17 Years

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, 

Gunpowder, treason and plot”

But there’s another reason

While the date of a failed attempt at high treason

Will never be forgot (I know that’s not good English but let’s ignore that).

On the 5th of November 1999, three year old me was diagnosed with one of my health hiccups – diabetes. Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t even know that was the date of my diagnosis. It was and always has been just bonfire night, the night that Guido Fawkes and a few of his pals were caught with loads of gunpowder underneath the houses of parliament in 1605, and the topic of a few history lessons.

In the last couple of years the date has come to mean more. The 5th of November 2015 was the date I last saw the consultant at another London hospital who truly understood my PTSD (and that she had to deal with hospital admissions carefully) and had a complex plan that was moving fast to try and minimise the threat of one health hiccup. She wanted to admit me that morning, she wanted to fit a PICC line. I said no to both when I should have said yes. She said I could email or call if ever I changed my mind and we’d progress immediately. I went straight from that appointment to an anatomy practical. I almost missed it. Then I very nearly died in it, collapsed, four paramedics came to my rescue, and after hours in a resuscitation unit, I ended up on the 11th floor of a hospital watching fireworks go off all over London with a uni parent (it was a pretty amazing view) instead of watching Imagine Dragons in concert as I’d been meant to. I gained two uni parents on that day. I’d have ended it all without their support, a support that I rightly no longer have.

All I wanted was to be out of hospital this year. I don’t know why my brain became so fixated on that date, but when I was admitted on the 1st of November I just knew I had to be out by the 5th. Although I’d have an amazing view of hundreds of firework displays all across London, I wanted to take myself for a little meal to celebrate another year. I very nearly died, and then was very nearly kicked out of university because of the mutiny going on within my body on this date last year, and it signified the start of a hellish three weeks that resulted in me almost losing everything.

I made it out last night. I slept on a non-plastic mattress, in a bed with no wheels, with the TV on because if I lay in silence I freaked out from the PTSD. The nightmares were hellish. But I rolled out of my bed into that of my dog, and curled up with him shaking. He nuzzled right up against me and forced his nose under my neck. Each time I freaked he nudged me until I wrapped my arms around him, and then he curled back under my neck, sighed, and went back to sleep. When I made it back to my bed, I’d wake with tears streaming down my cheeks making a weird bleating sound as I tried to scream out in my sleep. His face would be there, staring straight at me, tail wagging gently as he nudged me again, curious. He was the furry rock I clung to all the way through the storm, and I wanted to be nowhere but with him all day long.

I woke up late. I stayed in bed because I was exhausted. My next door neighbour got stuck away from home while her husband was at work, and asked if I could go round to let their 9 month old spaniel out in the garden to relieve himself. I got dressed and went next door to see my buddy. He was all shut up in his puppy crate and he lost his mind when he saw me. He ran around the house for 15 minutes. Then he ran around the garden. He was so happy to see me. He kept charging at me and throwing himself at me and licking me and I felt so loved it was ridiculous. He ran around for an entire hour. He wouldn’t settle long enough to have a cuddle. Eventually I gave up trying to cuddle him and laid on the sofa, and he jumped on top of me and flipped upside down and rolled around and jumped on me. It was hilarious. I hadn’t eaten at all since I’d been home, so my mum popped round with a cod-finger sandwich. The puppy almost managed to steal the food. Almost. It was the first thing I’d eaten since arriving here. My stomach just doesn’t want food at all which is very unlike me.

I felt really dizzy and I was falling asleep, plus I had a flashback and just wanted my own dog, so I reluctantly put my little puppy buddy back in his cage, locked everything back up, and went back to bed. I slept most of my afternoon away. I felt awful – weak and dizzy and kind of like death. I couldn’t work out why, until I realised that I’d almost died on Tuesday and ordinarily would still be in hospital after blood results like those that I had. I checked my blood to find that the level of acidic bodies in my blood was WAY above the threshold for acidosis, and instantly decided the hospital staff were stupid for taking out my femoral line without checking y’know… my pH and stuff! I’d been meaning to distract myself by making uni notes – not out of stress for a change, but because it was something to do and it interested me and was mildly productive. Because I’d taken all the pressure and stress out of the task of catching up on uni notes, and decided that I’d take the weekend to just recover and do things for myself, I gave in to the sleep. I focussed on dragging my blood levels back to normal.

My heart is not great right now. I keep getting palpitations and it’s beating pretty fast and then becoming so weak that I can hardly feel a pulse in my neck even. I keep getting extremely dizzy and breathless, and I’ve blown up like a balloon to the point that my skin is so tight over my legs and abdomen that it feels like it is splitting (my mum is a midwife and she says I look heavily pregnant… Thanks). I think that not having my heart tablets FOR MY ENTIRE TIME IN HOSPITAL may have slightly annoyed Skippy. I’ve been feeling dizzy and very odd on and off for a couple of days, the staff were just so ignorant I decided there was no point in saying anything. I figure that it’s probably just me actually.

When I was in hospital, my body pretty much started shutting down. When I was admitted, I hadn’t produced urine for 8 hours. My temperature was low and at various points over the past few days it dipped below 35.5. This evening, I was super, super cold. I’d had a very long, hot shower, but as I sat hugging my dog, his warmth just wasn’t enough to restore mine. I had a bath so hot it burned. It upset my heart, so I then had to drain the bath, run the water until it was ice cold, and freeze myself until my body got a grip again (which made the whole thing pointless).

HK Uni Friend has been switching between briefly acknowledging how unwell I am, and then asking me to help her with her work and expecting me to care about her coursework assignments immediately afterwards, despite me telling her I was literally dying and couldn’t even think about my own work. On the group chat I made to update my friends (seriously need to make a post about that at some point), she started mentioning that she needed to do work again tonight. All my other friends have been getting super annoyed at this situation, and I finally just spoke out about it, saying that work could go screw itself tonight because it’s the weekend at the start of reading week and we’re all alive and should just stop to enjoy that fact for a bit, saying that for the first time this semester I’d temporarily managed to gain some perspective. My other friends were super happy with me for saying this (they’d been urging me to be much ruder, having read my conversations while I typed responses at various points over the days before I was admitted to hospital, and even during, I think). I know my friend is super stressed, and that I was exactly where she is a week or two ago, and I feel like such an awful friend, but I just do not have the capacity to think about stuff like that right now. I’m not well enough to think in detail like that. It’s taken me so long to write this post because even thinking and typing this is exhausting and I keep falling asleep. I know I’m probably sounding completely selfish and evil right now, but I did try to help her. When in hospital I did try to be of use. But when she asked for my lecture notes from the lecture I was LITERALLY DYING IN on Tuesday, my response was pretty much “You mean the lecture I was dying in? Because LOL.” I didn’t mean to be horrible, I just got to a point where I felt a little used.

I know what it is like to have no-one, and I try to make sure my friends never feel like that. I try to be considerate of their feelings and not dump my issues on them when I know they are going through stuff. Even when I’m going through stuff, I tear myself to pieces to try and keep them whole. But some just keep ripping and ripping and ripping and I feel like confetti. I feel so bad no matter how many times my other friends tell me that I do more than they could in my situation… I just… Right now I need to process everything that just happened.

I have been messaging with My Fellow Third Wheel today, who had an awful day filled with vomiting and dizziness and sleeping on the floor. We sent each other pictures of dogs and laughed, and he’s coming round on Monday to meet up if he feels a little better. He’s super understanding and good to talk to, and we have helped each other through so much since the start of the summer. He says I can fight my dog for a hug with him. To be fair, the two of them are what my brain needs right now.

I’m going to shut up now because this post is just junk.

No way but through.

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