How did I cope with not sitting my exam this morning? Surprisingly well, actually. I did the only thing that ever successfully distracts me from other stresses, and threw myself into the effort of studying (just as my heart threw itself into the effort of being a complete idiot).
During the most stressful week I’ve had over the last few months (ironically enough they think it was probably the exam stress that wrecked my physical health even more) I’ve remained oddly calm, because that’s what the situation demands. My heart is doing enough stressing for the rest of my entire body, yet I can’t find it within myself to worry about that (or to add to it).
This afternoon my blood pressure finally returned to some sort of normal range, after two days of being ridiculously low despite IVs (A fact which at times caused a ripple of panic)… My heart rate… Let’s just say if my heart was a car I would currently have a twelve month driving ban for excessive speeding. My oxygen levels also seem to fluctuate between normal and low like some sort of exotic foreign currency, but I got sick of the machine alarming, decided it was wrong, and just removed the probe (which in my mind completely solved the problem).
Other than seeing the consultant this morning and having bloods drawn (even the phlebotomist expressed her surprise at how reluctant my veins were to give up any red stuff, which was a shame because she needed 5 bottles of it) I’ve managed to avoid most medical staff apart from the CCU nurses and the specialist nurse from my endocrine team (who is trying to overcome issues complicating the management of my diabetes) for the entire day. This is reassuring. Even more reassuringly, the echo (scan of my heart) they did yesterday is no different to the one my cardiologist in London had done just before I last saw him in late April to discuss the stupidity of my heart’s reaction to general life, so I relaxed considerably at that stage.
The TV that was kidnapped from my room has finally been returned, and shortly before its reappearance, my mum popped in for 15-20 minutes with a large pizza, which the nurses were horrified to discover I ate mostly by myself… Followed by crisps… And a sandwich (my appetite has finally returned, which is further evidence that I’m getting back to normal).
The swelling in my feet and abdomen has worsened again, but the doctors are waiting for the results of a load of blood tests before they give me any medication to get rid of the extra water that’s causing it.
… For some reason they are still keeping me in the coronary care unit. And now that I feel less near death this seems entirely uneccessary and I feel like a huge bother. I have apologised profusely all day long, and been almost laughed out of the building for just as long in response. They say I’m sick and I need to be here, that doctors don’t keep people here for no reason… But I feel fine now… I am fine… Unless I stand up (I’m working on that one). I asked to go home this morning, and the consultant said “24 hours” which hopefully means I can leave tomorrow and just lay around doing nothing until I see my usual cardiologist back in London next week (I’m under the care of multiple doctors here for different because more than one thing is wrong with me, so hopefully they will all agree with this plan)
The student nurse and I have been making each other laugh all day, which along with the endless cups of (decaffinated – this is a unit for sick hearts after all) tea, and the likes and comments I’ve been getting in recent blog posts, seems to have been the medicine I’ve needed all along.
There was the occasional furrowing of a brow or two as the monitor I’m hooked up to alarmed in response to my high heart rate and/ or low oxygen levels, causing the nurses to wander in and ask if I felt ok – but I’ve felt fine. I told them the machine was lying, not me, and after some raised eyebrows and a few minutes of observation they eventually accepted that I was fine… Despite the absent P waves on my ECG trace (I’ve decided that as they have no exams they’ve gone on a bit of a lads’ holiday… P waves on tour!)
I spent most of my day playing Lego Star Wars on the cheap tablet I bought myself (as a late birthday present… during a physiology lecture), sleeping between my attempts to revise, and sending emails to various members of university staff, and an awesome human being that I met through this blog (you know who you are, thanks for everything, really)
The guy I met with from my university’s disability services somehow knew a fire alarm went off in my exam the other day, and that I’ve been using a wheelchair, and unbeknown to me had already emailed me to discuss how the university could/ should provide additional support. My gratitude was instant and overwhelming. Not only did this service not let me down when I needed support, they actually offered it, they actually cared (I don’t care that they are paid to, so is everyone else in the uni and it doesn’t seem to mean much). After re-reading the words multiple times I nearly cried with sheer relief before agreeing that yes, we should meet to discuss my support at university, but only because I didn’t feel that it had been there. He responded to apologise. I immediately decided he was a legend. It was the most helpful response I’ve received all year.
I have a feeling that things are about to change for the better, which is great, because right now they could be so much worse.
And if change isn’t on the horizon, I will just have to force it. I’m starting to find beautiful things in the mountain ranges life keeps putting in my path. For starters, I seem to have relocated my optimism among the latest cluster of jagged peaks. It’s stronger now it’s spent a few months fending for itself. It seems to be a force to be reckoned with.
(What even was this post? I don’t know. I struggled to follow it and I wrote it, but it still felt worth posting for some reason so… Here we are. When I’m feeling better – and by better I mean back to my usual level of (slightly less) awful – my posts will be too. Also yes this post has three titles, I just edited it and added another one, I should probably stop now… I’ll do that. My bloods are off the scale unreadable and I’ve persuaded everyone to stay relatively chilled out about it after their initial panic (I’m sure that’s meant to be the other way round haha), but I should still probably sleep or something… Actually no, I need to revise some more for the other exam I won’t be sitting… Ok, seriously, stopping now. Sorry)