A Happy Life is a Longer Life

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A Happy Life is a Longer Life

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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Amelia Mendes, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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   Last summer, I had the worst day of my life. We were right in the middle of a move, so my mother was at our old house, packing, and I was staying at home with my grandmother. Out of nowhere, my grandmother started telling me to call an EMS and I felt my heart drop deep into my chest. The next hour was a blur, with paramedics rushing into my living room, looking completely out of place, and with me frantically pulling on clothes, as I hadn’t wanted to leave her alone to change. All of my neighbors ran over to hug me as my mother sped home in a panic.

   My mother and I then drove to the hospital, shaking. When we arrived, my grandmother was already in the emergency room. About half an hour went by, and I went to drink some water. Within those few minutes, my grandmother’s heart had stopped, but by the time I had come back, the doctors had revived her. I tried to not let her see me crying as she told the doctor that “I need to see her graduate”. I had a horrible premonition, and called for the priest at our Church. Then, as I sat with her, holding her hand, the heart monitor started beeping as she flatlined a second time. I ran out of the room, screaming for a nurse. A wave of people crowded the room. As I was escorted out, the nurse told me “tell her you love her”, but all I could manage to say was “I need you. I need you.”

   My mother and I sobbed in the waiting room, praying. A chaplin, Jim (God bless Jim) had come to comfort us. She was gone. It was over…But then it wasn’t. Then my ninety-one year old grandmother came back before the doctors even needed to do anything. And I knew, she had come back for me. She had come back out of sheer will. The next few days were hell on earth, sleeping in the ICU in a tiny pull out bed in our clothes, eating in the hospital cafeteria even though we had no appetite. But, finally, in the end, we took my grandma home after they had surgically implanted a pacemaker for her heart. We took her home. Something I never would have imagined when that heart monitor started beeping. 

   My grandmother has always been an optimistic person, despite the difficult life she’s lead, having grown up during the revolution of her home country, Costa Rica. With Boston University School of Medicine’s study claiming that positive people have been proven to live longer, I sincerely believe that our will and excitement to live can alone make a significant improvement in our health. The question is, what do we do with this new information? Well, I believe that the answer is actually quite simple: Try your best to live a happy life with the knowledge of knowing that happiness is a choice. In fact, it’s a basic human right; “the pursuit of happiness”. This doesn’t mean that you need to be happy every second of your existence, but it does mean that you should try to stay in a relatively positive state of mind, for your emotional, and, therefore, your physical health. 

Special thanks to the incredible staff at the Wake Medical Hospital in Cary.