The Single, Most Important Thing | Teen Ink

The Single, Most Important Thing

May 14, 2022
By TarynJ BRONZE, Mckinney, Texas
TarynJ BRONZE, Mckinney, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

We’ve all heard and seen it, whether on the internet or on TV, how cardiovascular disease is still one of the leading causes of death in this country. A quick search on the internet shows that approximately one person dies of cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds. But being the human we  are, we are inclined to take the life we have for granted. At least we all want to put our heads in the sand and pretend that the tragedy always happens to someone else, but will never happen to us.  

I kept my eyes glued on the large flashing monitor screen as I flicked my fingernail killing time. The  screen lists every patient currently in the operating room, including those that were being prepped for  operation and those that were recovering. After a few minutes wheeled into the operating room, mom’s name eventually emerged on the screen. I can still recall that I hated sitting in the hospital waiting room just like I hated waiting outside the principal's office when I got myself into trouble; time passing seems eternal and standstill.  

Early last year, my mom started exhibiting frequent symptomatic fatigue issues; simple yard work  became a daunting task. Her problem was even more evident during a regular trip to the supermarket;  Mom was unable to reach the storefront without stopping just to catch breath. A trip to the  cardiologist confirmed what we feared the most; mom was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. I  don’t understand all the details, but all I can remember was the doctor drew some squiggly lines and  attempted to explain the best way he could. I can sense both shock and gloominess in my parents as  the doctor was recommending a treatment plan.  

I don’t remember falling asleep but I felt a slight nudge and it was my dad waking me up. Still feeling a  bit groggy I tried to gather my thoughts together. Dad said mom just got out of the operating room  and was in the recovery room in the intensive care unit; the entire operating procedure took 6 hours to  complete. Another few minutes of waiting, a nurse came out to greet us and told us we can see mom  in a while. She mentioned to us the operation was a success and that mom was currently in the recovery room.  

Inside the recovery room, I can see mom still anesthetized. I can see mom still has not regained her consciousness and next to it, a breathing machine with all sorts of tubes and wires hanging. Personally it  was a traumatic sight for me to see and it must be an awful feeling for my dad too because I can see him  constantly hold back tears. It was quite a strange feeling to see that someone that was walking and  talking just a few hours ago is now looking almost lifeless, and just hanging on to her life by the thread with  the help from the machine. I can’t even fathom anyone could even go through what mom was going  through at the time.  

Mom did make it eventually. Couple weeks after the surgery, she was already up and walking about in  the house. She now eats healthy and exercises regularly. Eventually regained all her strength and  those trips to the supermarket were no longer the issue for her.  

Her foot long surgical scar running vertically down her chest is a reminder of how fragile life can be. This experience made me realize how much we all take our life for granted; you can be walking and  talking one moment and something traumatic happens and then you cease to exist. Sometimes I look at my hands and my fingers and think it is truly awesome to be able to use it and do all sorts of possibilities with it. Sometimes I look at my feet and toe and realize how wonderful it is to be able  to use it to run and move about.  

So you see, many of us get so caught up in our busy lives that we tend to forget just how important it is  to truly live and experience each and every moment. We constantly seek the newest, biggest, and the  most exciting experiences, instead of also, the littlest things. Pay attention to things and those around  you and you’ll soon realize that life is truly wonderful.  

So next time if someone asks you what would be your single most important thing, your answer would be: everything. 

The author's comments:

"So next time if someone asks you what would be your single most important thing, your answer would be: everything." - Taryn Jeng

This piece was very personal to me. Reading back at my writing, I feel as though I truly captured this moment in my life.

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