my wheelchair. Many of my friends and family came to visit and give me their best wishes.
At the end of the day, the surgery shaped me into who I am today. I’m bold, strong, and courageous. I have mercy for others, but I don’t fill my mind with negativity. I’m an optimist and I try to always look for the bright side of things. I can do everything I want to do today, and my opportunities in the future are endless. I want to be a pediatric orthopedic, just like Dr. Ryan, who was my surgeon. She’s my idol, and I want to help kids like me. We can get through this together, and I want to make sure everyone’s possibilities are endless.