You Do Not Know What You Have, Until It Is Almost Gone by Ben Yoell



Hearing my mother’s voice read me The Berenstain Bears while I lay in my gurney in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Oakland was something I will hold onto forever. My mother’s soothing tones dropped on my ears, bringing me the comfort of a tattered childhood blanket as her words painted a picture of playful bears in the faraway forest. At nine years old when the thought “this may be the last time I ever see my family again” crossed my mind, I was terrified. Before the nurse injected the anesthesia into my I.V., my mother’s eyes welled up with tears embracing me: “Be strong, I love you.” Along with the company of my twin brother and my father I slipped into sleep, making sure to not let go of my family’s loving hands before my body could no longer keep a grip. I awoke in what seemed like 30 minutes; in actuality it was six grueling hours of surgery on my pancreas that was torn completely in half. My surgeon, Dr. Jim Betts, miraculously sewed it completely together. A decision that saved me from a life of painful insulin injections into my abdomen. Halfway conscious, recovering in my room, I awoke to my beautiful mother, my one and only brother, and my tough-as-nails father all waiting for me; they waited together praying for me outside of the operating room. No amount of morphine in the world could have replaced my family’s unconditional love and support.


Ben Yoell is a junior communication studies major. This is his first formally published piece.

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