“Not at all! Why are you the one apologising? I’m sorry for hurting you.”
“It isn’t your fault”
“Neither is it yours.” He shakes his head and let’s out a breath I didn’t know he’d been holding in, “I think I’m going to admit defeat, your heart isn’t filling these veins enough for me to bleed them. How do you feel about your artery?”
He means my radial artery, and I would really rather he didn’t stab it, especially as it is still bruised and marked from similar events last weekend. I sigh to myself and place my right hand in his. He’s young, kind of attractive, and he’s about to stab me again.
“Nope.” He sighs and shakes his head again, “I’m seriously impressed with whoever got that line in you.”
“Stop.” I say as he continues to wiggle the needle around, “that’s a painful place to be doing that” And then as the needle is almost out, a teeny tiny, slow trickle of blood enters the syringe. As I watch the blood stop running into the clear plastic syringe, I notice that his hands are now shaking. That is all he can get from my artery – not even enough to run through a blood gas machine.
“Sorry for being such a wimp.” My guilt is genuine
“Seriously?” He looks up at me, eyebrows raised in surprise, “Honestly you weren’t a wimp at all; most older adult men wouldn’t have put up for half of that for half as long as you just did… Not that you aren’t an adult… You didn’t make a sound, you didn’t flinch, you really weren’t a wimp at all”
“Sorry for all the bother”
“It really isn’t your fault. I’m sorry I stabbed you so many times”
He’s there because of the chest pain, because suddenly I can’t breathe or lay flat. I’m freezing cold yet drenched in sweat. I’m pale. My blood pressure is low and I’m so dizzy I don’t know what to do with myself. My heart rate has slowed, but my blood pressure is on the floor and clearly my heart has upset itself. The crushing pain starts in the centre of my chest but something else in my jaw and neck and shoulder soon joins it and runs down my left arm. I have pins and needles in my extremities and lips. I feel lousy, and I can hardly keep my eyes open, yet no position is comfortable enough for sleep. Before he leaves the room I ask
“Can I have some painkillers please?” It hurts. It hurts more than I thought it could. It hurts and I can’t handle it.
Physical pain is not something I allow myself to acknowledge often. I can zone it out, I learn to cope with it, it reminds me I’m still alive enough to feel. I walked around with a broken arm for three weeks before, and for 10 days the time before that. My pain threshold tends to be a little ridiculous, and so I generally tend to avoid taking tablets for pain unless it is stopping me functioning (thankfully rare, usually after surgery)… Or I have an exam.
I admitted defeat and gratefully accepted the morphine he prescribed (which should tell you how uncomfortable I was finding the sensation in my chest). It made me high as a kite, as I discovered when I woke up later that afternoon to discover I had messaged various people asking them to get rid of my pink pyjama trousers before they turned me into a worm; explaining my outrage at the clock for moving its hands (having named it Nigel and then diagnosing to with ADHD because it couldn’t stay still), genuinely asking future flat mate “what am I?” (Clearly in a panic as it was all in capitals), deciding that I wanted to be a hippo instead of a human, asking multiple people who the sky was, and other stuff that made me laugh when I read it back in a normal state, so much that I cried.
Unfortunately, normal me had another thought aside from “When did I write this? it’s comedy gold.”… And that was “Ouch. My chest hurts. Please somebody make it stop” More morphine occurred. The pain remained, I was just too drugged to be bothered by its presence any more. I managed to sleep until it wore off again. When I woke I knew it wouldn’t be long before it returned – sitting up, standing up, walking to the bathroom which is only a metre or so from the end of the bed… It all makes me feel like someone’s dropped a lead weight on my chest.
A comment or two on one of yesterday’s blog posts lifted my mood before and after the second round of morphine. I guess in a way it was kind of like emotional morphine – it numbed the feelings of insignificance and isolation that my rational thoughts had become tangled in. I smiled a little because I couldn’t help it. It reminded me that there’s hope for humanity yet, and that becoming a hippopotamus was probably not necessary (I was clearly still drugged during this thought process). To the person who did that – thanks. Instead of me writing my way out of a rut alone, every like and comment on these posts really helps to pull me out of the rut I’m stuck in and make me feel a little better about myself – so thanks for that too.
I’m still stupidly hopeful that my heart may fix itself enough for me to leave this coronary care unit (basically ICU for heart patients only) at some point today, and that I will be able to sit (and, due to a complete lack of any revision, fail) my exam on Tuesday morning. That’s all I’d like. It’s still strangely all I’m bothered about. It currently matters more. I’m going to contact the university and see if there’s any way around the issue if I can’t make it there; I’m not so hopeful about that, I don’t really feel very supported there at all and I got so worked up at the thought of being let down again that I started shaking just drafting the email yesterday night.
Anyway, I don’t really know what the point of this post was, possibly to alleviate boredom or distract my mind from other things, so I’m sorry if it wasn’t good to read. Thank you for making it this far.