This nurse was no different from all the others. She came in with a pasted on smile, yet steely and cold eyes. I froze and my blood ran cold and turned into sharp shards of ice. Vague childhood memories slammed into me. I suddenly remembered being poked and prodded to find the good or decent vein as I watched helplessly at the supposed liquid cure was dripped into my weak body while it hung from the glinting silver pole. The memories were so strong that I started to cry right then and there even before the nurse took my arm to probe and prod for a decent vein. The reason I was so afraid was because it was a tedious challenge to find a good vein in me. My veins were tiny and my skin was thick with rolls of fat. For the nurse who was about to face my veins and me to combat this infection that invaded my body, it was no different. I lay in the bed paralyzed with fear and the nurse’s cheery smile had turned realistic and sad for we knew what was ahead without saying any words. She had a job to do—find my vein to stick and get the intravenous line going. I had a job to do—try not to cry and stay brave, and above all, stay absolutely still.
My Father immediately left the room as soon as he saw my ramrod straight body and me gripping on the hospital bed railings. I was no longer a little toddler that he had to hold down while I squirmed and screamed. I was no longer a little girl whose hand he held on to when I was stuck with one too many needles. I was going to be a teenager. I could handle this. I had to handle this. Seriously, what choice did I really have?
It took less than a week for the infection to go away and I cheered on my body at its combative attitude. I was so excited to finally leave that hospital yet again. I scrawled in my diary with my one good right hand how thankful I was that I was going to soon leave the hospital. After all, hospitals were not considered a fun place where you were cutting cheese, popping the wine cork, and dancing until all hours on end. Instead, hospitals were considered scary and unsettling with a sickness stamp of approval, but I must have been a weird girl because I never really thought of hospitals as too frightening. Rather, I found hospitals incredibly and utterly boring. There were only so many talk shows and soap operas that I could watch on the television. There were only so many phone calls I could take with repeating: “Yes, I’m okay. No, don’t worry about me.” I craved returning to school to fret about my exams, see my friends who stuck by me, and even encounter some teasing and taunting just to remind me that it was a normal routine of me being a funny little freak.