At 47, my cousin teeters between life and death as he lays in a hospital bed in critical condition. The heart surgeon said his endocarditis is the "worst case" he ever treated. According to the physician, my cousin didn't take proper care of his teeth. As a result, an infection from his mouth entered his bloodstream and ate away half of his heart. Still, a miracle was performed through the physician's hands as he stitched my cousins heart back together and gave him another shot at life.
Like me, my cousin spent most of his life struggling with personal demons and compulsions. He suffered in silence. Listening to family members close to him, I learned about his isolation, despair and low self esteem. I remembered the time in my life when I felt I did not deserve the best attention. I remember the time in my life when my unyielding insecurities rotted my insides.
Like my cousin, I once sat at death's door uncertain of the outcome. Like my cousin, I wanted to live but didn't know how. I had to learn to put first things first. Like the surgeon who had to repair my cousin's heart first so he could attempt to save the other organs in his body, I had to stop drinking and drugging first so I could learn a better way to live.
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