I still remember what I was dressed in. A white collared training shirt, and track pants of the purest black. I remember this very well, because variations in the dress code could result in a punishment of 100 push-ups. We had just endured a full day of physical training under the hot sun, and I thought it was just another heat stroke.
My friend, Shu Qin, accompanied me to the nearby clinic, and I recall laughing about it as I dragged my half numb body along. I was referred to the neurology department in the hospital, and my first visit yielded life-changing news.
Something was mentioned about ‘antiphospholipid syndrome’, about some rare blood clotting disorder that was the cause of half my body turning numb that day. Something about a transient ischemic attack, or ‘mini stroke’.
But I was just 14, and looking at him shell-shocked, I asked, “Do you mean I can never play basketball or football ever again?” That was the world to me at that age.
“Yes”, he replied. “No more contact sports for you.”
That was the first time I have ever cried in public. The rest of the day was spent in absolute silence. My mother cracked open the door to my room and crept in that evening. She held me in her arms, and we wept as one. There was nothing to be said, really.