I didn’t fix it. I realised, far too late. Oh past/present me, you idiot. Allow me to elaborate…
Due to an inability to get back up to the fourth floor to my flat with no lift, and the fact that all the materials I needed to revise for my next exam were at my family’s home in Kent, I have returned there. Winston the wheelchair, who has, I must painfully admit, been a complete lifesaver (and was actually accepted rather well by the awesome group of human beings I call my friends, and my course-mates, who didn’t bat an eyelid), was too big to fit in my mum’s tiny car, so he was abandoned at university and hauled back up four flights of stairs to my room by future flatmate (who has been nothing short of awesome).
The walk I did to get to the car was probably no longer than twenty metres, yet when I got there I was panting like I’d sprinted 400m. I’d (rather considerably) overestimated my ability to human. I don’t remember how we got home. I know I didn’t have the energy to move, or talk, or hold up my head or open my eyes. I stumbled into the house, completely out of control of my limbs, trying desperately to head in a straight line and actually barely managing to stay on my feet, which had rapidly become incredibly puffy because my heart is clearly a little bit more ruined by this ‘something else that is trying to kill me’. I fell onto the sofa, and my dog (all 34.7 kg of him) happily placed himself on my lap. I didn’t have the energy to say hello. I lay on him, and he snuggled into me, and I closed my eyes again.
I sat sticking page markers in my anatomy textbook in preparation for revision efforts instead of eating. I could barely see, I was incredibly breathless and barely had the energy even to heave air into my lungs; but again, my mind pinned a disproportionate level of importance on the degree that too many times, where people couldn’t, has saved me from myself.
I had a brief, but desperately needed shower, which actually turned out to be my first for days. I finally put on some clean clothing, even if it was pyjamas. And then I was completely wiped out. Couldn’t stand. Vision kept fading out to black. Couldn’t function. I curled up on my bed, exhausted instead of alarmed, the two final injections of the day that I was meant to do were, and still are laid out waiting to be done. At that moment (10pm) I realised I was in exactly the state I had been that morning, and the thought process replayed in the first line of this post occurred. I hadn’t fixed the medical emergency, I had dragged it out. I’d felt awful all day but less awful than nearly dead, so I’d overlooked the fact that I could drift back to that stage. I had never left that state, in fact, I’d sat an exam in it (which I am now extremely impressed with myself for doing because hey this little body is a trooper!) But the issue was still very much at risk of taking my life if I couldn’t rapidly find a way to take control of it.
And I did… Nothing. As I drifted off helplessly, I couldn’t help but feel sheer relief that finally the insomnia (that’s meant I’ve grabbed about 4 hours sleep in the 72 hours preceding this event) may end, and I might finally grab some shuteye. And as the dizzy-drunk (I was totally sober, just describing a feeling here) swirl intensified I realised with alarm,
Oh crap. This isn’t sleep. You IDIOT. No. No. No. I clawed at consciousness in a desperate panic, very aware that to lose it without injecting myself, and taking steps to at least dampen the flames of the medical emergency that would not, and still will not let me go… There might not be a tomorrow. But I couldn’t fight it. My body had already surrendered to the chaos occurring inside of it and its way of surviving it was to shut down (really, really stupid plan given the circumstances.)
When, a couple of hours later, I returned to the land of the living, I could hardly keep my eyes open (every time I move them I now see a weird flash and become insanely disorientated. Interesting development) but I did what needed to be done to continue existing for a few hours at least. I hope.
I should not have survived the 2am medical disaster that I wrote about. I should not have survived the day. I should not be here now, just about ‘with it’ enough to post (I am sure this will have multiple edits once I’m less… Acidotic). I should not have sat that histology exam – I should have called an ambulance and gone straight to a hospital, where after a few hours in resus, and possibly/ usually a central line, this would have been almost fixed by now. My bloods would have been almost back to normal. My cardiologist would be reasoning with my heart, which for the past 24 hours at least has taken a step back from being the primary health issue and given up its title for a little bit. I would probably have ended up with another HDU/ ICU admission, but I’d be safe.
I’ve completely given up with anatomy revision.At precisely the moment you read about in the first line of this post, I simply (and quite rightly) stopped caring about revision. I’m pretty confident I can pass anatomy. I’m far less confident I can stay alive, or at least out of some sort of critical care area of a hospital/ A&E department, until that exam occurs on Monday. The anatomy exam panic had officially hit, but this has been overshadowed a very primitive drive to stay alive – no emotion attached, just sheer determination.
“When your heart is broken down and your head don’t reach the sky
– take your broken wings and fly.
When your head is heavy, low, and the tears they keep falling
– take your broken feet and run.
With the world upon your shoulders, nowhere left to hide
– keep your head up carry on.
It ain’t no time to die
Even though we suffer” – Laura Mvula, Overcome
Wings flying, feet on the ground (no way I can run), so totally carrying on.
Excuse my ‘already starting to swell’ ankles. This photo was taken in front of my halls of residence while future flatmate made daisy chains and I sat in a wheelchair, typing a blog post actually (seriously, we were like a scene from a university prospectus)… Anyway, as I said,
Wings flying. Feet on the ground. So totally carrying on.