Assessing the Damage-Part Four

I had been in hell for a long time when a new doctor arrived. My leg still had a tube with fluids running. The bed was still on an angle with my feet up in the air. Why? It was a way to keep fluid from filling my lungs. Unbeknownst to me, I lost the nerves that control the muscles for swallowing. All saliva and drool ran out of my mouth or down my throat. It also meant I could not take food or drink by mouth without choking.

The new doctor asked me to move my head from side to side. He held his hand against my face as I strained to push him away. He asked me to smile. I did. He asked me to smile again; I told him I was smiling. My face muscles were paralyzed. Even though my brain was telling me to smile, and I really thought I was, the message didn’t get to my cheek muscles. During my stay at CDH I became known as the ‘kid who never smiles.’ I couldn’t move my mouth to form words very well either. None of it made sense. I thought I was smiling and talking normal, but no one understood me, and they thought I was grumpy all the time.

My arms were next. I was able to move them up, down, around, and to put pressure against his hands. He moved to my legs.

“Bend your knees and hold them together.”

I moved my legs and bent them as he asked. The doctor put two fingers against my knees. “Now spread your knees apart against my hands.”

I pushed with all of my might but nothing happened. At that moment I realized I wasn’t going to make it to tryouts.

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