Major Minor Victories

It has just occurred to me that my exams start in just over a week, and not only am I completely underprepared for this intellectually (revision was more a firework than a steady flame), but I also have no idea where they actually are. Obviously on campus (one of the few I have to choose from) somewhere… But due to my unique circumstances and allowance of extra time and a laptop, I am not seated with everyone else. Also due to my unique health circumstances, I may never end up seated in front of an exam paper at all (but I’m not letting myself acknowledge that thought for any longer than it takes to type it out).

Yes, today my brain decided to start thinking about the sort of things that healthy people worry about. After a sleepless night of fighting for breath, and eventually arranging the pillows so that I was sitting bolt upright, I was incredibly relieved to have not ended up in the emergency department of a hospital. My heart was beating a little slower this morning, but still fast enough to limit my activity levels. That didn’t matter though. It was an improvement, so I was happy. While I could actually walk, I took advantage of the situation. I grabbed the fluffiest blanket in the house, burrowed into its warmth, and began making revision notes on the histology of the colon (of all places to start the day). It was not long before I hated the large intestine. I felt demoralised that I was so far behind with revision, but I smiled, because the words I wrote were the result of a determination that I didn’t know I had.

I fell asleep goodness knows how many times. I tried to eat things goodness knows how many times (for those of you who know me, you will be aware that at all times I am either eating, about to eat, just finished eating, or thinking/ talking about food. Any less than a meal for two is simply a snack.) I raided my favourite foods from the fridge at various points throughout the day, managed a few bites, and then either fell asleep, ran out of energy to eat any more, or ‘accidentally’ fed the remainder to the dog. A lot of food was wasted. So I gave up trying to eat and went back to revision. I wanted to be the person that I expect myself to be. That person only seems to exist in my dreams, which is good, because I fell asleep again.

I woke feeling like half a person, let alone half the person I hope to be. Even so, I picked up the pen, opened my textbook (histology of the liver this time) and began to write again. In a way, I revised to stop myself thinking about the appointment yesterday afternoon;. I wanted to distract myself from that reality and wrap myself in something that demanded all of my attention, so none of it was left to drift to the places that I’m not strong enough to go right now.

Today I stayed in my pyjamas because getting changed was too much effort. People’s response to me was “You look awful!” or “Should you be in a hospital?” (Probably? Maybe? But it isn’t going to happen unless I’m actually dying). But last night I was so, so much worse (enough to actually consider going to hospital). So, in comparison, today I’m brilliant. And I didn’t see that coming. On the grand scheme of things I failed a lot. If you look back at the last few weeks you might argue that I failed at everything I aimed to achieve in terms of revision and… Many other areas. But today was filled with minor victories. And in my state, they became major victories.


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