On my hands, feet, elbows, wrists, ankles, there are tiny flecks of scars from a thousand cannulae.
I have scars from central lines that allowed life saving drugs to keep me alive countless times. Those that made my heart beat when nature could not. Powerful antibiotics to fight the infections I can’t. Water when my kidneys failed and I needed rehydration. Blood when I was having transfusions.
I have a tracheostomy scar. My heart was so weak I couldn’t breathe without assistance. My lungs so full of fluid from heart failure, the ventilators pushed air into my lungs for my first few years.
I have a portacath scar under my right arm, where my mother used to push needles into me so drs could access my bloodstream, when all my other veins were so damaged or tiny.
I have ECMO and bypass scars, chest drains from a fight with chylothorax, my immunity leaking from me into tank, a bone marrow harvest site on my lower back, when my stem cells were used as trial therapy to see if my own heart might heal.
I have a tiny scar above my liver, where doctors pushed a tiny tube and saved my life by accessing my heart through my portal vein to place a stent.
I have a sternotomy scar from my heart transplant, the one that dominates my body. It opened my rib cage to allow my old heart to be cut out and that of my donor to be put inside. I have scars inside too, heart and soul.