Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Battle Scars

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Blog posting by Erick Pettersen

On July 13, 1984 I opened my eyes for the first time in a month. I had fallen into a coma; though, Drs. put me into a deeper coma, so they could perform the brain surgery and stabilize my condition. There was no guarantee I would make it through the surgery or that I would ever wake up. I did wake up. In an instant.

It sounds unbelievable. Like something that only happens in the movies. But it happened. Of course, when it happened I had anything but 20/20 vision. That’s the part about movies that is the most unbelievable. Try sleeping for an entire month and then waking up. When you walk into the bathroom or kitchen in the middle of the night, after sleeping for 4 or 5 hours, you have a difficult time adjusting to the light. Now, imagine your eyes being closed for an entire month.

Over those first several days, everything hurt. I didn’t like to go out in the light. When someone brought me into the light, I wore sunglasses. I never stayed out doors for too long, because the San Diego children’s Hospital (Now, Rady Children’s Hospital was below flight paths in and out of the San Diego), and I didn’t like loud noises. My vision got better, but the murals on the walls continued to blur, then I started seeing double. I learned that by closing one eye I would only see one of everything. My hearing eventually returned to normal, and I got glasses.

25 years later, I still wear glasses and I think loud noises still bother me a little more than most people. A few physical signs of my days in the hospital remain, such as the limp from one of my vertebrate being offset, and the scar on the back of my neck (I’ve actually only seen it once). Sometimes people notice my limp or my scar and ask about them, and I always tell them whatever they want to know.

Whether it’s my limp, which I don’t really notice; the scar on the back of my neck, which I can’t even see; or someone asking me to share about those days, the memory of those days reminds me of where I’ve come from.

Look at your battle scars (past victories). Look back at your life, and consider where you’ve come from. Whether it’s just been over the last week or the last year or the last 25 years. Too often people measure themselves against who they were yesterday; though, that’s like a worm measuring itself against a snake and calling itself short. Think of it this way, if a marathoner ran the hills and the plateaus the same way, rather than pacing him/herself. That person would probably collapse in the middle of the race. If you’re going through struggles in your life, measure yourself against your victories.

Perhaps, it was some sort of brain surgery. Perhaps you were homeless for a time or in an abusive relationship. Perhaps you’re going through a battle right now. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve all been through our battles. If that’s the case, go through your current battles with the support of those around you.

I went through my battle back in 1984. I made it through because of a wonderful medical system, the love and support of those around me, and my own unwillingness to give up. So, whatever you’re going through today, just remember to either focus on your battle scars (past victories) or to focus on developing a support system of those who will come by your side and help you through those battles. Maybe it’s both; but, however you get through those battles in your life, just make sure to always focus on your victories.

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