Empowerment of Self


I was sitting in my hospital bed, it seemed like yesterday. A few days before I had my first surgery, and I was learning the whole new world of Cauda Equina. I was sad, depressed, and longed for a reality far away from the whirlwind I was in. I constantly thought to myself, "Haylee, just get over it. Suck it up. Things could be worse".

One afternoon my very best friend, Anna, paid me a visit. I had an awful morning, struggling with pain, and Anna was like sunshine to my soul! We visited, along with my sister, cutting up and giggling. For a moment, I was able to avoid the big CES elephant in the room. Everything seemed normal for a small instant.

It seems like when you’re feeling your best, something comes out of nowhere to knock you down, this time it was a, for light of better words, poop! It sounds funny talking about it now, but that was not the case the day I was visiting with Anna. One moment we were giggling so hard, that I literally defecated on myself. One of the worst parts about CES, and something we all know too well. This was the first time it happened, and I was so embarrassed. I was in shambles. Out of nowhere, tears began to fill my eyes as I asked my sister to get the nurse.

Soon after, two nurses came in to clean me up, and the mess I made. My sister and friend waited in the hallway. I stood there, propped on my walker, as they begin to clean me up and change my bed. Tears just rolling down my cheeks. Uncontrollable emotion radiating through my whole body. Who was this? Who am I now? Will this last forever? The amount of questions that ran through my mind in that moment could fill a book. When all the sudden I felt a gentle hand on my cheek.

My nurse saw how much distress I was in, and turned my head towards hers, and she said the most profound thing I've ever heard. "Sweet Baby, everything is going to be okay. Honey, you're one of the lucky ones. There are people dying in this hospital. Dry those tears. This will only last a short time". She was the cutest little thing, a small African American senior, who you could tell had seen a lot in life, and stood about 5 feet tall. Despite her small stature, wisdom emitted from her. Right then and there, my tears stopped. I was lucky. I wasn't battling cancer. I wasn't on life support. I wasn't in the morgue. I was alert. I was alive. I was breathing.

Since this experience, I've learned that your worst enemy can be self-pity. Give into your sadness, but don't let it control you. There is more in the world you are missing out on. You still have so much life to give, don't waste it! I will leave you with these wise words from Helen Keller, and I hope you take the chance to see the light in your world!

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world."

-Helen Keller


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