Conquering Adversity

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

June 16, 2000 -- My sense of uncertainty had never been so overwhelming, my emotions never so mixed. Born seven weeks early on what I now view as a blessed day, my youngest brother, initially referred to as “Baby Malone,” hung on for dear life. He was being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and he had countless IVs, tubes, and machines attached to him in his incubator -- which I thought of as a jail cell, isolating him from his surroundings. Walking into Reston Hospital, I was taken aback by the sterile environment, squeaky-clean floors, and medical staff roaming the stark halls. I felt as if my heart had shattered when told that “Baby Malone” would remain in the NICU indefinitely. Because of his fragile state, the doctors and nurses went to great lengths in order to ensure his well-being. I watched the liquid travel through the tube as he was fed intravenously, the fuzzy lines and numbers on the machines constantly changing, the oxygen mask on his delicate little nose that allowed him to breathe, and the continual motion of his tummy going up and down. I felt helpless. I was an outsider looking in on his life, unable to remove the barrier dividing us. Although at the time I did not understand the reasoning...

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