Living with Hydrocephalus

Living with Hydrocephalus

Marc Rutte


Personal Narrative—Draft #1

24 February 2009

Narrative Essay—My Life with Hydrocephalus

In preparing for this essay there were a couple words that came to mind. The word that stood out the most for me was Compassion. The definition of the word Compassion is, “ A deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering”. When I was about two months of age I was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus or, “Water on the Brain”. It is a congenital condition that causes abnormal swelling of the brain due to overproduction of cerebrospinal fluid. I was operated on and a shunt was installed draining the excess fluid from my brain. Blockages of the shunt and seizures would sometimes occur.
One such occurrence happened while I was visiting my grandmother in France. My mother, sister brother and I were having a great time. My father had stayed home in England because of work where we happened to be living at the time. My grandmother’s house was located in the countryside, surrounded by fields, farms and livestock. The aroma of cow manure seemed to always hang around like an unwanted visitor. A mill once occupied the land where the house was located. The babbling stream that ran through the back yard once powered the mill. The nearest town was fifteen minutes and the nearest city was at least an hour’s drive.
One morning I woke up and had difficulty moving my body. It felt like my arms and legs were being restrained. My body seemed to be working against me. My head was really sore and I had unknowingly vomited since my pillow was all but covered. I attempted to call for my mother, but, felt so weak that to yell sounded like a mere whisper. I was finally able to get my mother’s attention. My mother’s demeanor was controlled chaos. She knew she had to be calm for my sake, but her inner instinct was utter worry. The...

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