“Your life won’t ever be the same,” the surgeon said. I turned over in my hospital bed, in a pitifully tiny brown room. He said the words I expected to hear. I was past that shock. My window looked out towards nothing but a brick wall. At least the daylight could shine in.
I was 18 and my very brief adult life had just suffered a massive false start. In an instant, I went from being perfectly healthy, to disabled. That single moment spiraled into several weeks, months of hospitalizations, medications, and surgeries. So I started it all over. That’s what I was doing then, I had decided. Starting new.
I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t scared and I didn’t lament the part of me that was left behind that moment. She had to go. Hard lessons had been learned with many more to come. She deserved to stay behind, enveloped in the innocence of that time.
Eventually, I go home, with my damaged spine, frayed nerves and a body that felt like it had been set on fire from the inside out. Friends moved on. My moods suffered. The isolation was hard to bear.
A few weeks pass and I make the drive back down to Charleston. I am different. The sun feels warmer, I feel stronger, and I am cleared to move on with my new life. This time, I look out of the window of my room to see a beautiful morning in the harbor; a new beginning.