Ants and Crumbs

Within a few seconds of being awake this morning I managed to smash a glass (I still have no idea what even happened). I decided I wasn’t ready to Monday yet, and pulled the covers over my head. When I eventually emerged, stepping over the crime scene, I made my way into my shoebox of a bathroom to discover that my shower had two temperature settings – lava and glacial runoff. There was, for some reason, no in-between. I emerged, my skin burning and my body shivering all at the same time, to discover that my laptop had been ‘charging’ all night from an extension lead that wasn’t properly plugged into the socket. I took great pleasure in hitting the plug (a little harder than necessary) until the charging light came on, praying that my laptop would be charged in time for my lecture in an hour’s time.

I sat on my bed, did my injections and successfully managed to take all of my tablets, until I got to the last (and probably most foul tasting) one, at which point my throat decided it didn’t want to take any more tablets, and I choked. This was ironic, as the only reason I had to take an additional two tablets was because the mother of all throat infections has come back from the dead to haunt me (I started to feel unwell a few days ago and woke up yesterday with ulcers in my throat… Again!) It turns out that my immune system is beyond rubbish at the moment, as apparently a normal human beings would not need antibiotics for such an infection… or get the same infection so soon after having it once before. With tears running down my cheeks, a foul taste in my mouth, and the mush of a dissolved tablet on my tongue, I carefully navigated the smashed glass and made my way back to the bathroom, where, after sticking my head in the sink and drinking as much water as was humanly possible, I spent a good few minutes coughing so violently that the world started to spin. I then noticed that the only functioning bathroom light was starting to flicker as its twin had done a few days before, right before it decided to burn out.

I once again decided that I wasn’t ready to Monday, and crawled back into bed… Just as the builders outside my window started work for the day. Still finding some humour in the situation, I got dressed, somehow managing to accidentally rip the dressing off of my neck in the process, which re-opened the wound that had only just started to heal. I felt unwell, I looked pretty awful, flat brother told me to go back to bed and skip my lectures today, and I quite easily could have done… But I didn’t.
I stepped out into the suddenly freezing cold October morning for a 9am lecture, wrapped up in my coat, and sat on a bench waiting for kiss friend (who was ten minutes late as usual) breathing in the refreshing air and watching everyone else hurrying about. It made me smile, the act of being normal.
I was surprised at the amount of people who had noticed my absence from lectures. And I only know that my absence was noted because people made such a big deal about me being back. I was asked how I was many, many times. In the end I went back to the default ‘fine thanks’ – the most common lie ever told.
Between my first lecture and my second lecture I had two hours to kill. I returned to my flat and decided I would cook myself some pasta. I opened the door to my room and couldn’t even deal with the chaos that met my eyes – my suitcase from the weekend was open and my clean washing was full of pieces of the smashed glass which is still all over the carpet (because I still can’t be dealing with that), somehow there were empty bottles in the laundry basket and laundry all over my bed (clearly I must have been looking for something this morning) and I had forgotten to leave my bathroom door open after my shower, so, in the absence of an extractor fan, everything in my bathroom was not just damp, but coated in a film of water droplets. I grabbed the necessary ingredients to make a quick creamy pesto sauce and shut the door on the chaos (which is still there, because I am hiding in the kitchen instead of dealing with it).
After my second lecture, I felt so awful that I came back to my flat and drowned my throat in hot drinks while I sat shivering (and ate pizza, because pizza fixes Mondays right?). I had a headache and freaked out a little because last time I had a sore throat it led to the worst headache I’ve ever had. Instead of continuing to overthink life, I decided I would try and study, so set up a little study station at the kitchen table. Gravity pulled pretty much everything I tried to carry out of my hands and onto the floor. Eventually, after the third time of picking up my folder, I just left it on the floor, swept everything else out of the way, and went to sleep, using my arm as a pillow.
When everyone else came into the kitchen I woke up and checked my emails… To be reminded that I had arranged a meeting with my personal tutor at half past one (by that point it was twenty to three) I sent a very apologetic email to excuse my rudeness, and then spent the next few minutes cursing Monday, which didn’t actually do anything, but made me feel better all the same.
I logged into online banking to see the damage that the giant food shop I did at the weekend had done to my finances. I say ‘logged in’ as if it was a simple process. It wasn’t. Things I didn’t even know could go wrong went wrong. I ventured back into my crime scene of a room to find the necessary paperwork, and in doing so managed to somehow make even more of a mess. I was very close to giving up on Monday at this point. And then I realised that my bank balance didn’t even take into account the food shop… Or the tickets to a science themed open mic night that I bought today (I wanted something to look forward to) And then I realised that it probably wasn’t the smartest idea to buy a smoothie maker just yet (my throat does not approve of solid food, and a very awesome person sent me a student cookbook with a load of smoothie recipes in it) so I will just have to eat mashed banana, because there has been an ulcer explosion in my throat. They. Are. Everywhere.
This is literally exactly how everything happened before, but I’m not as scared as I should be. When I found out the infection was back I was so scared that I cried, but I figured that I survived everything it had to throw at me before… which is actually a very dangerous attitude to have. From our flat we can see the hospital where I ended up. On top of that hospital sits the London Air Ambulance, because that’s where it is based. Every time it takes off (which is usually at least twice a day) I am reminded of the fragility of life. And not so long ago I was faced once again with the fragility of my own.
I tried to fill out an important piece of online documentation for university, and the website decided to delete everything I’d written when I clicked ‘submit’. I burned myself on a glass of hot drink (yes I used a glass, my brain still can’t quite human properly) The hospital I am currently sat looking at sent me a letter with a date for my procedure (I really got quite messed up the other week) but I can’t even deal with the thought of hospitals right now, let alone having someone poking around in my insides again… Nope.
I left it too late to go shopping, ate three small baked potatoes for dinner (which I burnt myself on AGAIN) and then found out that the lift to our floor is broken. We live on the fourth floor… I cannot climb that many stairs. Therefore, after lectures tomorrow, I may be stranded.
There were so many times today when teeny tiny things made me want to burst into tears. The first few I laughed off, but one after another they took their toll. They were small, mundane things… And yet they got to me a lot. So many times today I said two words. Those two words were “I’m done”. I was tired, I didn’t feel well, the pain in my throat was increasing, as was my fever and my irritability. I didn’t want to face the things that were going wrong, which is why there is still a load of smashed glass on the floor of my room as I write this. The fact is, bad days are subjective, and relative. What to you may read as a humorous or boring story of a day, or a pathetic ramble, was actually pretty rubbish for me. This time two weeks ago I was still in intensive care. How could I possibly count today as a bad day when such a short while ago I was having a far worse one? Because today isn’t two weeks ago. Minds are dynamic – they are constantly changing and constantly adapting. What one day would be insignificant, a few days later can mean the world. What a few days ago we might have been able to laugh off, a few days later can make us want to cry. Life rarely makes sense. Emotions are illogical, nonsensical things. They are rarely proportional to the things that trigger them.
Today wasn’t a bad day. It wasn’t the best, but I’m sat in the kitchen with my flatmates right now listening to stories about their cats. I made it to lectures for the first time in… 2 weeks? My absence in lectures was noted. My sore throat is currently just that. At the moment I can still just about eat food. There are no problems in my life that can’t be fixed (if you forget the health problems, which are just a normal part of who I am). When I started this post I didn’t think it would end this way. I didn’t feel like drawing this conclusion, I was actually just thinking “what is life?!” but now that Monday has backed off a bit, I’ve had some time to untangle this mess.
Just remember this:
What seems like a crumb to you is a boulder to an ant. And the fact that crumb is such a huge deal to that ant does not make it weak – pound for pound I’m pretty sure an ant is stronger than a human. So if someone comes to you for help sweeping aside a crumb, don’t laugh them away, or turn to show them the weight of the boulder on your back. Because, although you can’t see it, or comprehend it, they are just as close to being crushed as you are. If you know what it feels like to be judged (and if you have lived through your teenaged years then you must!) don’t let yourself put someone else in that situation. People often only let you see the tip of the ice cube
I’ve moved boulders for a long time. Today I may have swapped the boulders for crumbs, but the combined weight of the two was a lot to deal with.

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