I've been sick most of my life in and out of hospitals since I could even remember.
Apparently, I was born with my heart outside of my chest. Obviously, that's not the case anymore, but my heart had zero protection immediately after birth: no pericardium, no sternum, and no skin.
When I was four days old, I underwent my first open-heart surgery. (No pun intended.)
I had surgery to graft skin on top of it and insert the heart closer to where it was supposed to be. At that age, cutting through the chest was too risky, so instead an incision was made along my right shoulder blade.
I was given a shunt. This meant that a branch of my carotid artery was separated and attached directly to my pulmonary artery, creating a sort of temporary pulmonary system.
At six years old, I had another open-heart surgery where I was given what was called a modified Fontan. This was a complicated surgery that I know almost nothing about and I won't even insult you by pretending to know what I'm talking about.
I do know, however, that the procedure was not curative, and therefore over the years, I required further open heart surgeries and perhaps may even require more severe procedures, such as a full-on transplant in the future.
Obviously, I had ongoing complications from these procedures which I live with every day and take lots and lots of medication for.
The most severe was my reoccurring atrial flutter, which was caused by the scar tissue in and around my heart from the surgeries, which was essentially an irregular, rapid heart rate.
I was currently sitting on my hospital bed after yet another surgery, surfing through Netflix bored out of my mind.
My parents had bought me a new iPad, and I was trying to get their money's worth. I was trying to find something decent to watch since I had just finished watching a TV series called Smallville, which kind of left me disappointed.
10 seasons watching a young Clark Kent struggle through his teenage years trying to fit in and figure out what it means to be a hero. If it wasn't for the fact that we didn't get to see him in his Superman uniform even once, I would have given it a higher rating.
Still, it was pretty entertaining. I liked the concept of superheroes - I mean who didn't?
Incredible people who could solve the world's problems. What I would have given to have something like that. But in the end, they were all just rather… simple.
The story of good prevailing over evil was just a salve to help us in our complex, day-to-day lives.
The powers themselves were interesting on their own, but the camaraderie and adventures they had were the most appealing aspect.
You could imagine my condition made it hard to meet people my age, and most of my acquaintances consisted of people working in the medical field. My parents were busy working most of the time. I couldn't blame them really I imagine this wasn't what they imagined when they thought about having kids.
I knew they loved me, but I have long felt that I was both an emotional and financial burden to their lives. Perhaps it would be best if I was gone. I wasn't suicidal by any means, but I wouldn't call what I had much of a life.
I felt trapped in my body, weighed down by my reality. It's why I never understood Clark Kent's struggles. He had powers close to that of a god, yet he complained about not being able to play football of all things, for being too strong, or not being normal, as it was something to strive for.
I sighed in exasperation over how idiotic it all sounded; I continued to scroll through.
Feeling the need to watch something else. I was in the mood for an action movie, so I typed Jackie Chan movies into my search bar.
A bunch of movies popped up right away like Rush Hour, The legend of the drunken fist, The Karate Kid, The Medallion, etc... I sighed.
" I've seen most of these before." I kept scrolling down looking for something interesting until a recommendation popped up.
" The Adventures of Jackie Chan?" I muttered.
It looked like a child's cartoon, a pretty old one at that. I clicked on it deciding to read the synopsis.
"The Adventures of Jackie Chan a 90's show that features the fictional adventures of Jackie Chan, who was an archaeologist, and a martial arts expert. The first season's plot revolves around the pursuit of twelve magical Talismans. And, the attempts of The Dark Hand, an evil organization set on world domination to acquire them through various nefarious means. " I read out loud.
" Hmm... It seems interesting. Might as well." I said, as I selected the first episode and started watching.
A few hours later I was done watching the first season since they were only 13 episodes, and each episode was less than 20 minutes. Feeling a bit sleepy I could feel my eyelids grow heavier as a wave of exhaustion gradually overcame me.
I yawned tiredly and closed my eyes to sleep, not knowing that it would be the last time I ever opened my eyes again.
My heart had finally given up after 16 agonizing years of life.