Second Night Miracle
DECEMBER 23, 2019
A second miracle for night two of Hanukkah: to be discharged from my second hospital visit (only two days after the last one) in time to light two candles with my two favorite humans, albeit in two different places, just two days before Christmas.
I am trying to be brave, to believe in miracles, and to find light amid darkness, but it becomes increasingly difficult when faced with compounding health challenges and inconclusive medical findings. In additional to all other internal and external complications from my accident, doctors say that what is now happening to and within my body from a gastrointestinal perspective is very rare for a healthy 28-year-old like myself, especially one as cognizant of and committed to a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
The medical care I received at Mass General was exceptional — and while doctors still do not know precisely what is causing my internal bleeding, many of the worst case scenarios have thankfully been ruled out, dangerous levels of blood loss have been stopped, and one source of upper GI bleeding has been discovered. The doctor sounded shockingly positive when he shared that news, despite using language that seemed frightful and gruesome to me. I asked trepidatiously, “So we are supposed to celebrate this?” “Yes," he said, calming my apprehension with a disarming smile and chuckle. “Alright!” I raised my arms in the air from my hospital bed, attempting to recognize yet another bizarrely warped win with only a tinge of irony. The entire team laughed. “We like when our patients are responsive and even more so, when they are happy!” Any happiness is clearly relative, as is every tiny sense of forward progress — and also my tempered negative response to this latest serious medical setback, when viewed as just one more damn thing that necessitates attention and action, amid a spate of other ailments, multifaceted stresses and ongoing disappointments over the past three months and currently. I am now home at my grandma's and will remain as such — laying low, eating mildly, drinking water, meds in hand, knowing what to look out for and determined to make it through Christmas with my family, and then go back in for further treatments and follow-up care from teams I trust.
I repeat to myself what I have come to learn throughout this horrific recovery journey about medical practice being just that: practice. As much as I appreciate and respect all efforts, expert synthesis, educated guesses, well-informed suggestions, new insights, pain management, and commitment to restoring me to full health, I have come to see that every aspect of the diagnosis, decision and treatment process unquestionably takes longer and proves infinitely more complex than anyone desires or foresees. That is infuriating, often devastating, even impossible to face, but we are all human beings doing our best and seeking to work miracles in our own ways — me, you, and yes, the seemingly superhuman doctors from whom we expect immediate, absolute solutions and in whose hands we place our lives.