Through My Eyes

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

It’s the night before my birthday. I have probably driven all of my friends and family insane this past week or even month relishing about it. Some people think I am being silly and others are bewildered that I make an enormous effort announcing it to everyone yet on the actual day I really don’t do much. Tomorrow I am going to work then, out with some coworkers

to a nearby restaurant. Afterwards, I will meet Michael at home and make my goals for this year. It’s not what I do that day that counts. It is the feeling of euphoria that fills me up throughout the day.

Tomorrow is crucial for me. Every year I set some type of goal or more like a philosophy that I want to use as my compass for that year. Last year was “2003 is all about me!” I focused on my needs and wants. It didn’t mean that I was selfish or self centered. It meant that I needed to know what I wanted in my life not what others wanted for me. This year it is time to “Raise the Score in 2004!” As my good friend described it to me, it is the year to raise the bar in every aspect of my life. Set high and tangible standards, have a plan of action and then take the action!

So why do I start on January 9th, 2004? The past 34 years have been the best 34 years of my life. Every year on my birthday I celebrate the fact that I am here, alive and kicking! It is much better to be alive and dealing with pain on occasion than to be dead and not feel anything at all. When I was nine or ten my heart stopped during a simple rodding operation. The doctors used all of their medical technology but CPR revived me. God wanted me around a little while longer.

In 1992, the day after my birthday, I fell out of the University of Miami freight elevator and broke more bones than I care to count. I spent 3 months lying on my back recovering and till this day my left lung has never been this same. I was saved again.

Three years later on Christmas morning I woke my mom because I had not slept all night and I couldn’t breathe at all. She rushed me to the emergency room only to discover that I had an acute respiratory failure from a pneumonia that I didn’t know I had. I was admitted to the hospital. When I opened my eyes the next morning there was a priest praying next to me. Now I don’t know about you but whenever there is a priest next to a patient in the movies the character is usually dying. I freaked out! He asked me if I wanted to pray. I figured I better talk to God one more time. When the priest left, I called my mom and told her I was dying. She didn’t believe me. My mom tried to tell me that my hospital chart probably said I was Catholic and the priest was doing his rounds. Uhh! I don’t think so!

I made it my goal to get out of the hospital before New Year’s Eve. The nurses and doctor didn’t think that was possible. But the day before New Year’s Eve I was discharged. The doctor came to say good bye and to finally admit what I knew all along. According to him, if we had waited any longer I would have died. Whew! I made it another year!

So that is probably why despite fracturing my bones more than fifty times, having more than four operations and three near death experiences, I celebrate the day of my birth like New Year’s Eve, wouldn’t you?

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