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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What Happens take your first sip of water in three years?


"A little talent is good to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” ~Stephen King

Etsy - new and quite unique stuff...
Alright, after some popular demanding, I've finally put up my inchie pins on my Etsy storefront!  Take a look - they're made to order and completely customizable - I aim to please :)  So tell me what you'd like and you'll get some inchie pins I guarantee you won't find anywhere else!
Let me know what you think!

Giving Back...
It was incredibly rewarding and quite nostalgic.  What brought be back the most was seeing the kids being wheeled outside to the garden to get some fresh air and sunlight from their wheelchairs.  I'll have some videos and pictures for you by next week :) 
When I was coming out of my coma, my brother Matt would always play "Rainbow Connection" with me, and I'd try to sing - not at all initially since I couldn't emit any noise whatsoever with a ventilator and tracheotomy, but little by little, I'd get out a little raspy note, eventually a word, a phrase, and then here I was singing "Rainbow Connection" with my brother, just like old times...but quite, quite different.  :)

So....what  happens when you take your first sip of water in three years?
I did a guest post last week for Laura of "Inside Laura's Head"- a spunky lifestyle blogger who created a spectacular series - every week someone writes about their own unique experience, whatever it may be, starting with "What Happens When..." - a great prompt if you ever wanted to journal about something! You can read the full article on Laura's website.

What happens when…you take your first sip of water in three years. 
 by Amy Oestreicher

Honestly, I was disappointed – it didn’t taste like anything.
Okay, I will admit that to feel that ice cold rush of liquid down my parched throat – left dry as a desert for day after uncertain day – was extremely refreshing.  But even the biggest Las Vegas-style buffet could not have appeased my insatiable hunger at that point.

I was your typical well-fed Jewish girl, partial to Chinese food and non-alcoholic Shirley Temples.  Nowhere in my teenage view could I ever had anticipated a coma right before my senior prom, and months later, being awoken by doctors who solemnly shook their heads and shrugged as they said “you can’t eat or drink right now.  And we don’t know when…or if…you’ll ever be able to again.”
What the heck do you say to that?
I was starving for some kind of oral stimulation, and the glycerine swabs the nurses would give me were just not doing the trick.  .Even though it was torture, I’d make whoever came in to check on me also tell me what they drank with breakfast that morning.  Every straw I passed, pleasantly reclined in a cool shiny glass of Pepsi, made my lips tremble.  Every plastic bottle of Poland Spring firmly clenched in a visitor’s hands felt like a glamorous magazine ad of a model flaunting the finest diamond necklace.  I saw every slurp from a hospital Styrofoam cup in glorified slow motion, like a hair model tossing her hair in the wind and the extravagant symphony of strings playing in the background.
What I came to find is, the more you can’t have something, the more you become obsessed with.  In the Child Life department of the hospital, all the kids who couldn’t eat were always the ones who wanted to play in the toy kitchen.  It was too hard to shut out drinks from my mind even in the hospital, so I had no choice but to became fixated on it.  The first day I was allowed outside in the hospital garden, I insisted on standing right by the sprinklers.

Of course, coming out of the hospital was even more difficult.  Yet I became onsessed with the forbidden world of water even more.  I would spend hours playing with my sink.  I amassed a secret collection of every possible drink container – flasks, baby bottles, pitchers – and I’d spend the night just pouring liquid from one vessel to the next, imagining how that cool, crisp, clear water would finally feel down my throat.  I even tried to talk my mother into purchasing one of those water playtime tables for toddlers – but she insisted that at 20 years old, I might be a bit…old….for that.
Of course, I didn’t expect hunger to ever be something I’d be so familiar with as a well-fed Jewish girl.  But then again, I didn’t expect my life – free of any medical problems whatsoever – to suddenly be rerouted when two weeks before my high school senior prom, my stomach exploded due to a blood clot – all I remember is being in intense pain during that day.
What followed were a few more surgeries (which would make a total of 27 at this point), various medical interventions, and the feeling of total alienation from any kind of “normal life” or “real world.”  I held on day after day, even making fake countdowns in my head, believing that one day I would drink, and it would happen.

And on my 21st birthday, I did have my first drink of liquid!  After a barium swallow proved that things were flowing to the right places, I was allotted two whole ounces of water.
So…with the tiniest straw I could find, I poured that crystal-clear liquid into a small shot glass.  This was the moment I was waiting for.  What would happen?  Would I choke?  Did I still remember how to swallow?  And worse, what if that two ounces made me thirstier and I wanted more?  The doctors wanted to be very cautious when startng out, but what if the water made my hunger even more insatiable?

I took a sip.  
It was major let down.  I really wanted flavor.
But it was a step in the right direction.

Now I’ve just had my 28th birthday, and to celebrate, my fiancĂ© and I gorged ourselves on hot dogs and chicken tenders at Yankee stadium.  I’m happy, healthy and hungry as ever now.  Like everyone else, I sometimes forget how hard life was when I had to take it day by day, wondering if I’d ever drink again.  But I always come back to remembering how very grateful I am, how blessed I feel, and how TASTY food and drink can be!

But I’ll never forget what it was like that very first time…

Thanks Laura for publishing this - and now it's your turn - what is your "what happens when..." - what would you like to share your own what happens when and read some of her past featured bloggers on her What Happens When section. 
oh and I'm eating, drinking, and then no worries!

A bit more writing...

  Some Talk of You & Me published my writing on How Creativity Saved My Life.  I've also written a bit about my sexual abuse - a bit on discovering a book that completely disrupted my denial for Defying Shadows, and a bit about becoming numb after being abused for Dropped Keys.  But I'll share that with you a bit later on.
Before I Go...
“Writing is a struggle against silence.” ~Carlos Fuentes

Oh - and I'm still on twitter - and I'm hooked, somebody stop me!!!  @amyoes


  1. That Carlos Fuentes quote is pure gold!

  2. Wow! So glad you're able to be eating and drinking now. Could you have even imagined the ordeal(s) you were about to enter into in your senior year of high school. I can't even imagine how difficult that thirst and desire to taste and swallow food and drink would have been. Man. You just continue to inspire me the more I read about your life and your healing.

  3. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us at #WednesdaysWisdom. It must have been very difficult for you but obviously you are strong and can now inspire others.

  4. Wow Amy what an incredible journey you have been on! It's wonderful that you can be thankful for the little things like drinking now and it's amazing after all those surgeries you are healed:) Thanks so much for sharing on Dream. Create. Inspire. Link! Hope you are having a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for sharing with #MyFavouritePost. We really appreciate it if people who join in can share the badge so others can join the community too.