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Advice From A Newly Bald Man: How To Stay Positive When It Seems Like The World Is Going To Shit

(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


Before you read my brother's article, I want to share how miraculous it is that my brother wrote this piece. So, while Josh wrote the article, I penned this prologue.


Prologue

A seemingly regular day can metamorphize into 24 hours you will never forget. One thousand four hundred forty minutes become etched into your psyche. A person doesn't choose what days impact them the most. I didn't choose this one. April 11, 2023, could have been the worst day of my life. In four hours, my little brother went from normal frat star studying for finals to preparing for brain surgery for a brain bleed. He could have never seen another sunrise, listened to the ocean swell, smelled his favorite meal, eaten said meal or felt how much love he inspired. At nineteen, his life could have ended before it began.


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


My little brother is okay. By the grace of God, he had no lasting neurological issues or deficits. On April 12, 2023, he was flirting with the nurses. Today, he is discharged and taking active steps toward recovery.


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


I tell people I have two babies: my dog and this blog. Consequently, every piece here is one I wrote. Well, until today. My brother decided to write about his experience. It would be remiss for me not to share it with you. Josh, you can take it from here.



 

Advice From A Newly Bald Man: How To Stay Positive When It Seems Like The World Is Going To Shit


I dedicate this essay to my loving family, the medical team that saved my life, Rabbi Levy and his wife Sheina, Rabbi Sue, and anyone else who may take something away from this (hopefully you do!)




(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


Picture this, you’re at the prime of your life, your grades are good, winter’s over and the flowers are starting to bloom, and you finally get that good gym schedule going which trust me is much easier said than done. So, everything is perfect for you, great! Now how should you respond when in the span of 24 hours, you have to go in for immediate brain surgery, you lose your gorgeous curly hair, you miss classes right before finals, you miss a phone call for an investment banking internship in the coming summer, and worst of all you miss the one week you had been looking forward to for the past nine months, Little 500, a week of non-stop partying from dusk to dawn. All this from one slap!



You can understandably be completely pissed off about the whole situation. However, I wanted to give my perspective on how I handled this whole thing. Now do not take my word as fact. If you think I am wrong, I won’t be mad, I promise. The reason why I am writing this is that I want to look back on how I handled this situation and use it to approach future conflicts. I also want to share it with everyone, and my hope is that those who read this might gain something positive from it.




All of what happened hit me in such a short amount of time, but I didn’t cry or get angry. Instead, I laughed about the whole situation. Now everyone handles trauma differently, but in my case, at first, I tried to lighten the tense mood that everyone else seemed to be in. The nurse who gave me the first CT scan literally broke down and started crying, which, to be honest, is incredibly scary. Later in the hospital, the neurosurgeon says, its a miracle I am not in a coma or dead. All this from a slap, I wondered. I was laughing about the whole thing, which I wouldn't be surprised if they thought was from brain trauma. I couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation sounded, but I wanted to cheer up the people around me. Right before I went into surgery, I wanted to go out with a memorable quote, “Not the face.” (Comedy Central, I am looking for work).


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


When something bad happens to us, our flight or fight response is triggered. It’s important to take a step back for a moment and realize who is our friend and who is our enemy. The problem is when there is no clear enemy. It is easy to get confused and let out all that anger onto the people who are trying to care for you. Once I got discharged from the hospital and was finally settled into the hotel with my mother, I had a moment to reflect. I felt nothing but anger and stress. Unfortunately for my poor mother, I let all of this out on her. I had so much energy cooped up in my head from laying there in that bed for four days, and my body was too weak to release it that it was trapped in my mind, bouncing off the walls like a laser in a hall of mirrors. I unfairly treated her like this.


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)



After being able to calm down in the space that is my temple of thought (the bathroom), I figured I should try and release all this energy through writing. Write down all these thoughts I was having, and maybe it’ll help. Once you start putting your thoughts on paper, it really does help you start having a broader perspective on the whole situation. After I started writing, I wanted to treat her with the respect she deserves and still does deserve. (I love you, Mom).


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


I want to make something clear, I hold no animosity towards the guy who slapped me (it was an accident) and to the nurses in the ER who initially told me I was fine. It’s not worth having that anger toward them. He had no intention of sending me to the hospital, and the ER followed every protocol they'd been taught. Something cool you see when situations like these happen is the kindness that comes out in people. Seeing all the texts I have been receiving, checking on me, and all the visits to the hospital really warmed my heart. The guy who hit me also shaved his head in response to my head being shaved, which was nice to see.


(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)


It's okay to be frustrated sometimes. It’s a natural occurrence that shouldn’t be pushed down and let the pressure build up over time. What’s important is to ask these questions… Is this person trying to screw me over or trying to help me? How is this situation affecting their psyche as well? Lastly, what exactly am I getting so mad about, and does it make sense to have those feelings? Try and look for activities to release that pent-up energy in a positive way. You won’t become a saint overnight and don’t expect to. That’s not realistic. But making the first steps and asking yourself these questions when you get frustrated is moving in a positive direction. 




(Image courtesy of Joshua Huss.)



I want to conclude this essay with a series of quotes. “It ain’t about how hard you get hit. It’s about how you can get hit and keep moving forward” (Rocky Balboa, 2006).  “Such is life” (Joseph Baretti, 1762). “Every day above ground is a great day; remember that” (Mr. Worldwide 2014). Finally, my personal favorite, “Shit happens” (Joshua Huss, 2023).

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Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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