6:50 a.m., my alarm goes off. I wake to the low soft whispers of cartoon characters playing on my television. I figured on this particular morning that I’d get straight out of bed, opposed to the typical 10 minutes of trying to rationalize myself out of bed. I headed into the bathroom where I followed my regular routine of combing my hair, washing my face, and brushing my teeth. Right on track to arrive at school at 7:45 am. After getting dressed and grabbing an English muffin with butter and jelly prepared by my mother before she left for work, I headed out the door toward my high school. I arrived right on time at 7:50 a.m. as I had planned for. Excited as usually, third-period history had arrived and although history was my favorite subject, I also had the luxury of having one of the coolest teachers in the school, Mr. Henry. We were watching a documentary on World War II in class. Lights off, head down, feeling kind of tired from having stayed up watching cartoons the night before, I decided that I would put my head in my arms and rest my eyes, as we had the option to do if we wanted to, being it was the class after a test, and Mr. Henry wanted to give us a small break.
After about 10 minutes, I suddenly began to sway back and forth uncontrollably. I was so confused as to why this was happening, I raised my head and put my hand on my chest. At this very moment, I realized that it was my heart beating very rapidly and not slowing down. I thought that I was having a heart attack, but the strange thing about it is that I felt totally fine, outside of the rapid beats. Attempting to remain calm and at ease, I waited until the end of class before going up to Mr. Henry and asking him to put his hand on my chest to have someone gauge the situation. Once his hand touched my chest, he advised that I go down to the nurse’s office and have it checked out. Afraid and trying my best not to panic, I made my way toward the nurse’s office. When I walked in, everything around me slowed down, almost feeling as though that the world around me, was in slow motion. I told the nurse that I thought that I was having a heart attack, and she put her hand on my chest and immediately called 911 for an ambulance. She seemed just as confused as I was and instructed that I go lay down until the ambulance arrived. While laying down, I kept thinking about how weird it was that my heart rate was so fast but how normal I was feeling. Honestly admitting, besides my heart rate, I was thinking about how embarrassing it was about to be when the school population was going to see me go into an ambulance. I never thought that anything like this could or would ever happen to me.
Once the ambulance arrived, they said that I would have to go onto a stretcher and be transported to the hospital. In denial, I tried to save myself from the embarrassment by asking to ride in the car instead of the ambulance. They said that it was protocol and that I had no choice. They then put me on the stretcher, gathered my belongs, and started route toward the ambulance. Once we got into the hallway, I had noticed that there actually were not many people in the hallways, being that classes had just changed and most people were not out and about walking around. They quickly got outside and they lifted me into the ambulance. They then began to ask me questions about myself, like my age, height, race, medical related questions, the normal rundown. Once I entered the hospital they took and blood pressure and checked my heartbeat, which at that initial time was 230 beats per minute. That’s almost three times the normal rate! In order to break the pace, the doctor told me to bare down and squeeze my stomach, while holding my breath at the same. This instantly broke the pace, and kind of “reset” my rate back it normal. A very useful and possible life-saving technique to know how to do. After running some test, the doctors concluded that I had a small hole in my heart that was causing the electrical pathways in my heart to short circuit and therefore causing rapid beating. All in all, I ended up having two procedures done to correct the matter, and realized the true importance of my life and life in general. No matter what time it is, where you are, or who you are, you must live life to the fullest and appreciate everything you have, because as I experienced, you never know when that may be threatened or even worst taken away.