I started writing this blog a couple of weeks ago, but due to an unexpected hospital admission, I was unable to finish it – and I now feel like I am more passionate about the topic of taking things for granted. Once again, please bear with me – I have a fuzzy brain and sleep deprivation so my words aren’t quite flowing today.
On the whole, I like to think that I don’t take things for granted. I like to see myself as a fairly contented person; even when things are tough I actively look for the positives, and enjoy what I have. But as I have said in previous posts, I often get wrapped up in a moment, and forget to enjoy it.
Over the last few weeks (or months if I’m honest), I’ve really noticed that I have been taking lots of things for granted. This has been spurred on by a number of things, and I particularly notice it in conversations with friends, like when I was telling one friend how jealous I was of the Europe tour she was going on while I sit at home unable to travel. This really made me see that I am constantly preoccupying my thoughts with the ‘experiences’ I am missing out on because I can’t work full-time.
Luckily for me, my friend kindly pointed out that at least I am sitting at home with Elliot. And that is so on point. To save the spew factor you can go back to read another blog post I wrote about him a wee while ago. It is my mission to remember even when times are tight and my world seems to be crashing, we still have our love – and that is key.
The main reason that I have been thinking about taking things for granted though, is that I have had a constant niggling feeling of knowing that something was not quite right with my health again. For the millionth time in my life, I managed to convince myself that my symptoms were in my head and completely ignored them (so yes, those of you who told me to go to the doctors 2 months ago you can now say I told you so!) But after a big fall I realised that this was real, and if I want to look after myself properly and make the most of my life- I need to seek the medical help that I moved here for.
I think the sudden realisation that I could no longer ignore it, came from that moment – being on the floor of a train station in London, vomiting from the pain of a dislocated hip, unable to pull myself up with the added loss of bladder control (sorry for the TMI). This was it.
So I went back to the Marfan Clinic in Oxford. I’m not going to lie – it was a daunting feeling entering the hospital alone knowing that they might want to run some tests. I managed to keep myself distracted, ringing Libby in Gisborne on the train. I think the mix of travelling, nerves and going into hospital made me super vommy, but I found peace knowing I would be home in a few hours and could curl back up in bed.
The lovely Marfan specialists thought it was best that I was admitted to the Emergency Department to rule out acute problems with my spine (although knowing the symptoms started a wee while ago I knew this wasn’t the case). It turns out my convincing “I am fine to just go home” skills are not quite as good here as they were in NZ. And don’t worry Emma, I had your voice in my head saying, “Keira, you need to be here.”
So there I was. Alone in the Emergency Department, waiting extremely patiently, going crazy from the continuous beeping that seemed to somewhat hide the chilling screams and weeping of other patients/family members. Yet I couldn’t help but realise that some of those patients were actually alone, they came in from domestic abuse, or attempted suicide. This really does make my heart ache, and in some ways I am thankful that waiting in the long ED line made me re-realise that so many people are fighting for a smidgen of the life I live. I knew I had my family and friends back at home, and that I was not fighting this alone.
After I recovered from my last surgery (a year ago now) I have had relatively stable physical health – yes, I live with a chronic condition – but I have been managing it extremely well. Yet I would be quick to tell you that I was struggling with keeping up with my peers, and that the constant exhaustion was wearing me out! The funny thing is I wish I could now go back to that state, go for more walks and enjoy my working legs. I definitely took this for granted, constantly feeling inadequate because my health was not as good as “before” my surgeries.
It was such a blow to admit that I had gone downhill again, and even more of a blow to re-do all the hospital yucky tests to try and work out what’s wrong – all to no avail (yet).
A wee email from a close friend reminded me that it is a good thing to have got sick where there is specialist medical advice available, where I have a team who are trying to get to the bottom of this, and understand more about my condition. In my short one-week stay, I had the whole shebang of tests – numerous MRI’s, CTs and X-rays. But I am genuinely SO thankful to the lovely doctors who advocated for me, and it will be an interesting next couple of weeks as I meet the next round of specialists, and make a plan of where to from here.
Being back in hospital has reminded me to cherish every day. I admit I say this from my bed, when I haven’t managed to get out of the house for 48 hours… but hey-ho, I am enjoying my quiet bed and thinking/praying space.
After sharing a room with two dementia patients, I know I can not even take my sanity (although sometimes questionable) for granted, and to remember that I have a memory, and I am able to voice my opinions. I have to remember it is a miracle I can still walk. I have to remember it is amazing that I have such an abundant life with so many wonderful friends. I have to remember that my family and greater support network are there for me no matter what. And really – that is all that matters for me to continue to live in this world – the rest is up to God.
Thank you to all of those who sent me messages, came to visit, prayed for me and cheered me up over the last wee while – I know that my journey still has a long way to go and I am happy that I get to share that with the ones I love the most.
Until next time,