The First Day of The Rest of My Life - By Dylan Schultz

The morning started out like any other. Immediate dizzyness from all the previous night's drinking, lack of clothing, and extreme happiness knowing that I was at Elephant Butte with a few of my best friends about to wakeboard all day long.

The water was freezing, but Greg got in anyway and impressed the hell out of all of us, as always. Next was my turn. I was much rustier than I had expected, so I wasn't landing the crazy jumps I usually do. No big deal I thought. You'll land one eventually.

So I head at the wake as hard as possible and head soaring into the air. "I immediately regret this decision," I thought to myself as I felt my body twist into a position that was bound to end in disaster. Rather than fight the inevitable, I went with the flow of the wind and accepted that I was probably going to land very hard. POW!

I hit the water flat on my back and have a feeling of immediate release of tension in my spine. The kind that I always got when someone would pop my back. Aside from that, I wondered if I had just gotten a concussion because I had a few before and the thought process was exactly the same.

So I get back on the boat knowing that I shouldn't push my luck any farther. Tak proceeds to be crazy as ever after I finish, and it was hilarious watching him. But then I cough. When I spit out what I thought would be flem, I notice that it was definitely not clear.

In fact I saw bright red and it scared the bajesus out of me. So I wipe my mouth off and see red all over my hand. I tell everyone on the boat that we have to go to the hospital right away, and then proceed to cough one more time on my hand to show them what I was talking about. Again, all red. It scared me so bad I started shaking uncontrollably.

We get to the hospital and I am scared to death about what I am going to be told. After a few blood tests and x-rays, to my liking the doctors told me I was going to live. I roll down the hallway ecstatic in my wheel chair towards the waiting room where my friends are waiting. "I'm going to live,"

I tell them in a joking manner, and I could see that they were incredibly relieved. So we go back to the boat, and what do I do? Proceed to wakeboard all day, jump off cliffs, and throw myself off the side of the boat at 45 miles per hour. Pretty stupid now that I think about it, but I'm not claiming to be smart.

After an amazing day of craziness and laughter, I drop Tak off at his house in Albuquerque. We were supposed to watch Fight Club, but a few minutes before getting to his house I start to feel strange all over my body.

Shooting pains as sharp as a knife started going down my legs, my arms, and my back. My eyes were spiratically going blurry as well, and I knew something was wrong. "I can't watch the movie man, something is wrong and I need to go to the emergency room right away," I said. And then I proceed to do so.

I check myself into the emergency room at University of New Mexico Medical Center, and they immediately rush me into the back and put my neck in a brace. The doctor said that I may have partially broken my neck, and there may be spinal swelling occuring in the middle of my back.

The blood in my lungs had ceased, but I wasn't worried about that because I was sure it was due to a 9 hour hookah session from a few nights earlier. Because I wasn't supposed to walk around much, they also put me in a pink cadillac wheel chair that was actually fun to ride around in. Twice in one day I was put in a wheel chair, and it was a hilarious thought. But this time I was scared for my life, scared for my body movement, and scared for all the people that were never going to hear me say "I love you" one last time.

They put me on a stretcher and move me to an x-ray table where they begin viewing my entire spine. As I was laying there, I was sure I would lose feeling in my entire body soon, so I kept wiggling my toes every few minutes to check if I had movement. So good so far. I slowly calm down and realize that even if I go paralized, I would still be alive and would still be able to write funny stories for my friends. This would be one of them.

After the x-rays they wheel me back into the UNM emergency room waiting area, where I start to realize the insanity occuring around me. People were screaming in pain with blood all around the floors. Other angry people were threatening each other and attempting to start fights, thus all the security in the facility. I wheel myself into the farthest corner in the room where I strike conversations with the few other normal people in the room.

I ended up making them all laugh a lot about my situation, and I learned about their's as well. One woman walked by with a bleeding arm not knowing in what direction she was heading, probably heaven. Five minutes later her friend grabs a mop and starts spiratically cleaning the floor, but not sufficiently nor was it allowed. Security has to grab her and explain that people can slip on wet floors, and that blood on the floor isn't going to kill anyone without bare feet with cuts in them. I am scared to death that one of these people is going to come up behind me and snap my braced neck. "Just get through this, just get through this. Whoever is out there, I will prove to you that I appreciate life in its fullest if you just get me out of here alive," I thought to myself.

After five entire hours of viewing the most insane things I've ever seen in my life, the doctor calls my name and a rush of relief went down my entire body. She explains that all the x-rays came back negative, and diagnoses me with a sprained spine. Didn't even know that was possible, but again I don't claim to be smart.

I unstrap the neck brace, throw it on the floor, get out of my wheel chair and take my bill to the front desk. "You're paying for this?" the information desk workers say. "Of course, I'm an honest person and I understand that if you don't pay for these things, facilities transform into death traps like UNM Hospital," I say. They laugh and were actually amazed that I paid.

As I walk out of the hospital there is a very shady character waiting to do something bad. I feel his anger and evil radiating from his body. As I pass by he looks me in the eye with a look of hatred, and I look him dead in the eye and subconsciously say, "Don't even try it."

As I clear his presence, a sweet old woman is about to cross the walkway which I just crossed. "Maam, I know you don't know me. But there is a man down the walkway waiting to hurt someone, and I don't want to see you get hurt. I will walk you inside if you'de like, but if not I would definitely not recommend you walking down the way," I explain to her. "Thank you so much," she says. "No big deal maam, just make some smart decisions in a town that's looking to take your life," I say.

After thinking back about the entire day, its craziness accompanied by my stupidity, I realize one thing. UNM Hospital needs an express exit lane that let's people get the hell out of there as soon as heavenly possible.

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