Appreciate Your Loved Ones
By Ella French
“Let's all meet in the playroom for a family meeting,” yelled my mother up the stairs, her voice shaky. We all gathered into the playroom where my mom was sitting, signs of worry written across her face. “Your father is sick,'' she said, her voice serious and stern, “you probably won't be able to see him for a little while.” I was younger at the time, I was naive, vulnerable. I was unaware of how severe his sickness was, and would turn out to be.
My parents went their separate ways when I was a young child, my father was living about 20 minutes away in Charlotte by Lake Ontario. When I was in fourth grade, on the surface, he was seemingly in perfect health, until one day, at his machine shop where he works, he collapsed, tools clattering on the floor, and then he began to have a seizure. He never had a seizure previous to this, so it was new to us. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and immediately sent to the Emergency Room. The doctors and nurses ran test after test after test on him. What they found would be a shock to all of us.
The test results revealed that my father had blood clots in his brain. The doctors had no clue where they came from, having no previous signs of blood clots anywhere in his body. We found out that he had to undergo brain surgery. My mom took us to Strong Hospital to visit him, to say our goodbyes. At the time, I thought it was over, I thought he wouldn’t make it. The next day, he went into surgery, we had chocolate cream pie -- his favorite -- to honor him, to give him strength. My father survived the surgery, and everything was going great until something happened. I, I was never told what specifically happened due to the graphic nature and how young I was. He was immediately taken back into surgery. He also survived this surgery, and everything remained stable. He was in the hospital for a few weeks, maybe even a month. I was too young to know how durations of time felt, but it felt like an eternity for me.
My dad is still alive now. Even though his brain is blood clot free, he still has long lasting negative effects from the seizure and clots. His back is broken in many spots due to the seizure, and it is unable to heal. I have some long lasting effects as well, both positive and negative. On the positive side, I have learned to not take life for granted. I have learned to appreciate those around me while they are still here, to spend time with them. I have learned that we have no clue how long we have to live, and that I should make the most out of my time. On the negative side, I live in fear. I live in fear that the blood clots will come back. I worry that they will pop up in my brothers or me, and our end result won't be as lucky.
My dad's medical issue was a huge turning point in my life. It made me reflect on myself, my past, and think about my future. It made me thankful for what I have, the life that I have, and thankful for my health. It made me appreciate the people that I have around me, and not take them for granted. That family meeting in the playroom changed my life.
12/23/2021 09:27:04 am
Thank you for sharing, Ella. You had to be so brave and strong to face that at such a young age and even now as you process it as a young adult. You are such a kind and compassionate person and I am sure that your dad has appreciated that from you over the years. Life is a precious thing.
12/23/2021 09:50:15 am
Your vulnerability in this story is admirable, Ella. I know this was hard to write and harder to go through. But I also know that your audience will be able to empathize with you and it will help a lot of people who might be processing similar things. Thank you for sharing it.
12/23/2021 10:13:42 am
Health scares are frightening, and you always feel like the other shoe is going to drop. You are brave, and your wisdom on appreciation about the value of spending time with those you love is admirable.
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