I spent one night at Mass General, sleeping with an oxygen mask to pump my lung back up. The doctors sent me home the next morning with a sore back and no sleep This collapsed lung was just a singular event, a one-hit wonder. Wrong. In October, my lung collapsed again. This time I spent two nights with the oxygen mask. This time when I left I was scheduled for surgery a week later. The day of the surgery I saw Mrs. Penn behind the desk, but she didn? t wave. I realized that with my oxygen mask I was about as recognizable as the face behind Darth Vader? s mask.
Though I knew I was in good hands, my main feeling as a patient was helplessness. Nonetheless, I experienced one small triumph near the end of my stay. On the way to the CT scan, my wheelchair attendant had no clue where we were going. Not only did I know the way, I knew a shortcut. The attendant was impressed. For a moment, I was not a patient, but again part of the invisible fraternity of hospital workers.
High school is a strange time. After three years of trying to develop
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