The time has come to fight again. I am not disheartened, but in this state, still wearing the wounds from last time, there is not much energy to fight as hard as I am going to have to. The grim reaper, you see, is a persistent individual – a persistent individual who seems rather besotted with me. He will not take no for an answer, he is coming back for another attempt and I can feel it. I can feel it, and I am trying to prepare myself for the unpleasantness to come. I know this body, I’ve learned the patterns of its deteriorations… I know what comes next.
It started a couple of days ago, but denial consumed any rational reaction. Slowly, I battled to fix the situation, unaware of what it actually was (I still genuinely have no idea which health hiccup is causing this). I slept my days away – an involuntary, irrational sleep that did not leave me any less tired than before it had occurred. I was cold all the time no matter how many layers I wore. My energy levels were low, even for me. Physically, I felt like death. Breathing became too much of an effort. I could hardly move. My skin is now greyish, my eyes have sunk back into their sockets, almost cowering away from the reality that all of this means. I haven’t eaten since yesterday because it uses so much energy that it has become physically impossible. Even drinking is almost impossible. A couple of gulps of water and I’m so exhausted and out of breath that I don’t know what to do. I have been on the edge. And today I realised that I no longer am.
Yesterday one of my old friends from sixth form met up with me. I went to stay with him at his uni in January, gave him advice about the girl who is now his girlfriend, and when I was still in school and things kicked off at home, he’d drive to pick me up at midnight and take me to get food or whatever. Yesterday, he picked me up and we drove around a bit before his girlfriend joined us. Neither of them had any idea how unwell I was, and I wasn’t going to tell them. I realised I could control, for that occasion at least, what they thought of me. I didn’t want to be judged. I was willing to run my body into the ground just to maintain that sense of normality. He had no idea how bad things had been, we hadn’t properly talked for a couple of months. His girlfriend had never met me before (but after an hour of talking and laughing, we felt like we’d known each other for ages), so as long as neither of us filled her in on everything, she wouldn’t know. It was awesome. I got to pretend to be healthy again for a bit. We grabbed some food and went back to his and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because why not?
Last summer, he’d wanted to take a group of us up to Norfolk to stay in the holiday park where his parents have a static caravan (it actually looks awesome). But the other people he invited bailed, so in the end none of us went. We were in the car driving to meet his girlfriend when he said that he was gathering a different group of people from sixth form to go in two weeks time.
“I mean I was going to ask you but are yo well enough? I mean, are you? Like… Are you well enough? Do you want to join?”
Of course I did. His girlfriend really wanted me to go along too, and I know the other guy going (I may have at one point in year 12 had a small crush on him, but still). Long story short, I’m now spending a week in Norfolk in July. No idea how I’m going to survive, or actually be well enough to go, but I’m determined, and the friend who organised it has seen me rushed off in blue light ambulances so many times he just isn’t phased by it any more.
He’s also driving his girlfriend and her friend to the beach tomorrow (something he and I used to do frequently), and I was invited along too. I didn’t want to be around people I hardly knew in Winston the wheelchair, but sixth form friend went on and on and told me it would be fine and that the wheelchair just made me more awesome and that everybody loved me and wouldn’t care and it would be cool. I freaked out over and over trying to find excuses not to go, and he patiently reassured me for even longer until eventually I was sold on the idea.
Yesterday night I felt 20 again, and it was like old times. Nobody even knew about the current state of my health (they probably did, because I also looked alarmingly unwell). Sixth form friend obviously knew about the health hiccups, but not about the recent deterioration. He’s known me through some rubbish. This time last year, when I ended up unable to go anywhere and was really down in the dumps, he drove to my house every morning just to give me a reason to wake up, and to try and get things feeling normal, and he’d drive me all over just to make me feel less alone. He didn’t even really know me at that point, he just couldn’t stand the thought of me laying in bed home alone wishing I could go out. He took me and Winston and a couple of our friends to the zoo, and then to Brighton… He isn’t scared to have me about. We have a laugh. I’d missed that.
This morning has been a bit of a struggle. I went to send my consultant the email that I had drafted in the notes section of my phone, only to discover that my phone has deleted ALL OF THE NOTES (a lot of which were poems I had written). I passed out in the shower. I passed out when I got out of the shower. I am so dizzy I can hardly function and I look even more alarmingly like death. I’m basically a beached dolphin on the sofa, but my dog knows I am unwell and even got in the shower and nudged me over and over until I came round. I will probably end up in a hospital sometime soon. I can’t really breathe let alone function. But two of my other old friends from sixth form are almost at my house, and we are about to watch films. They don’t need to know I’m at the start of a medical emergency. I will deal with it when they are gone. They also are used to calling ambulances for me if the worst comes to the worst.
Hopefully it won’t.
I can’t be bothered to not be ok right now. I just want to cling onto the good times, the old times, a slice of the awesomeness I thought I had left behind.