The Beginning, part two

When we reached a suitable spot for camp, my tent-mates pitched the tent, and I again lay on the rocks with my raincoat over me, now shivering uncontrollably. None of the adults seemed to notice, but my friends at this point were beginning to worry. As soon as the tent was up, they helped me inside. They helped me out of my soaking wet clothes and into pajamas. I crawled into my sleeping bag [still seeing white out of my left eye], shivering even more violently. My head had begun to ache, a terrible weight at the base of my skull. I felt intensely cold, and my friends piled their sleeping bags on me, telling me I was actually feverish. I could hardly speak to them.

Something was terribly wrong, it was clear. My head had never hurt so much in my life, and my entire body began to swarm with pain. My friends sought out one of the adults, who came briefly, stuck her head in the tent and told them just to keep an eye on me. To this day I am grateful for my friends, who gave up their own comfort to keep watch and care for me through the night.

Amazingly enough, I was able to sleep that night. When I woke in the morning, soaked and dripping with sweat, I could see! -- Sight never seems so precious as when it has been lost and regained. My head still pounding, my hands curling at their own will into fists, I was at once grateful and frightened, still sure that something was not right with me.

The canoe trip dragged on several more days. I was in terrible pain, but my motivation was clear—no one else was going to help me, so I had to help myself. I ate nothing, drank little, and steered clear of the adults, at whom I was now angry as hell.

My stubbornness kicked in and got me back to town in one piece by Saturday evening. I had been gone for less than a week, but my mother looked at me like I was Martian. ”What happened to you??!” So I, exhausted, hit the high points of the story and begged to just go to sleep and find a doctor after the weekend. As I was out of the “acute phase,” my parents warily agreed to this. They told me to go to bed, which I gladly did, though the continuing pain made real rest an unlikely happening.

To be continued...


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