During the few months in which I had my surgeries, I was extremely lucky. The process of being operated on twice (on my brain as well!) at the age of seven was not very pleasant. I often walked around the hospital with multiple IV’s stuck in my arms. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to have several sources of happiness at my disposal, all of which helped me get through my operations. It is not easy to find ways to keep oneself occupied in the hospital, and being kept busy/entertained during the rough times can be a life-saver.
One of the activities that kept me going during my surgeries was email. Although emailing does not seem like the most rejuvenating or exciting of actions, it served as a way to connect with friends and feel a sense of normalcy. Before my surgeries, my class was learning how to type on a keyboard. Before I was about to leave to go to Stanford for operations, my recently-passed teacher Julie had recommended for me to practice my typing while I was away.
Emailing friends gave me a genuine sense of being back with them and made me feel less lonely. Despite receiving gifts and nice letters as well as having my loving mother and father stay with me in the hospital, there remained an unmistakable sense of loneliness. I remembered thinking that there was not anything in the entire world that I would not give to be normal.
I often think about the things that helped me through my time at Stanford, and the common theme seemed to be a strong support base. Through the archaic email system of the late 2000s I was able to access a key part of my support base back in the city. My class was unforgettably kind and thoughtful to me during my time away in California. I missed several class trips to landmarks around Manhattan, one of which was a trip to the Empire State Building. My classmates even held up a signs that read, “We Love Reddy” on the very top.
The level of inclusion and care that I felt was very powerful, and is something that I am still grateful for. Kindness and support can transform an experience, changing it from a traumatic nightmare to an overcome-able obstacle. But when all is said and done, it started with email.
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Additionally, I will be altering my posting schedule for this blog seeing as school is coming up and there will be less and less time to write. I will try to post ONCE a week starting in the next few weeks and the posts will most likely be on the weekend. Again, subscribe to this blog for updates.
Coming up soon will be a “Parent Feature” blog segment that will incapsulate the experience of having a child with Moyamoya disease.
Thanks for reading!