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The lights hurt my eyes. I tried to tell the six doctors that surrounded me to turn them down, but I couldn't speak. Tubes and IVs were connected all along my body. Why was the calendar next to me on February when it was only the middle of January? I later found out that I was wrong. It wasn't January anymore, but it was when I fell asleep three weeks ago.
When I woke up from the three-week long coma, I also didn't know that our family friend had a six-year-old daughter in the hospital room next to me. She had pneumonia just like I did. Her lungs collapsed, and she had all the complications like I did. She died.
I wish I could have left the hospital being as naive as I was when I woke up. I wish they never told me that the little girl died with the same illness that I had. I wish they never told me about the eleven blood transfusions, heart problems and kidney failure. I wish they never told me I was supposed to die also.
It was a week before Winter Formal my freshman year. Life was perfect. There were only three more months before I could get my permit, and one more month until my trip to Mexico. I felt fine. The only thing remotely bothering me was a pulled muscle in my chest. I didn't remember doing anything to it, but everyone insisted that was all it was.
It wasn't a pulled muscle though. My left lung was slowly shutting down, but there was no way we could tell yet. The day after I started feeling the pain in my chest, I started feeling sick. It was no big deal, just a sore throat and a stuffy nose. This cold wasn't enough to keep me from going to the dance though.
Only three days after the 'pulled muscle', two days after the cold symptoms, and six hours after the dance, I was too weak to walk, and had a temperature of 105 degrees. It had all happened so fast. My dad took me to the car and we bolted off to the emergency room.
The red traffic lights in the middle of the night barely made my dad slow down. A quick glance in either direction was all the respect he showed to the normally busy intersections. My vision was blurred as tears gathered in my eyes then slowly rolled out down my cheek. I kept nodding off in the passenger seat next to him, but my dad would squeeze my hand to try to keep me conscious. As we pulled in the parking lot, I saw my mom anxiously waiting in her car by the entry doors under the big red letters reading 'Emergency'. A look for reassurance was passed between my divorced parents. Neither of them said a word.
As soon as my wheel chair was pushed into the building, a quick, jolting pain shot up my left side and sent me wailing in pain, and starving for air. It drew the attention of everyone, which frankly, was the last thing I wanted. 'Get her oxygen!' one nurse yelled to another, as we quickly turned into room number 24. Only seconds later, I was put on a gurney and doctors surrounded me. My mom started to cry as my dad held her in his arms. It was weird to see. I thought they hated each other.
A few quick words were passed between doctors, and my bed was rolled back out of room number 24, and onto the elevator. I had no idea what was going on, but was to weak to even bother asking. I felt horrible. I can't even describe the feeling. Just keeping my head up was taking all of my energy.
The elevator chimed, and the doors opened. A gust of cold, dry air hit us all as we entered the hallway. We stopped in front of a new set of white doors. I looked up and saw four big letters on the wall: 'P I C U'. It stood for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Inside the doors was a desk with a petite woman sitting behind it. One of the doctors walked over to her and briefly stated 'Brittney, critical condition.' She nodded her head and led him into another room.
Another jolt of pain hit, but this time when I gasped for air, nothing happened. A monitor that I had just been connected to started beeping, and a new mask was quickly placed on my face that steadily pumped air into my mouth. The new mask hurt. I wanted to scream in pain, but my body refused to do anything I told it to.
My mom held my hand and told me everything would be okay, although she didn't believe it herself. A cold chill went up my arm and startled me. A nurse had put a new liquid in my IV. The cold sensation went away as soon as it came, and I fell asleep.
I woke up feeling sore and tired. Finally the sun was up. It was refreshing to see the natural light, but it was too bright, and it hurt my eyes. The doctors from the night before weren't there anymore, but six new ones were. I saw my dad standing by the window, looking out at the river. The room that was bare last night was now covered in dozens of flower arrangements, posters, balloons and stuffed animals. I was surprised that so many people could come in one night, and sad that no one woke me up to say hello.
I tried to speak but something was stopping me. The uncomfortable mask was gone, but there was something in my mouth making it so I couldn't talk. How did I not wake up when they did something like this to me? I tried to grab it out, but my arm wouldn't move. I groaned in frustration and started to cry again. At least my dad heard that. He turned around and stared for a second in shock.
'She's awake,' he stuttered without taking his eyes off of me.
In a matter of seconds, both my parents and doctors surrounded my bed again, and scurried around my dozens of monitor connections.
It wasn't until a couple weeks later that I found out I had been in a coma. The whole thing didn't seem real. I had been just fine, and then suddenly every thing went wrong.
Eight weeks after the day I was sent into room 24 in the E.R., I was released. We packed my bags as if we were leaving from a hotel room. I waited in my wheelchair with my dad by the big sliding glass doors at the entrance of the hospital. Every time the doors opened, a cold breeze hit and would send chills up my spine. I loved the feeling of the fresh air. It had been so long since I had felt it. I saw the black 4-runner pull up, and my mom step out. She was relaxed and smiling this time. The last time I saw her get out of that car, she rushed out and her face was red from crying. Once I was in the car, I knew everything would be okay. I looked back at the hospital, my home for the past eight weeks, and smiled. It was finally over.