Sometimes the best made plans fall apart for reasons we could not have foreseen or could not control. A three day hospital admission (the absolute shortest amount of time I could negotiate) turned out to be one of those plans. My body was grateful of the assistance it received, but emotionally I completely fell apart. Think what you want of me. But maybe first hear me out. Because our failures don’t always mean that we haven’t succeeded at something. Defeat doesn’t always mean that we haven’t won (many battles make a war). We all break, but that doesn’t mean that we are beyond repair.
I am not brave or strong (far from either, in fact) like some of the ill people you see on TV or read about in papers. I haven’t done anything amazing with my life (right now I’d settle for doing something mediocre with it). Today I completely broke down, but learned how to rebuild myself just enough to function again.
I don’t like hospitals. I’ve spent too much time in them and I avoid them at all costs (until I am on the brink of a medical emergency, as I was today) Previous traumatic experiences have left me terrified of doctors. And yet this morning I voluntarily entered a hospital. Because I knew my body couldn’t carry on. But I had no idea how much I would freak out. I don’t think anybody did. Nothing is ever straight forward with me, my body doesn’t like to cooperate with the people that are trying to fix it, and I ended up with three doctors around me trying to get a line in. Eventually they succeeded, after poking me with needles with the assistance of an ultrasound machine. But it brought everything back. And I was reduced to a shaking, crying mess.
I was holding it together until a nurse asked how I was, and then the flood gates of my eyes opened and tears streamed down my cheeks. Just a few. And then a few minutes later a few more. And then a steady stream for half an hour. I don’t normally cry. My brain associates a strange sort of shame with crying. We don’t like to display our weaknesses publicly. But I had no control over whether I cried or not. I couldn’t stop. I apologised profusely to everyone around me, but they seemed to think crying was ok in my situation. It wasn’t ok. I didn’t like feeling so out of control of my emotions, but they rule us. Do any of us really control how we feel? Or do we just get lucky?
They started me on some IV medications. I’ve been in this situation so many times before, yet my brain only remembers the bad ones. I was by myself, and the panic inside of me began to snowball. I managed to get a grip until my consultant walked in to see me, and then I cried again. A lot. And apologised for crying. A lot.
And that was when she explained to me why I’ve been feeling so unwell, how my body has been so exhausted because there is ‘no fuel’ for my muscles to generate the energy they need to work… So they just haven’t been. The cramps I’ve been getting are because my electrolytes are all messed up. Both of these things upset my already grumpy heart. She wanted me to stay, she wanted to fix me, she gave me all the what ifs, the ‘if I let you home you will feel the same again’ speech. But the longer she sat with me freaking out and crying at her, the more she began to understand that we had to choose between my physical health and my emotional health. The two are inextricably and inevitably linked, and people forget that.
I didn’t know how to deal with being in a hospital (I usually have a mini meltdown, nothing as extreme as today). I didn’t know how to deal with the crying and the emotions that I couldn’t control. She kept trying to find compromises but eventually realised that keeping me in a situation like that was going to ruin both me and my extremely exhausted body. So I agreed to wait until the doctors have stabilised me, not back to perfection, because my body will never sit there, but until my bloods are much closer to normal, and then I can leave. (Things are currently going in the opposite direction but I’m determined to be free by tonight) It isn’t recommended, it isn’t ideal, and it isn’t what we planned. My emotions have forced us to change our goals.
So I haven’t achieved what I came here to achieve. But walking into this building was in itself an achievement. I found and breached my breaking point (well, I had a complete meltdown) but in a weird way I’m very glad that I did. I made a decision that wasn’t easy, a decision to walk away from help, but a decision that prevented me from having a complete breakdown and is for that reason (as all of us have agreed) the right thing to do (I’m currently still here hooked up to some IVs but that’s besides the point)
I’m embarrassed by my behaviour. I’m ashamed by how pathetic I was. I feel guilty for messing people around. I feel like I let them down. But they don’t seem to understand why. We are creatures of guilt and pride. We strive to make each other proud and we feel guilty when we think we have failed. In truth the only person I let down today was myself. But I saved myself too.
We’ve already started conversations about yet another admission at another hospital after I get back from holiday, and I still have to go and let a cardiologist poke my heart as soon as he has a free space. Hopefully between now and then I will figure out how to be brave (or at least how not to completely freak out)
Step 12 to getting out of a rut in life:
It is ok to crumble, but you can salvage something from the ruins of your success.
And these are the things I have salvaged from the wreckage of today:
I’m still pretty ill but I’m better than I was this morning
I’m still in hospital being pumped full of IVs but I’m leaving before tonight
My phone is dying but I remembered the charger
They served this horror for dinner (I still have no idea what it is, it smelled like feet) but I had my own food to eat instead.
Some very awesome people were at the other end of the phone to help me through today (you know who you all are, thank you so much)
Also, I GET TO SEE MY DOG AGAIN!