Finding Peace in the ER


In times of great sadness, I write. In times of immense happiness, I write. When a huge wave of fear comes over me, again, I write. It is times when life is clear and easy that I fail to feel motivated to take the words out of my neurotic mind and document them.

I know the emergency room at Mt. Sinai like the back of my hand. It’s a zoo in here as usual. There’s a man in the room next to me, letting out cries of pain every two minutes or so. There have been three women pass by me in labor. There’s a juvenile guy handcuffed to the stretcher directly across from me. This place oozes trauma from its very core. With its fluorescent lighting and alcohol scented countertops, I think most people would be repulsed by the less than ideal ambiance of the Mt. Sinai emergency room… But not me.

When you live with Hereditary Angioedema, the ER is a safe haven. It’s a place where all the mental chatter surrounding an HAE attack can finally take a little break because you know you’re in good hands. It might not be the ideal setting for one to obtain samadhi, but hey, it works for me.

I need to call a friend. No ones answering. I need to call my mom. I don’t want to wake her up with this. Pause. A few intense waves of extreme mental panic. I need to infuse. But my hands are shaking so bad. Will I even be able to stick myself right now? I have to. Pause. Calm. Set up medical supplies. Infuse plasma. Is my airway clear? Voice box is restricted. Pause. Major panic ensues. Get it together Julia. I need to call a cab. Cab doesn’t answer. Should I call an ambulance? Don’t be silly, you don’t do that. Get into passing cab. I need to go Mt. Sinai hospital, please. Being alone in your head here sucks. Is my airway clear? Am I wheezing? I’m okay. Calm. I’m alone. That’s depressing. Will I always be alone? Who will want to put up with this? No one. I will be a crazy cat lady forever. Snap out of it Julia. Just breathe. Calm. But my hands are still shaking. Kids are not in the cards for me. I can’t bring another human being into this life and risk them experiencing this. Tears. This isn’t the time to think about this. But how can I not? I wonder what being normal is like….

This is the clearest breakdown of the mental thought streams that I experienced tonight. As I lay here in the ER, I find peace not only in the knowledge that I am in good hands but in.. Pause. “Code blue room 16” oh, that means someone needs to be resuscitated. I’ve learned that before. Back to what I was saying. The peace doesn’t only stem from being in good hands, but also from ‘being around the block’ so to say. I’ve stared death in the face multiple times in my short life. I’ve been forced to address the most basic human truths- that nothing is permanent and death is the only guarantee. Just in that statement, I find peace. As I let that truth spill into my consciousness, I am humbled. I find myself wanting to hug the people I love, wanting to serve others, wanting to connect more. Every time I’m faced with these insane demons, a wall that I’ve worked so hard to build up inside of me begins to break down. And hey, I might still be a neurotic fuck in my mind most of the time, but under all of that is love. And an insatiable urge to share it at that. And whether writing this is considered crass or courageous, At least I feel clarity. All is love.

Our fears are like dragons guarding our most precious treasures. -Rainer Maria Rilke

7 thoughts on “Finding Peace in the ER

  1. many common thoughts and words run thru my head as I read your wonderful piece. Funny how this dreadful disease brings us closer with each other that have it. I also thought that no one would or could possibly put up with me and the “demon” disease and all the “wonderful things it entails!” NOT! I found my prince and he has been so supportive of me! Hold tight, I am sure that the Lord has your special prince out there waiting for you.

    1. Thank you for your lovely words! I have been very fortunate to connect with people who can see past and accept the disease, but I cannot help to be insecure too! That’s part of the obstacle I guess. ❤

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