I’ve been excited for this one. Welcome to story time.
I turned nineteen in California. I celebrated it with my then boyfriend, he put up a bunch of balloons on different parts of the house, turned it into a scavenger hunt. It was such a beautiful gesture form a man that was actually one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever known. Not the point of the story, but it was really nice.
We celebrated and then we went to bed. When I woke up it felt like my stomach had dropped onto my pelvis. I could hardly bend over to get my pants on, but of course I did, because I had to go to work.
I still struggle to find words to describe the pain I had felt. I have told this story many times (it’s really the only truly interesting part about me) and still I haven’t come close to accurately portray it. The closest I can get is to imagine the feeling when someone rather large sits on your stomach, then make them about thirty times larger, and they are sitting inside of your body. It was a super fun time.
Anyway, I got ready because I simply had to go into work. I needed the money, I had to support myself and all of that jazz. So I arrived feeling like absolute rubbish for my eight hour shift, wishing for death, when they told me to go home.
See, they didn’t know I was ill. I didn’t say anything, I was always afraid to call in sick, and, you know, the money thing. But what did happen was that the servers were all shut off. No one knew why, they were back on in a few hours, it had never happened before. But they had no need for me since nothing was running, so I walked back home.
I lived with my cousin and her husband at that stage, when I couldn’t make it up the stairs, he took me to the emergency room. To this day I still tell them that he saved my life.
I had never been in an ER before, I had never really been that suddenly sick before, I was scared. Everything happened very quickly, I got an internal ultrasound (which was unbelievably painful) and then I was told that I bleeding into my own uterus. Not ten minutes later I was under anaesthesia, being operated on.
Turns out that one of the cysts I have on my ovaries/uterus (gross) had burst, which is normal for someone with my condition. However with my stupidity of crashing bikes in my childhood, coupled with previously burst cyst (also gross), I had loads of internal scarring. So this particular burst grabbed hold of a piece of scar tissue and boom. Deadly Internal bleeding.
When I woke up after surgery, my mouth drier than ever before, the surgeon came in to see me. She told me I was incredibly lucky. If I had left it for another four hours, I would have passed out from the blood loss, they wouldn’t have known where my pain was coming from and probably wouldn’t have been able to treat me in time.
I could have died.
In fact, I almost did. Because that morning I went into work, determined to fulfil my eight hour shift, blissfully unaware that I was losing blood. The only reason I didn’t was because the systems were mysteriously down for a few hours. Which had never happened before. Not in my whole six months of living in California, did it happen more than that one time. If that doesn’t tell you that the universe wants me to live, I don’t know what does.
It brought a lot of reflection for me, at the age of nineteen, about morality. About having children since one of my ovaries is now damaged. About my place in the world.
It gave me the push to leave California, and find myself in my new home, which I am grateful for everyday. It has given me a perspective which allows me to let go of things that don’t make me happy, because it is so incredibly possible for me to have used up all my luck in the first near death experience.
It taught me who my real friends were, because they were waiting for me in the hospital, they helped me recover. They got me out of the crushing depression that immediately followed.
I have learned what truly matters to me now. It had to take me almost dying, but there you have it.