It feels so long ago now, like another time almost. A surreal dream that begins to fade from memory. It's hard to revisit this period; the nightmarish paradox of receiving a life saving treatment that could kill you. Except it was not long ago at all as my physical limitations like to remind me!
It wasn't until the day before I was to head back in that it hit me hard. I had been living the last few weeks as though they were to be my last. Last time I’d see my cat, my house, my everything. I'm no stranger to anxiety, but the countdown to going in to the ward I knew far too well was a living hell. I don't know quite how to properly emphasize the terror I was feeling. I read somewhere that one’s priorities sharpen when in life and death situations; it was my family that kept me going. The thought of leaving them so early filled me with such intense panic and I would see the three of them at Christmas, on birthdays, just the three of them. The fourth gone.
In my less lucid moments once the pain started and during moments I thought I couldn't carry on I’d remember I was needed. As the weeks dragged on and the pain remained I found it becoming harder to think of the outside. It was too torturous, and I was jealous of everyone who wasn’t in hospital, going about their lives. So I tried not to go there.
I adopted tunnel vision and focused on those 4 walls. I tried to block out everything except little routines every day. I’d set little goals for the day each morning like have a shower before lunch, then listen to music then nap, etc. I'd rehearse what I’d tell the Dr's on their morning rounds, and resent the monotony of their questions and back tapping, usually forgetting the questions I wanted to ask. I began to hate the constant coming and going of the large volume of staff. Dr's and nurses and cleaners and food delivery. Mobile X rays, various specialists, the list goes on. God I can feel myself getting more and more depressed by revisiting it! It's one thing to get flash backs, nasty little jolts that remind you what has happened, but it feels quite another to purposely go back. I guess there’s still a lot to sort through.
It wasn't all totally bleak and I like to think that sometimes I managed to make the best of a bad situation. I was grateful for the showers; so much nicer than mine. I looked forward to my favorite nurses coming in and having a laugh with them. My family were in all the time and nothing was too much trouble to bring in. I even had a coffee machine set up! I had some great friends visit, and I had the biggest TV in the ward which meant I could escape reality quite a lot (the Friends theme song forever etched on everyone's brains).
Whatever helps you cope. Laughter helped me (yes friends STILL makes me laugh!). Plus any reality TV show you can think of, I was likely in the middle of watching. Except the cooking ones. It was a long 6 weeks till I felt fresh air again but it felt amazing.