It's only fitting that the first day that I sign up for the Think Kit writing course and the first prompt that I get is something about a scar. I've lived with a major scar on my back since I was 10 years old. It's not something that you normally see, and it's had no lasting affects on me as a person since the surgery that caused it, but it makes for good stories at the bar.
Coarctation of the aorta.
When I was younger, I used to tell people that I had a hole in my heart. While not entirely true, I was born with a number of congenital heart "defects." The coarctation being one of them, a heart murmur when I was younger, and a bicuspid valve where I should have had a tricuspid valve.
But the coarctation is the reason for the 8-inch long scar on my left shoulder blade. Basically, part of my aorta (the major artery out of your heart that feeds blood to your legs) had an hourglass shape in the middle of it. Not a huge deal, but I couldn't have lots of time of physical activity without getting tired quickly. The problem was easier fixed the younger you are, so going into the summer of 4th grade I went under the knife at St. Vincent's.
Luckily for me, the doctors had a new incision to test on me for this surgery. Otherwise I would have been left with the long, open-heart surgery scar down my chest that many people still get to this day. I remember going in that morning, pretty scared, but there was another girl in the elevator that was having the exact same surgery done that day. I don't remember her name, I wonder how her surgery went...
Anyway, it was pretty painless all things considered. The surgery went as planned and I woke up the next day and had a nice stay in the hospital for a few days. I was hooked up to a lot of tubes over those next days. I remember there was one underneath my arm in the side of my chest. I remember that because to this day, I have a spot of skin that is completely numb to touch from where it healed. Speaking of numb, the scar on my back never regained its feeling either. While it was worse when I was younger, the scar today is still very noticeable, raised red skin, without feeling. Dragging fingers across my back leaves a pause in feeling when they cross over that mark.
When I tell people about it today, they always react much more than I expect. To me it happened, and I'm better now. I guess heart surgery that young is a shock to some people. All that came out of it for me was this scar, and the fact that I talked in my sleep for the first time the night after my surgery.
I talked about pandas.