When I was 3 years old I went to the doctor’s for a checkup. Just a routine visit. I remember walking into the brick building with my mom. She was a lot taller than me 16 years ago. Then I remember sitting on the exam table crying. There was blood everywhere and my arm hurt. I felt violated. They did that to me, without warning.
Since, well, Christmas really, I have been just a bit off. It got worse at the beginning of this month. I had the flu, and then it never really went away, and I’m still very fatigued. We took me to the doctor last week. The night before I got about 3-4 hours of sleep because I was so nervous. When they drew blood everyone seemed to think I was about to be sick.
Last Thursday I went to the ER. The pain was so bad at first that I started to black out. I couldn’t talk, but I could think. Lungs, not heart. Loud ringing in my ears. Cold lips. Sweating, gray skin. Shards of glass, being ground into my lungs with each movement. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I had no control over what was going on. They got me hooked up to the monitors, drew blood and took some x-rays. Everything was normal. They decided it was pleurisy, gave me some more meds for the pain (that was all but gone at this point), and sent me home. The only time tears threatened to roll down my face was when they put in my IV, later injected the meds, and when they took it out before I left.
That one afternoon when I was 3 years old has changed my life. Not only do I have a hard time trusting doctors and nurses now, this memory from my early childhood has changed my future. A while back I realized that I would make a great EMT. But then I realized that I would have to let other students learn on my arm. Maybe someday I will be able to do that.
I’ve often heard parents talk about kids being so young they won’t remember things. I’d like to tell you, this is bull crap. I know most people don’t remember things that happen when they were 3, but I do. I also remember singing How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria with my grandmother when I was about 6. I remember the last time I went to the doctors office without anxiety. The funny thing about memory is, you don’t know what is going to stick and what isn’t.