I sat there last night, my bags packed, with an all too familiar feeling brewing inside of me. It’s coming again. It wiped me out and left me laying in the bed and all I could think was not now, wait a week. Just a week. Let me live a little before you wreck everything again. Who knows if it will listen? I do. I know it probably won’t. My health (or lack of it) has slipped and it has slipped too far. Maybe I can hold it off for a few days. Can I do that to my friends? Can I let them watch this happen again? Can I let anyone watch this happen again? No, I can’t. And yet… I have no choice. There is no way but through this, and I will drag all of them with me because they anchored themselves into my life with the concern they throw in my direction. That is the hardest part – not the fall, not the fight, but the fact that people who are not part of this body will also suffer because of its inability to human.
As usual, I wanted to distance myself from everyone and everything as far and as fast as possible, so that when the grenade of the impending medical emergency (ok it wasn’t impending, I was very much in the start of it) went off, the only person who had to get hurt by it was me. This overwhelming and instinctive desire to shield/ save/ protect everyone I know from having to worry about me for even a second completely took over. But there was nowhere to go. There was no way but through. And, when the time comes that I can’t hold back the flood any more, when my body cannot compensate and push through something that quite frankly would bring a healthy person to their knees a little… Well then I am incredibly ashamed to say that whoever happens to be with me at the time, is going to have to go through it with me. And the awful thing is, although I hate to see the worry on their faces, hate to hear how frightened they were and the memories they retain from it all… At the same time, I hate going through it alone, which is selfish. I wish there was someone who wouldn’t feel. I wish there was someone who didn’t care that could just stay and talk and talk and talk even though I know I wouldn’t be able to answer.
I felt lousy and every part of me wanted to sleep, but it wasn’t the time for sleep. It was the time to hit a vein with a needle that wasn’t designed to hit a vein, and give myself a tiny shot of medication directly into my bloodstream – something that is far too dangerous for me to do at home (hence the lack of a suitable needle) but that was entirely necessary in order to remain at home. My dog found me. We curled up together. I went to sleep, telling myself it would be alright. But I already knew. I already know and I am so out of control and I am so helpless and yet… Not scared. I am focussing on this holiday. After the behaviour of the staff member who inspired the story I wrote for The Mighty, I am even more reluctant than normal to go to hospital. I am even more desperate to pretend that this will all be ok until it isn’t possible any more.
I was surprised at how quickly everything came on, but I don’t notice the warning signs now because I am always on the brink of this emergency and so the warning signs are my normality. I get the notification a little too late. I get the notification when I should be in a hospital safely attached to a few IVs… Except hospitals do not feel safe. Traumatic experiences on paediatric wards led to the flashbacks and nightmares I experience more frequently during and right after admissions, which make hospital feel the furthest thing from safe. When I enter the building and the smell hits me, it usually triggers a flashback. Some sounds do the same. The sensation of doctors trying to get a needle in my vein occasionally also triggers one. I shake. I am constantly on edge. I experience a terror unlike anything I could describe. I am almost physically sick. Sometimes I wake up crying having kicked the blankets onto the floor, and when a nurse tries to calm me down I see the uniform and my nightmare is suddenly reality and I lose it for a minute or two.
Things are going so well right now… Please not now… I already just found a new thing, can you just give me this one week? Please just back off and stop hurting the people I care about… I wanted to shield everyone from myself, from my health. I wanted a blast proof door to shut them all behind, and there wasn’t one.
So I did the only thing that I could think to do. I went on the group chat for this Norfolk trip, and I told everyone that something is very likely to go wrong. I asked them if they were sure they still wanted me to go along, knowing that I was very likely to end up in hospital. I tried to back out, to save them from the worry and the fuss. I said I completely understood if they didn’t want me to go with them because I would hate myself for ruining their experience and I didn’t want to go all Miley Cyrus and enter into their holiday like a wrecking ball. I told them the truth – that I would rather they could have a good time, and that they mattered more to me than I do (which is true) so whatever was better for them was ok with me.
The instant response from my fellow third wheel (because referring to him as the guy I used to fancy is totally cringe) who happens to have chronic fatigue syndrome among other stuff, and therefore totally understands the whole body being a poop thing: “Ofc it’s fine you goof! If something happens, it happens and we can deal with it!! If you go to hospital I’ll come too…” etc. etc. The conversation that followed was completely awesome and I was lost for words because I was feeling all the feels. He said he was glad to have a fellow broken person (although he got worried I would take offence because he said I was more broken), and I admitted that I was glad of the same thing too, and then we decided that we preferred the word awesome to broken… He wasn’t worried or phased by the fact that I was telling him I sensed something disastrous was going to happen soon, and when I tried to back out of going he just patiently and persistently reassured me until I no longer felt guilty about my attendance (and then celebrated his achievement. No frustration, just empathy and kind stubbornness).
Then sixth form friend joined in with making me feel all the feels. They said if I ended up in hospital at any point, they would all be there, they’d stay with me all night, they’d take it in turns to be with me… Of course I’d never let them do any of that, but I aborted the alternate plan I’d been compiling in my brain (I was going to tell my parents I was going to Norfolk, and tell my friends I wasn’t allowed to go to Norfolk, then book myself into a cheap hotel somewhere near here so I could malfunction with nobody knowing and hopefully just sort of get a taxi back to here a few days later with nobody being bothered).
I changed the conversation to point out that hopefully none of us would have any reason to go anywhere near the hell that is a hospital, and that instead we’d have an awesome time on the beach and stuff. The diversion worked. I hope it’s what actually happens. I can save this.
They are getting here to pick me up soon (and in true student fashion I’ve spent the past hour completing the logo for my t-shirt shop and designing the website… Which was not the plan!). I’ve no idea what I’ve packed, I just grabbed everything. Pretty sure I’ve probably accidentally packed my dog or my little brother or something utterly ridiculous. But I definitely have my smile.
Anyway. Somehow this will be ok. I need this holiday. I need to be around these people for five days. My fellow third wheel has made a playlist with over 720 songs for the journey there and back. It will be ok. It will be beyond ok. There will be no hospitals. I will fix it.
Another friend (the one I am going to Edinburgh with) also messaged me last night and made me feel all the feels.
They all refused to go anywhere. For their own sakes I wish they would. For my own sake, I am incredibly glad (and surprised, and shocked, and confused as to why) they refuse to distance themselves from such a… Pain in the butt.
No way but through.