Staying Strong in Virginia - My Family Travels

My trip to Virginia during the summer of 2009 was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on. It was both exciting and scary, and it changed my life for the better.

In August, my mother planned a trip for us to visit Virginia. We were going down there to visit my aunt and also to visit one of my top colleges. We left from New York Thursday afternoon and arrived in Virginia early Friday morning. That Friday we had visited a college and also went with my aunt to her job. Because we had been busy all day Friday, my aunt had planned for us to go to the mountains Saturday.

My mother and I were scheduled to leave Virginia Sunday morning, so we wanted to enjoy ourselves on our last day there. My aunt, three cousins, mom, and I then set off to see the beautiful sightings of the mountains. We all enjoyed ourselves, took a few pictures, and then left.

That night as my aunt and mother went out; I stayed at home and watched my cousins. As we were eating, I heard my cousin tell her brother that her finger was still bleeding after she checked her glucose level, but I didn’t think anything of it. Then I heard her ask her brother why her hand was shaking, but because he couldn’t answer her, she walked over to me. Then she stopped abruptly and screamed. The kind of scream that would cause a mother’s heart to skip a beat, but because I am only sixteen and not a mother, my heart skipped several beats. I told her to come over to me and when she sat down, her left arm locked in place and then the entire left side of her body locked in place. At this moment, I called 911.

After the left side of her body locked in place, she began to shake compulsively so I told the 911 operator that my diabetic cousin was having a seizure. While talking to the operator, I fought back tears as I impatiently waited for the ambulance to arrive. Staying on the phone with her helped me to relax, but then my phone disconnected. Luckily the ambulance pulled up at that moment and my cousin started to gain consciousness.

While one of the EMT’s asked me questions, another one asked my cousin questions. That’s when we noticed her speech was slurred. Because her speech was slurred and she was crying uncontrollably, it was very hard to understand what she was saying. However, as they were pulling her out of the house on a stretcher, I noticed she was saying something over and over, my name. Hearing her call out to me made me want to break down and cry, but I had to stay strong, so I told her I had to stay, but her mom would be at the hospital.

Later on I found out that she was diagnosed with epilepsy. After I found out the diagnosis, I knew that the only job for me would involve me helping children. At times I had questioned whether or not a pediatrician was the right career choice for me, but after seeing my cousin suffer and hearing her call my name without being able to help her, made me realize where my heart really was. There are so many children out there that are diagnosed with many diseases everyday, and I feel that I need to help as many as possible.

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