What 4 Days In Complete Solitude Taught Me As a Teenager

How many times are we really forced to be cut off from the world? No contact with others, no looking at social media or watching the news. Well, this past week, I was forced to do just that. On November 17th, I underwent a spinal tap for something that I thought would be a piece of cake. Most people would be concerned if they knew that they had to get a 6 inch needle stuck into their spine while awake, which of course I was, but not many people would think that the worst part would be the events that come after it. As I was sitting in the hospital bed getting ready for my procedure, I was wondering, "Is this going to hurt?", "Do I want to be awake?, and "What will it even feel like?" Once they made the incision I was relieved to know that I was worrying myself for nothing. Yea, there was a little bit of pain but by no means was it anything that I was expecting. (Thank god)

Fortunately, the procedure itself only lasted about a total of 30 minutes. After leaving the hospital just a little sore, I remember thinking, "Wow, that's really it?" Little did I know that a sore back was just the beginning of my many symptoms. One little thing that people don't emphasize on is that the removal of spinal fluid has the chance of causing the nerves in your brain to compress, irritate, and give an loss of equilibrium leading to a migraine. Of course, with my luck, that was exactly what happened to me. The next 4 days would most likely remain the worst of my life. They would include a debilitating migraine, constant vomiting, the inability to eat, the inability to drink, complete loss of balance, the inability to walk, and extreme sensitivity to bright light and loud noises, all for 4 days without an hour of relief. I did not eat, I did not sleep, I did not drink, simply because I could not. Instead, all I could do was lay in the dark, in pain, in quiet, while I patiently wait for the horror of symptoms to end. My head felt as if it were being stabbed in the most excruciating way possible and there was absolutely no way for me to get relief until those 4 days were done. What else was there that I could do? All I could really do was lay there in complete silence and darkness and think, because hey, what other options did I have?

Here's what those 4 days of complete solitude taught me:

Moms are amazing
Did you think I wouldn't mention my amazing mother who took care of me while I was suffering through these 4 days? I know it was hard for her to see me go through but she took care of me better than any person I'd know. She always has, I know she always will, and that's why mom's are truly amazing. I'm sure there are many times in your life that your mom has done something for you that you are beyond grateful for. Maybe her just being your mom is enough! Take some time (any time) to thank your mom and let her know how amazing she is, even if it's not Mother's Day. :)

Have faith in something 
I purposely don't talk about my religious beliefs on here because this is a blog about being gluten-free, so why would I? That being said, I'll continue to keep that out of the picture. One thing that I have learned though is that no matter what your religious affiliation may be, it's important to have faith in something. Even if it's not a faith in a religion, at the end of the day, you should always make sure to have faith in yourself. 

Take time to be present each day
So many times do I see people that are disconnected from one another. I myself even notice times when I get so involved with social media that I forget to connect with the person that's right there in front of me. Next time you're sitting in a restaurant, really take a look around and see how the people at each table are interacting with one another. Chances are, you'll probably see a lot of people staring at their phones, not really talking to the person across from them at all. In a world so fueled by technology and instant contact with one another, make sure that you take some time each day to be present with the people that are right in front of you. It can go a long way and be a lot more refreshing than you think.

Grow yourself into someone that YOU are happy with
It's amazing to have friends who make you happy and make you laugh. It's amazing to have loved ones who care about you and make you smile. But the reality is that at the end of the day you need to be happy with yourself first. Only you are left with your thoughts and only your are left to knowing who you really are. Take each day to grow yourself into someone that you are proud of. Take each day to grow yourself into a person that you are happy with. Because honestly, to be happy in life, you truly need to be happy with yourself first.

Good or bad, learn from every experience
Lets be honest...this experience of mine was pretty shitty (excuse my language) and there's no way to sugar coat it. Sometimes in life there will be times that just flat out suck. Take going gluten-free for instance. It isn't the worst thing in the world but by no means is it a a wonderful thing you want to go through. No one said that it has to be labeled anything and that's why each person handles it differently. Like everything in life, there will always be ups and downs. But as long as you are learning from it and moving forward, you'll always be heading in the right direction :)

Like all things I go through, I try and find the best in everything. As horrible as those 4 days were for me, they taught me a lot, and I hope that it can possibly be something to help you too. 
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  1. Ugh, Taylor, I'm so sorry you had such a rough week. You are wise beyond your years! Keep that attitude through everything you are faced with in life, and you'll be OK.

  2. Taylor, I'm so very sorry that you went through that. What a seriously awful experience! :-( I love that you've turned it into some positive and very valuable life lessons though. Thank you so much for sharing with everyone!


  3. Thank you both! At least I'm starting to feel betting in time for Thanksgiving so I have LOTS of gluten-free food to look forward too :)

  4. Oh buddy! I am so glad that you are doing better. Yay for your mom, she IS amazing! Give her a hug for me! xo

  5. Glad you survived it okay. Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  6. My mom's the one who needs this. She had to have a spinal tap back in March, they messed up, and she lives with pain and disabilities from it still.

  7. Hey buddy. It is been many years since I saw you last, but I wanted you to know that I am proud of you for the man you have become. I am really sorry to hear that you had to go through those 4 days of pain. This may sound weird but I think that could have been a blessing in disguise. Of course, that is easy for me to say from the outside looking in but for YOU to already see the good and be able to translate that into a post that may help others blows my mind. During my recent five-month solo hike on the PCT I experienced many days and weeks of extreme pain on the trail (between my sholder that needs replaced, my shin slint and my feet). (By no means am I comparing the two because mine was not life threatening and at any moment I could have quit and eased my pain where as you had no choice and had no idea when the end would be in sight). But that painful solitude forced me to reflect on life in an unusually enlightening way. It seems you may have done the same during these 4 days. You are wise beyond your years and that is a testament to your amazing mother. She has raised you with some amazing values and an optimism that is infectious. I am proud of you Taylor. Keep up the fight and keep inspiring people. You may never know just how many lives you touch in a positive way.
    -Zack S.