Eight years ago, in my second semester of my sophomore year of college, I developed Pneumonia. At first I figured it was just a cold, and kept going to class. Eventually I went to the health center where they diagnosed tonsillitis and gave me some antibiotics. I stopped going to class, my fever rose, I couldn't keep food in my body, and I took those antibiotics. After two weeks of being sick, and getting progressively worse, I called my mom in a feverish and exhausted haze and asked if she thought I should go to the hospital. She came to pick me up the next day and took me to our family doctor. Just like that my school year was done. There they said I had mono and drew blood to send out to confirm this. While waiting days for those labs to come back, my body started shutting down. By the time the doctor called to say it wasn't mono, I could no longer keep water in my body, and I was pleading to go to the hospital. I had dropped out of college. I vanished from the life I had built around myself, and I didn't and couldn't care.
I was in and out of consciousness at that point, because of the low amount of oxygen in my system and my body was losing. The doctor said to come back in since I didn't have mono. So we did. Then we were sent to the hospital for a chest X-ray. Then to the ER to be immediately checked in. Then to a room to stay. When the nurse took my pulse ox, she thought the machine must be broken, because according to that I should have been in a coma. I only remember watching things from outside of myself, and I couldn't hear anyone. I was so faded. The next morning when I woke up, back inside my own body, the doctor on rounds told me that I should be dead. "You should be dead. Do you smoke? Do you eat well? How did you get so sick?" Well sir I'm pretty sure the medical community let me down on that one, but don't worry cause y'all did come in in the clutch there. My faded self had no idea what he was saying, what the words meant. I was back in my body though so I think I knew I had made it through. The point of all of this is not that I could have died, the point is that I lived and I was lost. Suddenly my life was very different from before. I got sick at the beginning of February. College life, normal life, went on for all the connections that I had in a day. I was someone else though.
Getting back inside my body, was much easier than getting back inside my head. Really I think it wasn't until we moved to Arizona that I was fully present again. So I have a big family of beautiful souls who I owe a thank you to for being and searching for me and reaching out even when I couldn't or wouldn't reach back. First I want to thank my momma bear for saving my life. Thank you for all that you did to take care of me, trying to get me better, and for standing up for me when I couldn't stand up for myself. You did so much for me and I will always appreciate it and be thankful for you. Second I want to thank all of the beautiful people at Appel Farm in the summer of 2007 for existing, talking, sharing, hugging, and the love that came pouring into my empty, faded, and worn thin soul. You all did more than you could ever have known and I will be forever grateful for that community of humans who proved to me that life is good even when you are struggling. Third I want to thank those friends from Kutztown who checked in, checked up, sought me out in any way at all, before I got really sick, while I was sick, or after I was sick. I am not super close to many people from Kutztown at the moment and that makes me a little sad sometimes, but life goes on and I love getting little glimpses of all these beautiful lives weaving their way through the world. I also want to apologize for my abrupt vacancy, both physically and mentally. Finally I want to thank all the people that I have met since then who have accepted and held on and stayed close through distance, disagreements, and struggles. All of you people are just beautiful and awesome and I appreciate every ounce of humanity that I have ever come in contact with.
Everyday we come in contact with others. Others who are struggling and we don't know it. Others who are faded and worn and we don't know it. Others who need a little bit of love and we don't know it. I will always remember that and be forever grateful for all the beautiful, caring people who once were or still are parts of my life, with our stories briefly connected in this life. So thank you all, I appreciate it.