In Other News: 10 Interesting News Stories That Don’t Involve COVID-19

In Other News: 10 Interesting News Stories That Don’t Involve COVID-19

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After more than a year of living in a coronavirus-consumed world, I think we’re all sick and tired of news about COVID-19 and vaccine rollout plans.

With world media being constantly bombarded with news related to COVID-19, I thought it would be nice to shed light on a few different news stories that have happened recently. Think of this article as a time capsule of world news in 2021, if you will.



1. Tim’s For Good

Although more than likely a clever PR tactic, Canadian-founded mass restaurant chain Tim Hortons announced their “Tim’s For Good” campaign in April 2021. In a nutshell, the campaign promises that the company will transition to paper straws, 100% recyclable take-away bags and napkins, wooden sticks, and so on. In addition, the campaign vows to develop ‘more sustainable’ methods for food sourcing and food waste.

With over 4,000 locations, just in Canada, it’s about time this Canadian mega-corporation got onto the go-green bandwagon.



2. Charles River Acquires Distributed Bio

In January 2021, Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. announced the acquisition of a California-based “next-generation antibody discovery company,” Distributed Bio, co-founded by Dr. Jacob Glanville, PhD.

According to Distributed Bio’s website, this acquisition allowed Dr. Glanville to step away from the company in order to focus his research time on “universal vaccines, therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19, and other infectious diseases” at Centivax, a computational engineering research facility also based in California.

According to Centivax’s website, their mission is as follows “Centivax is a therapeutics company founded to create treatments and cures to reduce and eradicate the remaining complex pathogens of the 21st century.”



3. The Top Ten Occupations That Employ the Most People in All of QuebecThe Top Ten Occupations That Employ the Most People in All of Quebec

  1. Retail salespersons
  2. Early childhood educators and assistants
  3. Administrative assistants
  4. Cashiers
  5. Retail and wholesale trade managers
  6. Light duty cleaners
  7. Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations
  8. Administrative officers
  9. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  10. Transport truck drivers

Source: Emploi Quebec, May 2021.



4. Industry Projections for the Future of Quebec’s Job Marketing

According to the Government of Quebec, the three industries that they foresee needing the largest amount of workers in the near future are the following:

  • Health
  • Construction
  • Information Technology

Source: Emplois D’Avenir, May 2021.



5. Wage Changes not the Same for All Young People

In an article published by Statistics Canada in 2013, it was found that younger people are being paid less than they were in 1981, regardless of inflation.”[…] in 2012, the median hourly wages of men and women age 17 to 24 were 13% and 8% lower, respectively, than their counterparts in 1981.”

Source: Galarneau, Diane, René Morissette and Jeannine Usalcas. 2013. Statistics Canada, Archived.

6. The Gates Have Closed

Despite appearing to be a seemingly inseparable couple in Netflix’s 2019 documentary series, “Inside Bill’s Brain,” after 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, publicly announce their filing for divorce.

According to the BBC, the philanthropic Foundation, of which they are both still heavily involved with, will remain operational and will continue towards its global education, health, and climate change initiatives.

7. You Can Now Fly into Space… If You’re Rich Enough

What do Elon Musk (Tesla) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) have in common, you ask? Well, they both made a ton of money and privatized space travel.

Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, is offering one lucky individual the opportunity to climb aboard “New Shepard” (name of one of the spacecraft created by Blue Origin) and fly up into space like an astronaut.

The seat available comes at a price: the highest bidder, which basically means, a lot of money! The live auction happens June 12, 2021, so get your credit cards out!



8. Need Assistance? Too bad. Amazon Go Grocery and The A.I. Future of Retail

Amazon, the online superstore, has already opened up two “Amazon Go Grocery” stores in the US, both in the experiment state of Washington.

What makes these grocery stores so special? There are no employees, at all. You pick up the items you need, and the advanced artificial intelligence tech, which is built into the store, identifies the item(s). When you’re done, you walk out of the store, and the items are charged automatically to your credit or debit card via the Amazon Go app.

I’m sure there are probably a few employees to help people who are confused with the new technology, however, this could be a window into the future of retail.

9. Battle of The Brands: Second Cup or Starbs?

Second Cup, the lesser-known, direct, Canadian competitor to Starbucks, was recently acquired by Quebec-based brand, Foodtastic.

According to YahooFinance, Foodtastic has plans to expand the Second Cup brand, aggressively, like 130 locations in 36 months, aggressive. Will Second Cup’s new parent company create a problem for the social media-friendly Starbucks? I guess we’ll see!

10. TAV College Opens its 2nd Campus

This time next year, TAV will have operated out of two buildings for the first time ever. In the spirit of a time capsule, I couldn’t help but make the College a piece of this news article! The future is bright for TAV.

The Psychological Impact of COVID-19: How Did Covid Affect Collective Mental Health?

The Psychological Impact of COVID-19: How Did Covid Affect Collective Mental Health?

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COVID-19 has had some positive and negative effects on the environment, but how has it affected mental health? And, did the virus affect mental health more positively or negatively?COVID-19 has had some positive and negative effects on the environment, but how has it affected mental health? And, did the virus affect mental health more positively or negatively?

Unemployment Crisis

First, let’s talk about unemployment. The National Bureau of Economic Research has declared US unemployment rates as one of the major economic downturns after the Great Depression. Due to strict stay-at-home orders, in response to the Coronavirus disease, according to the Congressional Research Service, the rate of unemployment in the US was 14.8% in April 2020. This unemployment spike resulted in many people being jobless and by extension, not having any way to earn money to satisfy their needs. However, for various socio-political reasons, by the end of December, this rate had declined to 6.7% in December 2020.              

According to the American Psychological Association, unemployment rates triggered widespread psychological distress, which is defined as “a form of worry” or “symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.” In addition, Policy Options magazine stated that the group most affected by the closure of workplaces, caused by the pandemic, was young women.

In Canada, the unemployment rates between February and April 2020 increased by 14.3% for males and 20.4 % for females. However, Canada announced several Unemployment Insurance Benefits to help people who got sick or lost their jobs due to covid.    In Canada, the unemployment rates between February and April 2020 increased by 14.3% for males and 20.4 % for females. However, Canada announced several Unemployment Insurance Benefits to help people who got sick or lost their jobs due to covid.

Effect on Sociality and Education

According to the World Economic Forum, the “COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever.” The pandemic formed major barriers to education and youth. Most educational institutions around the world had to quickly adapt to the new realities in order to reduce the transmission of the virus. To solve this problem, online (or hybrid) teaching was introduced, however, another obstacle came into fruition, this obstacle being an extension of poor politics and social inequality. Some students did not have access to digital devices or had poor internet, while some students did. In fact,

according to the World Economic Forum, nearly 25% of students from unprivileged backgrounds in the US did not have access to a computer for educational purposes. 


Patricia Perez, an Associate Professor of International Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology shed light on another daunting factor about how COVID has affected the youth population around the world in writing, “young people like to make plans for the future, and it’s difficult to do that when they don’t know how long this new way of life will last.” Patricia Perez, an Associate Professor of International Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology shed light on another daunting factor about how COVID has affected the youth population around the world in writing, “young people like to make plans for the future, and it’s difficult to do that when they don’t know how long this new way of life will last.”                      

This new system of learning has made students lazy and unmotivated. There is no physical activity, no social contact, and therefore, no motivation, which teachers stimulated in classroom environments.            

As mentioned in the Daily Orange newspaper, lack of face-to-face interactions has been linked to anxiety and depression, since many people are only seeing others through digital screens.

Why The Curfews?

In response to the spread of COVID-19, curfews and lockdowns became the favored methods for controlling the spread of the disease. In an article published by Global Dev online blog, the authors ask a tough question: Should curfews and lockdowns cost us our mental health? Mental health might be both the cause and consequence of social and physical isolation.                

Observations were recorded before and after US state-wide lockdowns, and it was noted that the mental health of individuals living in states with strict stay-at-home orders deteriorated more than those living in states without such tough restrictions. As a result, in the U.S., symptoms of depression and anxiety rose to around forty percent during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to eleven percent in early 2019. The Mental Health Foundation tried to offer the suggestion to stay connected, eat healthily, keep active in order to not let the stay-at-home orders affect mental health… Easier said than done?more than those living in states without such tough restrictions. As a result, in the U.S., symptoms of depression and anxiety rose to around forty percent during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to eleven percent in early 2019. The Mental Health Foundation tried to offer the suggestion to stay connected, eat healthily, keep active in order to not let the stay-at-home orders affect mental health… Easier said than done?

Mental State

Although it is true that depression, anxiety, and suicide were present before COVID-19, these mental illnesses have seen a dramatic increase since the start of the pandemic. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducted a survey on adults aged eighteen years or more across the United States in 2020, and the results showed that forty-point-nine percent of individuals surveyed displayed at least one mental or behavioral health condition, and around thirty-point-nine reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

As a result, the CDC published a Help Guide. The guide introduced some coping mechanisms to help reduce the severity of these illnesses. The guide included things such as eating healthy, the use of reminders to keep yourself on track, and practicing some kind of activity such as breathing exercises.               

This deadly virus has affected all of our lives in one or another. Some people have lost jobs and suffered from depression, but we all need not lose hope because we will overcome this battle together. Remember that there are online workshops provided to overcome stress as well as government resources to help people maintain their daily life.

ALC Program Gets a Face Lift: An Update on The College’s Plans

ALC Program Gets a Face Lift: An Update on The College’s Plans

Photo: a classroom in TAV College’s new C building.

By Justin Hand-Gregory


The College recently announced its ambitious plans to revamp the Arts, Literature, and Communication program. A large part of the announcement was two professional-grade production studios. Through revamping the existing program, TAV hopes to attract more of a target audience of students to the program who are passionate about the program’s specific learning outcomes (as opposed to students who are more interested in general studies like the General Social Science program).

Taking a Fresh Look at the ALC Program

Valerie Svitanko, Coordinator of the ALC and Social Science programs, said during a phone interview that “ever since TAV introduced the Social Science programs in Winter 2019, the ALC program saw a gradual decline in enrollment.” The ALC program used to be the only pre-university alternative to the Sciences. So, as a tactic to bring more students into the program, the administration tried integrating more media and practical skills into its curriculum as well as added a “mentorship” aspect to the program’s synthesis project. However, the tactics were unsuccessful.

Svitanko said,

“the program is unique in the sense that it is pre-university, but also provides real-life skills: The courses offered have slowly transitioned to be more practical and less theoretical. With that said, the College is motivated and willing to try and breathe new life into the program in order to ensure its continuity.”


New Media Production and Learning Facilities

The expansion of TAV’s campus size served as a catalyst for the College to re-imagine many of its rooms and spaces. With the immense amount of new space that the “C building” will bring in Fall 2021, the TAV administration has had the opportunity to start planning for the transformation of rooms that were, at once, conventional classrooms.

Although there is no final decision on which rooms the studios will call home, there is speculation that the new building is a promising candidate. The new building would be ideal because of its modern concrete structure. This would allow for better-soundproofed spaces where students can get very high-quality sound recordings for course projects that require sound engineering. Also, the rooms in the new building are much larger than those of the A and B buildings, which is ideal for a studio because studios generally have a lot of wires, equipment, and large objects lying around, and having a large space reduces the risk of accidents. Plus, a larger space will allow students to be more interactive with the creative projects they will make.

There are also plans (in negotiation) to create an official ALC department in the new building. Although there have been no final decisions made yet, the idea is to give the ALC program a few rooms, all on the same floor of the building. This way, ALC students and teachers will have their own floor to call home, where they can display student work on the walls and the rooms and studios will all be close by and will be exclusive to them. The idea is that everyone in the department will feel part of this creative environment and will inspire one another to create some truly amazing things in years to come. The current plan is to have the Mac lab, film/photography studio, sound studio, and equipment storage room all on the fourth floor.

Equipment Management

One of the key factors in determining the success of the new studios is going to be the system for managing the equipment. The College plans on investing over ten thousand dollars into making this revamp project a reality. So, the question becomes, who and how will this expensive inventory be kept safe? 

The current system in place is inadequate. Svitanko stated that the current problem is that the equipment the College already owns is being lost.

The proposed solutions for the management of media equipment come with a few different options. One option is that the teachers of the ALC program be responsible for keeping track of who borrowed the equipment using a sign-in/sign-out form.

Option two is to implement a work-study program where students work for various departments at the college and instead of a paycheque, they pay off their tuition. Students could work as an equipment management facilitator for the rental, tracking, and inventory management of the new equipment.

The third option is to hire a designated technician who would be responsible for managing the equipment and studio maintenance. Regardless of whichever option is selected, there will be a structured system in place to avoid anything being lost, stolen, or damaged. The equipment will be free to use, for ALC students only, but will more than likely have a ‘you break it, you buy it’ policy attached in order to stress how serious the damage or loss of this equipment is.

Endless Possibilities

These new ALC facilities will allow the College to expand the courses offered in the program, in addition to enhancing existing courses. The long-term goal will be to allow students from various other programs and student clubs to use the studios once the department has discovered a management system that works and no issues have been discovered.

How To Stimulate Intelligence: The Critical Years

How To Stimulate Intelligence: The Critical Years

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Having children who are focused and intelligent is what most parents want. They also want their children to be successful and happy as grown-ups. It is what we desire for our children, but not everyone knows about the critical role that parenting plays in a child’s early years, and how to give them the groundwork of security and attention they need in order to develop successfully.


The relationship between early childhood care and intelligence

There is an absolute and concrete relationship between intelligence and early childhood care. Parents can give their kids proper care, so they can raise and develop their potential in the best way possible. According to Jill Stamm, Ph.D., co-founder of the New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development, it is possible to boost a child’s IQ by as much as 20 to 30 points.


Intelligence Quotient

IQ is not a fixed or objective concept. According to Stamm, IQ depends on genes, physical health, and the environmental experiences that the baby is consistently exposed to. It is also important to emphasize that intelligence can be shaped after birth. According to Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, there are eight different types of intelligences: linguistic, logical/ mathematical, spatial, bodily or kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.




ABC is what they need … in their early years

Besides responding to a child’s physical needs, what they need most is attention, bonding, and communication. And they need these things more consistently and earlier than most parents often provide. Providing these three important needs can lead to a higher level of IQ.



According to Stamm, attention refers to the ability to use the brain’s energy to pay attention, which is partly wired as early as age one. However, for a child, maintaining attention is no easy task. In order to develop a child’s attention system, here are a few tips:

  • Give them frequent face-to-face time
  • Make a lot of eye contact during the day
  • Point out the objects and label them

Introducing a “Placemat” to the child is also a good idea for attention development. Using a mat, parents can encourage the baby to focus on where the activity will be held. The placemat should be plain colors (no colorful patterns), or else the child’s attention goes to the colors, not to the activity that is provided. In this way, every time the child sees their parent is bringing the placemat, they will know that there is a fun, interesting activity waiting for them. In this way, you are priming the child for their full attention.

In a car, it is also very beneficial if parents limit the amount of time when their baby is strapped into a car seat. It lessens their range of vision to what’s directly in front of them, which makes it difficult to orient sounds that are coming from either side. Instead, they can try to take the child out when they decide to take a walk, hold the child often, carry the child on their hip, in a side sling, or a carrier seat. In this way, the child has many chances to use his natural inclination to shift attention and follow his head.

Another method for guiding attention is “no-tech time” for their family and not letting their children be exposed to any kind of screen playing such as computers or TV. These all also help children to improve their attention system.



Bonding refers to the ongoing relationship of attachment between a child and their caregiver. According to Stamm, the baby is counting on more than the food and warmth his parents provide. They cannot yet control their own feelings very well, and so, they need help to stay emotionally in balance. Children need to regulate these emotional states so that they don’t overwhelm their system.

As stated by Dr. Stamm, when parents respond to the baby’s practical and emotional needs consistently, the baby starts to form a sense of trust. Trust develops children’s intellectual potential (and how well he does in school), language development, self-control, the ability to cope with stress, and the ability to make and sustain future relationships.

For bonding improvement, parents can hold their baby during feeding and establish the habit of lap reading together. They also can encourage skin-to-skin contact and respond quickly when their baby cries. It is important to know that “In a minute” can sound like “never” to a young child.

All infants need one person in the first moments of crying. Repetitive waitings for basic needs only give them stress. It also might have some negative effects on their brain and cause some learning problems in the early years of school.



Communication refers to the development of the language system and language skills. It includes understanding speech, learning to talk, and activities that will later influence learning to read. All babies learn language starting at birth based on what they are exposed to.

Hanging photos for them to look at while in the crib, the carriage, or on the floor can encourage early visual development. Introducing music at different times of the day, singing simple songs, asking basic questions, and encouraging them to participate in the conversations are other ways that parents can enhance their child’s communication skills.

Parents can make some facial expressions while reading a book and hold their kids close to themselves. It is also important to talk to children!

The importance of play in the early childhood years

Play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development. The best form of play is the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, and independent, where infants start their own games and even invent their own games.

Through play, children can learn how to communicate and what to expect, and this may improve their social and emotional abilities. Within the play, they will also stimulate and promote their early brain development. For them, play would be compared to work.

There are ways to make raising a smart child easier through the points that were stated above. Jerome Everett Singer, an American psychologist said: “The activities that are the easiest, cheapest, and most fun to do–such as singing, playing games, reading, storytelling, and just talking and listening–are also the best for child development.”

Helicopters on Mars? From Rolling Rovers to Flying Drones

Helicopters on Mars? From Rolling Rovers to Flying Drones

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Image for reference only; this is not NASA’s Perseverance.


Since the 1960s, dozens of missions and spacecraft launchings have been carried out by NASA with the intention of exploring the Martian surfaces to discover if the red planet was once habitable, and perhaps if it is a candidate environment for the future of our human species.

A great amount of information is known about the red planet, that we call Mars, due to the successful wheeled rovers that have been used to obtain such information, ranging from the planet’s geology all the way to its atmospheric characteristics.

However, with increasing ambition to further expand discoveries, these slow-moving rovers simply aren’t fast enough. So, what may be the solution to increase rover movement and maximize exploration? A fast-flying rover perhaps! And, believe it or not, NASA has already got that covered.

Meet the ‘SOL’ sisters: Perseverance and Ingenuity

Ingenuity is an autonomous technological experiment that was built by NASA to show the possibility of powered flight on a planet that is not our own, just like the very first Mars rover, Sojourner, which rolled on Mars’ soil in 1997.

This helicopter’s name was not originally given by NASA, but by a student who won the, “Name The Rover” contest in 2020. “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the Universe,” wrote Vaneeza Rupani, winner of the contest.

The goal of this helicopter is to simply be a successful (experimental) project, which can help future flights such as the Dragonfly―a drone that is planned to launch on Saturn’s moon in the coming years.

Helicopter launches are actually quite difficult. The reason being, Mars’ atmosphere is 99% less dense than Earth’s, making it quite thin, resulting in difficulty to lift any spacecraft off of its surface.

So, how exactly is Ingenuity going to be any different?

Well, Ingenuity was built with a light anatomy, weighing only 4 pounds, with carbon-fiber blades that spin at 2,400 rpm, 6 times faster than the ones on Earth, making Ingenuity’s flight off of the Martian soils possible, which was tested on April 14th, 2021.

The helicopter has also shown success just by surviving the journey to Mars, and no, it did not fly itself there. The small drone was transported in a large six-wheeled rover known as Perseverance, which made its landing on the planet in February 2021. Two months later, the small helicopter was sent free from Perseverance by finally being dropped onto Mars’ surface.

Evidence of success kept on rising as the helicopter, now independent from Perseverance, survived Mars’ below-freezing temperatures, of minus ninety degrees Celsius, thanks to the heating systems that were built in to keep Ingenutiy’s electronics properly functioning in below-freezing temperatures.

The two spacecraft will continue to work hand-in-hand as Ingenuity takes its first flight, capturing 30 pictures a second that is then analyzed to assess its location using a tracking-like software, all of which is then going to be sent back to Earth through Perseverance.

The innovation doesn’t just stop here! Make sure to follow along with Ingenuity’s journey through the red planet’s atmosphere, and the many more discoveries that this helicopter is going to make on NASA’s website, or you can follow NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Facebook and Instagram.

Breaking The Silence: Destigmatizing Medical Conditions

Breaking The Silence: Destigmatizing Medical Conditions

About This Series

Living with a chronic or life-threatening illness brings a whole host of challenges. Oftentimes, these challenges can be invisible. This makes it harder for others to be compassionate and helpful. People who experience medical issues can feel like their life is out of their control, which can make it really difficult for them to reach out for help.

The goal of this series was to raise awareness about medical conditions through storytelling and thorough information.

Knowledge is power. Hearing and understanding people’s experiences can help you be better equipped to respond the next time you encounter someone with a medical condition.

It will hopefully make you more aware and sensitive towards others struggling. This can even be in the simplest form of avoiding the generalization and misuse of medical conditions. Doing so diminishes undermines and devalues what individuals with those conditions experience. For example, using expressions like you’re retarded, I’m depressed, I’m so OCD can be hurtful to those who have medical retardation, depression or OCD.

According to the CDC, 795,000 people have a stroke every year in the USA alone. Just about every 40 seconds, someone in the States has a stroke and someone dies of a stroke every 4 minutes. It is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Despite its prevalence, roughly 38% of bystanders knew all of the major symptoms of a stroke. Strokes require immediate care. Some strokes may be treated exclusively within the first 3 hours from when the symptoms start.

Patients who receive treatment are more likely to either fully recover or live with less disability than those who don’t. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke can save lives.

Breaking The Silence: Hemorrhagic Stroke

Did a Full 180

I was working at a gym as a receptionist. I talked to two clients and explained our memberships to them when they started tilting their heads and looking at me strangely. I was trying to figure out why they were doing that.

I started realizing that when I was talking, it sounded like I was eating my words. I asked them if it was okay with them if I switched to French and they agreed. My French started okay and then I started eating my words in French too. My words were not coming out properly. They couldn’t understand me so they started giggling a little bit. They told me that it was okay and that they would come back another day.

I turn to my computer and I’m staring at it. I’m starting to panic because I was stuttering. I asked one of my friends, who was working out, to come and see me. He asked me to repeat some numbers with him to try to get the hang of my speech back. After a few minutes, it came back a bit. He had thought that maybe it was caused by stress because I had two exams the next day (which I hadn’t studied for.)

He went to continue working out and I went back to my desk to continue working. I looked at the screen and I realized that, although I was smashing down on the keys, nothing was typing. I thought it was maybe the computer that was broken. I went to go grab my phone but it just slipped right out of my hand. I picked my phone with my left hand, I tried to open it with my finger-ID but it wasn’t working. Essentially, my hand wasn’t working and went completely numb. I used my other hand to type into the search bar “why can’t I feel my hand?” I started panicking because I couldn’t understand what I was reading and I couldn’t feel my hand.

As this is happening, I slowly started falling off the chair. I hit the ground and my friend came running. When he asked me what I was doing on the ground, I just started crying. This part is a blur. I don’t remember falling or getting back on the chair. He later told me that he was trying to get my attention. He started asking me simple questions to try to help ground me. I started lisping. My lips started tingling. I was producing saliva and drooling but I couldn’t swallow it. I tried to eat but couldn’t lift my fork.

Closing time came around and I tried to clean up by putting the weights away. I was incapable of doing so. My friend helped me out a bit and then drove me home. I get home and go to my mother. I looked at her and said I don’t feel well. I was talking funny but she started laughing because she thought I was just joking around.

It’s Not All in My Head

The next day, my entire arm was numb. My mom called me and it felt like my face was being pulled in two different directions. My mom’s boyfriend (at the time) time) picked me up and drove me to the ER. They were looking at me like I was crazy because everything returned back to normal. It was as if nothing happened. The nurse told me that they were probably going to send me home because they couldn’t find anything. Then, someone working at the hospital who had no medical training decided that they would try to get me a CT scan just to be safe. We get the CT done.

The nurse came over to me and told me that the blood test results came back. My numbers were a little wonky but they weren’t sure why. Then, the resident came to see me and asked me to come into a conference room. He told me that I had a minor brain bleed on the top left corner. I was told that they would give me some anti-seizure medications and that it shouldn’t happen again. The next minute, the main neurosurgeon came running into the room and told me that I had a massive brain bleed.
They had me do an MRI. They couldn’t see anything because of the amount of blood there. They didn’t know what was happening or why it was happening. They only knew that I had a massive bump in that region because of the CT scan I took earlier. They said it was a cyst.

On the Tip of My Tongue

I was hospitalized for about two weeks. In that time period, I had unbearable headaches. I couldn’t walk. I had another episode in the hospital where my right side went numb again. On one of the first few days I was there, they came in and told me that they were going to keep me in the hospital. They were trying to wait and see if my brain would somehow reabsorb the blood. They told me that I would be taking a second MRI in a week’s time. It was an important region of my brain and they were trying to avoid surgery at all costs.

The first day I was hospitalized was the scariest because I was having memory lapses. I lost my French and a lot of my English too. The only language I could remember was my native language, which I only spoke as a child. My English came back a few days after and my French only returned after a month’s worth of speech therapy. The resident printed out a list of my Facebook friends. She would choose random people and ask me who they were, where we first met, and how I knew them. I had friends from elementary school whom I didn’t recognize. It was as if someone had taken white-out and erased parts of my life. I would know that I was being asked questions. I was supposed to know the answers too but then would forget that they had asked me a question altogether. That’s how bad my memory was. With time, my memory came back.
For the first week, I couldn’t get out of bed without a walker. I needed help using the bathroom. Not being able to move was also really scary. I was being seen by a physiotherapist to try to help me to regain my strength.

Slow & Steady

Luckily for me, the bleeding started going down. The process was very hard and slow. My doctor had asked me if I had done any strenuous sports or fallen down the stairs. I told him that I was in school and during that two-week period prior to this incident, I had stopped all exercise to focus on my exams. He told me that it looked like I was hit in the head by a baseball bat, but without a fracture. After the week passed, they did another MRI. As the bleeding had started going down, they were going to let me go home on the condition that I wouldn’t do anything.

It was really hard. I would look at my phone and feel like puking. Too much light or noise would bother me. I started going to a rehabilitation center. They were helping me organize and schedule my life. They would give me tasks to test my re-organizational skills and my memory. They made me play word games to try to reboot my language skills. I was in rehab for eight or nine months. During this time, I had to drop school, quit work, and stop going to the gym. This all took a really big toll on my self-esteem.

Towards the end of rehab, I enrolled back in college, but I started the semester late; it was all really overwhelming. I was also a little ashamed of the fact that I was in rehab. I didn’t tell anyone to avoid questions and assumptions people would make about me. I would try to study but couldn’t focus and I couldn’t play video games, which really got me down.

I started slowly going back to the gym, with my doctor’s permission. It was important for me to start prioritizing my mental health. He told me my physical health would improve as a result. I wasn’t allowed to lift weights that were too heavy and I definitely couldn’t push myself.

Ran Myself Ragged

A year later, my doctor asked me if I was stressed at the time. I replied affirmatively because I was working three jobs, in school, working out every day, trying to maintain a romantic relationship and a social life. I was trying to manage everything and I wasn’t sleeping enough. He told me that my level of stress may have been so high that it caused a cyst I had in my brain to rupture. The bleeding was considered a hemorrhage. The hemorrhage covered up areas of my brain causing me to have seizures. The pain of the cyst rupturing had caused my nervous system to shut down and glitch. I had symptoms of a stroke because of everything going on.

I had no long-term side effects to all this. Thank goodness the cyst was not cancerous. I additionally have another cyst in the back of my head which was non-cancerous as well. They were probably there from birth and I must have either done something to rupture them or it ruptured because of the high levels of stress. My doctor told me that if there was no more blood, I wouldn’t need to see him anymore.

Left Me on Read

People were upset at me that I was no longer talking to them, nor texting or calling. I tried to explain to these friends what I was going through but they just couldn’t understand. I also didn’t want to share what was going on in my life, which really bothered them. They made my incident about themselves. My immediate family, however, was very supportive. My mom was my caregiver so she was dealing with my appointments and giving me medications. It was pretty hard on her.

I’m Better on the Other Side

This whole incident made me a lot more studious. I learned how to better balance my life more efficiently. I started becoming more in tune with my health and I started becoming more appreciative of what I had. It made me more mature because I realized how close I could’ve come to death. I’m not scared of dying but I am scared of not experiencing everything I wanted to experience and not spending enough time with my family. If I were to die tomorrow, damn it, I spent all of my time in school.

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