You can guess from the title of this post what I’m about to say. For those of you who read my previous post, you will know that through my entire day of panic revision yesterday, my heart started to completely freak out. It is being particularly problematic at the moment due to an old problem we thought we fixed at the end of last year. But it did things that were far beyond its new normal. It’s beat was far more irregular, the palpitations were different and taking my breath away and making me almost pass out even if I was in bed. It wasn’t my heart’s fault. Turns out it was simply protesting.
I settled down to continue my panic revision at 2am and my heart went off on one big time. I suddenly hardly had the energy to move. I couldn’t breathe. I decided it was my heart being super grumpy because these symptoms (although not that extreme) were nothing new and that I’d just sleep it off. It was then that I accidentally (I was trying to test for something else and used the wrong equipment) checked the levels of some pretty nasty chemicals in my blood. Normal levels of these chemicals are below 0.6. High is 1.5. A medical emergency is 3.0, at which point these nasty little things are at such levels that your blood becomes acidic and the rest of your body sort of goes into meltdown because it can’t function under those conditions. My levels? 7.8. Oh. No.
My initial thought was – no hospitals. I have an exam in 8 hours, being in ICU for this is not an extenuating circumstance, and I am not getting 0% on this exam after all of this panic. My second thought was. The lift is broken (I’m being serious, it broke a couple of hours before I decided to open an exam paper and realised my revision was pointless because I couldn’t label a single image – it has not been a good night). How are paramedics going to get up here even if I call them. My third thought was – oh crap, I should probably call an ambulance. This situation, with way lower readings than this, has put me in ICU on multiple occasions. I really don’t feel good, and this time the whole thing is complicated by my heart… Here it goes again. (to be honest the effect on my already unhappy heart is currently alarming me the most) Fourth thought – so this is why my heart is losing its mind. Thank goodness. I thought I was going to have to phone up and ask for the surgery I said no to. Fifth thought, still completely calm, I have the medication I need to fix this, I just have to construct an IV giving set somehow…
I got up. I immediately fell down. I heaved myself onto my hands and knees, shaking like a newborn giraffe taking its own weight for the first time. I found a needle long enough. And I did what the situation required me to do, determined to avoid hospitals at all costs. I laid on the floor. I messaged my friends hoping someone would be awake. I made it to the bed as one of them called me. Sixth thought help me, I feel like I’m dying. Oh wait, I’m in the middle of a medical emergency. But I knew this one was coming for me, have done for months, and I was stupid enough to forget about it.
“I’m fixing it. It will be fine” I told her. No it won’t, my logical brain told the irrational parts of itself. You have an exam in less than eight hours. The reason none of your revision was sticking was because your body was successfully attempting to kill you and you’ve felt so unwell for so long that you didn’t know. What if you hadn’t accidentally taken that reading? What if you’d just gone to sleep?
“I’m not calling an ambulance, I’m sitting that exam. I’ve been in this situation before, it’s fine” It is so. Not. Fine
“Your health is more important than a stupid exam.” My life is this degree. This degree depends on that exam. They told me to take a year out from it and they will not get the satisfaction of getting to tell me that they told me so. My body will not get the satisfaction of stopping me again. The university can’t know. They don’t even know about the heart stuff. They will never let me sit my exam, and the hospital won’t let me leave in 8 hours. I have to fix this by myself. I’ve been left to deal with everything else alone, and I’m just going to have to deal with it.
“I’m sitting the exam.” Images of everyone who doubted my capabilities flashed through my mind as my heart did its thing again. “I’ll email someone from the team that deal with this” And they won’t see it for about six hours. If you didn’t fix this, you can’t actually wait that long.
If I can think clearly when I go into that exam room it will be a miracle. If I can make it there it is the achievement of my year. Not a lot of people can say that on the day of their exam they were in a medical emergency at 2am (probably because most people aren’t this stupid). I’m sat writing this to try and distract myself from the fact that my heart is seriously, seriously unhappy. If I walked into a hospital now they’d take me into resus. If I called an ambulance and let them check me out they would use blue lights. I can’t deal with being in hospital again. Not right now. I can’t deal with anything right now.
I feel less awful about the fact that my revision just wasn’t sticking in my brain. And I’m terrified of my body right now. Absolutely terrified. The university have no idea about any of it. It kind of makes me smile really. Turns out there’s a very large part of me that is still willing to put up a fight. It’s a shame I had to almost die, alone, in my room in university halls, before I realised that I am made of stronger stuff than I thought.
I will stay sat here, feeling like death (because I am still rather too close to it), too scared to sleep, in this same room, by myself, with my heart doing things that I should probably call an ambulance about, waiting tentatively to see if I have got this under control. I shouldn’t be with it enough to write this right now. But I seem to always defy the odds against me. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since starting this degree, it’s that where there’s a will, there’s a way (I really hope there is this time),
I’m failing an exam in 6 hours and 40 minutes. And I’ll never have felt such accomplishment in failure. Because just in being there, I’ll have triumphed over so many things – obstacles far greater than a few pages of histology questions.
Probably will call someone now. Do feel sort of like consciousness may not last long… Yeah. Wow. I’ll let you know how this works out.