Friday, October 21, 2011

Strange Men and Lots of Boxes

Do you ever wonder what someone must think of you in a ridiculous situation?

I do. I wonder what my classmates think when I walk back in the classroom after a month, when the security guards watched my Mom come and go from the dorm for a couple of weeks, and most notably when strange men are waiting with large boxes for me in the lobby.

Note of clarification: the strange men with very large boxes are people from the healthcare company bringing me my bags of TPN. Just in case you were wondering.

My friends and professors are happy to see me back on campus, they smile and say, “I’m so glad you’re feeling better!” I smile back and thank them, and unless it’s a close friend, that’s the end of that conversation. But to those I know better, I tell them that I’m still a little broken, just out ‘on pass’ so to speak, having convinced my doctors to let me go home on TPN so that I could get out of the hospital. I’ve been on NG tube feeds and other types of home treatments, but never TPN. It’s kind of fun pretending to be a nurse as I set up the tubing and tend to my PICC line, though I highly doubt the average 20 year would find the same satisfaction in flushing a line. I set up the TPN by dinner time, and 14 hours and a big bag of nutrition later, I unhook myself and go off to classes. 

And that’s fine and dandy, and better than being in the hospital, but my new schedule makes evening activities more difficult. On Tuesday nights I have yoga - and even though I just got out of the hospital on Saturday, I felt well enough to go and desperately wanted to. So I went - with my yoga bag and TPN churning in a little backpack. Of course it was initially awkward walking into the school gym with IV tubing and doing yoga like that, but to be honest it wasn’t that big of a deal and it felt better to be back amongst the living (even with TPN) than stuck in a hospital bed.

There are 8 weeks left of the semester, but in reality mine just started. I walk around campus thinking of the PICC hidden under my sweater and the ostomy hidden in my jeans. The dorm security guards let the strange men with large, heavy boxes come up to my room to drop them on my floor. And while I wonder what my peers think, it doesn’t really matter. I fought for my right to be back on campus, and after a month of being in the hospital and so much of my life taken up feeling sick, there’s no time to waste living my life right now. 

In life, there isn’t time to be sick. Unfortunately, we don’t really have a choice. But we do have a choice about what we do with our time - so why not make it the very best it can be? I’m trying - even if it includes strange men with large boxes, it’s a fight I’m willing to fight.


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