I have lost all sense of fear. This is great, because I had started to live in fear – fear of my own body, of myself, and of the future. I was pinned down by this worry that would have been unsustainable if fuel had not kept being poured onto the fire. I needed to lose that, I needed room to breathe again, to live again… But I lost all sense of fear, because my brain let everything go. Everything. I cannot care about anything, I cannot feel, it is all shut down to protect me and in place of everything I am living in a bubble of denial that is void of all feeling. I am not happy. I am not ok. I’m far from either of those things, actually. But I am lighter. I am finally free. Free to just… Be. There is nothing to hold back my unmanageable ambition. There is no fear to choke life out of wanting to run or swim or take risk after risk.
I am free to plan a future, to hope, to settle into the comfortable illusion that normality awaits me and will be arriving at any moment (forgetting that I don’t actually remember what a healthy person would call normality). I’m free to chase my dream of getting back to physical activity. I’m free to act my age (when I eventually find motivation to do anything). I’m free to run, or at least attempt to. I am free to start clutching at all the won’ts and can’ts and not with your healths. I am free from the weight of the thoughts my health forced me to run through. I am free from hospitals and IVs because the sensible, rational fear that made me seek help when I needed it is now gone. I have cancelled all my appointments with the team that want to move me to a national specialist for a treatment plan I regard as hell on earth, and I have no intention of going to any other appointments (except cardiology because hey, the guy said I can run, and he has normal conversation before heart conversations, and he actually cares about somehow moving forward so I can do more stuff with my life).
The surgery I’m due to have today is not for a major health hiccup. It is for an issue induced by an acute infection that got way out of hand because my immune system is a poop, as a result put me in hospital, upset a health hiccup that was already highly unstable and… therefore nearly killed me indirectly. I was meant to have the referral as an inpatient, but I’ve never actually been in this hospital without them screwing up (several times it has seriously endangered my life and left me far too close to the end, sometimes they just have no idea that they’ve told me to turn up for this surgery and mess up administratively… There are other major reasons I would rather not mention, but anyway, I am NOT a fan). The absence of fear is a benefit here. I have PTSD due to previous awful stuff (that shouldn’t have happened in a hospital at all but did… to me… when I was in paediatrics – bullying by staff, feeling every snip of emergency surgery for far too many seconds because they screwed up, blackmail, being technically assaulted by an unsupervised junior doctor, intimidation, and other things that are still so unspeakable and traumatic that I can’t actually even write them – I know it is pathetic, but I can’t control it). The flashbacks are triggered (in an increased frequency to usual) by hospital environments, and usually get particularly bad in the build up to appointments. Yes, the nightmares are very much there at the moment, and have left me far too “wired” to sleep for the past few nights but the flashbacks haven’t increased in frequency like usual though, although they still occur… And anyway, that isn’t a fear of the surgery. That is a fear of things that happened in the past. And it isn’t even really a fear – it’s a response to reliving those traumatic moments over and over again. And if my brain wasn’t messed up by some of what happened, I would be really worried. It bordered on abuse. It left a smaller mark than it could have, and for that I’m grateful, but I have not been the same. It killed who I was. I couldn’t trust and haven’t since (apart from my uni parents).
Fear usually drives me away from hospitals and towards them all at the same time. Now there is no fear, so logic (or something that calls itself logic) is steering. And logic would very much like this surgery to take place, please!
People are kind of worrying for me, even though I’ve explained to them what is going to be happening today (and it really is minor – there’s no way the surgery itself could endanger my life other than the fact that I’m having an anaesthetic). I’ve had a lot of sympathy and concern, and people seem to have felt it necessary to say things such as:
“Oh you poor thing!” (my mum’s friend, who she is with today)
“Hope it goes well, let me know you’re ok afterwards.” (Uni Mum)
“Not fun at all!” (My Fellow Third wheel, I think)
“Good luck! I’ll be thinking of you”
“Surgery?! Eek!” (Auntie Godmother).
Very few people actually know I’m even having this surgery. I don’t mention these things on social media unless a bunch of people know and are asking me (in which case it is easier to inform them all that I’m ok in one go) or… no that’s pretty much it. People seem to panic when you say the word surgery… Unless they are used to having surgeries, in which case they are as apathetic about the entire thing as I am.
I’m not worried at all. In fact, I’m actually looking forward to it, because although my pain is about to temporarily intensify for a day or so, this surgery is a means to an end. And honestly, it’s laughably minor, so minor that I feel embarrassed and cringey about even mentioning it to anyone at all. It shouldn’t take long, a couple of hours or so, and I should be able to leave the same day. I only found out I’d be needing to have this surgery two or three weeks ago (it actually triggered what I can only refer to as an asdfghjkl – because there are no words to describe the places I have been in my own mind – which was massively intensified the next day when I then found out I had to go through hell on earth in order to try and have a life – I have now realised I’m happy with the crappy health I have and they need to stop just trying to solve me like a puzzle for their entertainment and running my quality of life in the process), and I only found out the date for it last week, so I thankfully haven’t even had to wait too long.
I was nervous about letting a surgeon stick a wire into my heart to do stuff because there was a risk that he could poke the wrong bit and cause disastrous issues. There was reason to be worried then. I think my mum is worried about this. I genuinely just am not worried about the procedure. Even logic cannot find any cause for concern. I’ve been through so, so much worse at the hands of my own health hiccups, and this is pre-planned, thought through, will have a fully informed and prepped team there, and be totally calm as a result. I know exactly what may happen, and even the potential complications don’t bother me – nerve damage? Go for it. I have nerve damage in my right hand. It’s no big deal. I can’t feel or properly use my ring or pinky fingers, and haven’t been able to for the last 3 years since an emergency surgery by a knee specialist (on my hand, yes. I should have been transferred to another hospital but it was an emergency surgery that actually had to be repeated… twice) messed up (but also saved) my hand. I know I could walk onto any ward of the hospital today and see multiple people far, far worse off. I didn’t read much more of the complications – I don’t like to hear or know these things so I zone out and go in pretty oblivious. It’s my way of dealing. Denial works every time ( I spend so much time there I should probably start referring to reality as my second home).
Anyway. Yeah. I’m going to be absolutely fine. I’m so glad I don’t have to miss any uni for this procedure; I’m still not willing to miss anything in case they decide to try and persuade me to drop out for a year again. They fail to understand that my health is not going to improve so they will never actually let me back in once I’m out because I will be in the same situation (if not an even worse one than the one) that made them freak out and ask me to take time out in the first place. But anyway… yeah uni really got to me didn’t it. It’s still creeping in everywhere. I miss it. I love it. Going to uni was my dream for all the time I spent in hospital when I should have been at school – I just wanted an education. Ok what; were even is this post going? It’s 1:33am. Maybe logic is not steering. Logic seems to be drink driving. I’m drunk on tiredness.
But soon I will be drunk on painkillers and dopey from a general anaesthetic so it’s all good (I apologise in advance if I post in that state).
Edit: It is now almost 5:30am. I went to bed half an hour ago and just sat there doing nothing. My feet have a familiar and very uncomfortable tight feeling to them, because my heart/ kidneys in combination have decided that this morning is a fabulous time to retain EVEN MORE WATER… to the point that there may now legitimately be an issue. I will ask today about grabbing some more diuretics, but my blood pressure is usually so low that they get all funny about me taking tablets to lower my blood volume. Have to leave now. Am zombified and starting to slightly wonder how much this is going to hurt.
Attempt two at ending this post is as follows: Anywayyyyy. All will be well.
This post was brought to you by the (extremely tired) logical part of my brain. It says hi. I don’t usually listen to it but there are currently no other thoughts to drown it out, so it is probably very proud of itself right now. If there is a throne in my mind, logic is currently sitting on the throne that emotion has vacated. This was a very rare occurrence.