Find the fuel

Marcus, Rut, and Wizard,
First off I want to thank y’all for your service. This country wouldn’t be standing this strong without each of you and the sacrifices you made. Here’s my never quit story: I was 12 years old and I woke up for school one morning to find out that there was a snow day. Like any 7th grader it meant a free day with friends to go sledding. There was a big hill behind my house and all my friends and I decided to go there. Well it was my last ride down the hill when I started to feel weird. I reached the bottom and in that 5 second ride my head started to pound. I walked home (luckily I was right behind it) with a friend who was scared out of his mind because my vision was fading and for me it felt like every step I took I was getting hit with Mike Tyson’s hardest punch to the face. I got home, kicked the punched the door until someone answered and ran right in and dropped to my knees. I took off my snow gear and made it to the bathroom where I began to throw up. My mom thought I had a concussion but my friend that was there said I was fine until the last go down the hill. My mom put me in the car to take me to the hospital, and all I recall was her voice saying “stay with me buddy, don’t fall asleep, everything will be okay”. I woke up once we got to the ER and remember being placed on a table and nurses cutting my clothes off telling me that i’ll be okay. I blacked out once that nurses assured me that. Doctors came rushing out to my mom explaining to her that I had a brain aneurysm and they didn’t have the right equipment to take care of me. Because a snow storm was blowing through for the second night in a row, the weather was too dangerous to fly me to the other hospital so I was taken by ambulance. My mom and sisters remember hearing my heart monitor from the other room flatline multiple times before I was put into emergency surgery. My family prayed for 8 hours while I was in there, helpless and a priest was brought in to give my final goodbyes. The doctors came out and said that my brain was swelling so fast that I was still in critical condition and I wasn’t safe yet. I had less than a 10% chance of making it through. I stayed in the hospital for a few months or so recuperating. The doctors sent me to a rehabilitation facility down the street. I still couldn’t walk great so I was put on a stretcher and sent on my way. On the way to my room I looked around and saw holes in the wall and garbage everywhere. Once I was wheeled to the room the nurse there told me I had 4 other roommates that were in class at the time. I asked “where does my mom sleep?” (She stayed with me every second in that hospital). I was told parents don’t stay there with the patients and that’s where it clicked. I thought to myself, my mom never quit on me for a second so I’m not quitting on her. Without saying a word I stood up and inched my way to the door, through the hall, passed the receptionist and never looked back. I had learned how to walk before so why can’t I do that again on my own? It was a struggle at first but it was my mission and I eventually got there. Sounds easy but re-wiring your brain isn’t a fast process. I got back to my old self and that battle I had with the devil never left me and I use it as my fuel to this day, 10 years later. After being told I might not be able to function the same I took it as a challenge. I ended up rowing D1 for a bit and later joining a club rowing team that I was apart of all of college. I was also disqualified from the military 3 times because of this injury but I am still fighting to be able to join. I am going to nursing school now and my goal is to be a combat medic. To anyone reading this that might be stuck remember this: never let a person tell you that you’re not capable, you can do anything. Find that fuel and get after it to show those people that once doubted you wrong. Never quit. – Chris Kirschbaum

Author: Chris