to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the
ability to remember every scar.” ~Stephen King
Presbyterian Children’s Hospital for my own personal graduation ceremony
in the middle of the ICU. I was SO excited and grateful to be able to
go back there again this afternoon, this time to perform a concert…
and quite nostalgic. What brought be back the most was seeing the kids
being wheeled outside to the garden to get some fresh air and sunlight
from their wheelchairs. I’ll have some videos and pictures for you by
next week 🙂
“Rainbow Connection” with me, and I’d try to sing – not at all initially
since I couldn’t emit any noise whatsoever with a ventilator and
tracheotomy, but little by little, I’d get out a little raspy note,
eventually a word, a phrase, and then here I was singing “Rainbow
Connection” with my brother, just like old times…but quite, quite
I did a guest post last week for Laura of “Inside Laura’s Head”– a spunky lifestyle blogger who created a spectacular series – every week someone writes about their own unique experience, whatever it may be, starting with “What Happens When…” – a great prompt if you ever wanted to journal about something! You can read the full article on Laura’s website.
What happens when…you take your first sip of water in three years.
by Amy Oestreicher
parched throat – left dry as a desert for day after uncertain day – was
extremely refreshing. But even the biggest Las Vegas-style buffet could
not have appeased my insatiable hunger at that point.
non-alcoholic Shirley Temples. Nowhere in my teenage view could I ever
had anticipated a coma right before my senior prom, and months later,
being awoken by doctors who solemnly shook their heads and shrugged as
they said “you can’t eat or drink right now. And we don’t know when…or
if…you’ll ever be able to again.”
swabs the nurses would give me were just not doing the trick. .Even
though it was torture, I’d make whoever came in to check on me also tell
me what they drank with breakfast that morning. Every straw I passed,
pleasantly reclined in a cool shiny glass of Pepsi, made my lips
tremble. Every plastic bottle of Poland Spring firmly clenched in a
visitor’s hands felt like a glamorous magazine ad of a model flaunting
the finest diamond necklace. I saw every slurp from a hospital
Styrofoam cup in glorified slow motion, like a hair model tossing her
hair in the wind and the extravagant symphony of strings playing in the
the more you become obsessed with. In the Child Life department of the
hospital, all the kids who couldn’t eat were always the ones who wanted
to play in the toy kitchen. It was too hard to shut out drinks from my
mind even in the hospital, so I had no choice but to became fixated on
it. The first day I was allowed outside in the hospital garden, I
insisted on standing right by the sprinklers.
became onsessed with the forbidden world of water even more. I would
spend hours playing with my sink. I amassed a secret collection of
every possible drink container – flasks, baby bottles, pitchers – and
I’d spend the night just pouring liquid from one vessel to the next,
imagining how that cool, crisp, clear water would finally feel down my
throat. I even tried to talk my mother into purchasing one of those
water playtime tables for toddlers – but she insisted that at 20 years
old, I might be a bit…old….for that.
familiar with as a well-fed Jewish girl. But then again, I didn’t
expect my life – free of any medical problems whatsoever – to suddenly
be rerouted when two weeks before my high school senior prom, my stomach
exploded due to a blood clot – all I remember is being in intense pain
during that day.
27 at this point), various medical interventions, and the feeling of
total alienation from any kind of “normal life” or “real world.” I held
on day after day, even making fake countdowns in my head, believing
that one day I would drink, and it would happen.
liquid! After a barium swallow proved that things were flowing to the
right places, I was allotted two whole ounces of water.
would happen? Would I choke? Did I still remember how to swallow?
And worse, what if that two ounces made me thirstier and I wanted more?
The doctors wanted to be very cautious when startng out, but what if
the water made my hunger even more insatiable?
fiancé and I gorged ourselves on hot dogs and chicken tenders at Yankee
stadium. I’m happy, healthy and hungry as ever now. Like everyone
else, I sometimes forget how hard life was when I had to take it day by
day, wondering if I’d ever drink again. But I always come back to
remembering how very grateful I am, how blessed I feel, and how TASTY
food and drink can be!
Thanks Laura for publishing this – and now it’s your turn – what is your “what happens when…” – what would you like to share your own what happens when and read some of her past featured bloggers on her What Happens When section.
oh and also…now I’m eating, drinking, and then some…so no worries!
A bit more writing…
Some Talk of You & Me published my writing on How Creativity Saved My Life. I’ve also written a bit about my sexual abuse – a bit on discovering a book that completely disrupted my denial for Defying Shadows, and a bit about becoming numb after being abused for Dropped Keys. But I’ll share that with you a bit later on.
Oh – and I’m still on twitter – and I’m hooked, somebody stop me!!! @amyoes