The overwhelming clinical smell hits me as soon as I walk in. Shaking. Sweating. I’m by myself as I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, which means there’s no one to tell me to stay. The momentary panic of should I run away? Just jump on a plane and forget the fact that surely my body can’t be doing this again. Surely the pain is in my head this time, that I’m imagining it. That this will go away if I run. But that’s what I always do. And then I’m snapped out of my brain fog by the lady at reception asking me for my name and I automatically give her my NHS number.
Like in a prison you are a number here. “Bed 23 needs pain relief” For some reason I can’t help feeling dehumanized. I know deep down that it would be impossible for every nurse to learn your name. Sometimes they don’t even introduce themselves, as if they don’t value themselves either. Or maybe they’re just too busy. But I can’t help feel guilty that I’m in here making their work harder than it should be. If only I was text book.
I realize this is not going to be fixed in a and e and my husband texts me to encourage me to tell my family and close friends. But it takes me 3 hours to type a message. What do I say? How do I say it in a way that doesn’t worry people. If only I wasn’t this confused from having 5 people tell me opposite things in one night. I don’t want to cause confusion. I don’t want to be here. I want to go home. But the pain. The sickness. It paralyses my body once again.
Each day passes so slowly, it’s been over a week now. Every time they say “one more night” I feel like pulling my hair out. Or just sleeping and not waking until it’s over. Sometimes I curl into a ball and cry, but this hurts my neck more. I know I shouldnt wish my life away. And I know the multiple teams are trying to help me. But the waiting and miscommunication makes me feel insane.
Close family and friends also start to ask questions. Am I making it worse than it seems on purpose? Am I making things more complicated than they are? Yes, in fact I am loosing the plot. And yes, I will see a therapist as there’s multiple issues to work through, but there is so much going on behind closed doors that you’ll never understand. You can never judge someone’s story without knowing the background, and if my wall is up, I’m not ready to bring down. However, I am not making this up. I am not trying to worry you. I am trying to relay the confusing information I’m given as clearly as I can. How can I make things make sense when you literally have one person telling you you can go home and writing a discharge summary, then that person’s boss saying they need more scans. When you can feel and see a painful lump that was not there a few days ago.
It’s hard to believe that this was once the reality of my life. Living in a soul sucking place like this for almost 4 years. I try not to remember the trauma I experienced in those years at hospital. I try to just cling to the memories I made with my supportive friends. But some trauma is irreversible. You cannot unsee or unfeel certain things that happen. So I’ve filed them away and tried to mentally block them out. And this adds to my now not stable mental state. I know I need to work through it, but it’s so hard. That monotonous beep reminds you. Even in a rare moment of silence the continuous beeping goes on in your head. And he emergency Bells. The screams. The pain. Flash backs. Nightmares. They’re all a reality. Is this me loosing my mind?
There are no clocks so time just fades away. It either ticks away so slowly, or it’s the end of the day before you know it. Visitors are restricted to come in only on the afternoons. And yet I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I have friends and family who love me, surround me, and pray for me. Who bring me chicken nuggets because it’s the only thing I fancy eating. And most importantly I serve an almighty God who has a greater plan for me. This is temporary. I will get through this. I know good will come out of this. I am not alone.