Maybe it meant more because I hadn’t seen him for over a year.
Maybe it meant more because he doesn’t show affection or emotion.
Maybe it meant more because he’s my flesh and blood.
Maybe it meant more because his fractured shoulder blade is still healing so it’s painful for him to move his arm.
Maybe it meant more because it was the first thing he did when he saw me.
Maybe it meant more because I nearly didn’t get to fit awkwardly into his arms, because I had to fight so hard all day to make it to that moment and I was barely conscious, and maybe it’s because I’m genuinely scared that I might not get a moment like that with him again.
My uncle arrived at our house just before midnight last night with his heavily pregnant wife. He’s this strong, steely figure who never shows any emotion. If he’s smiling in a photo it’s a big deal and it’s usually only when he’s with his kids (sometimes his wife – he’s mellowing). His family wasn’t ever particularly affectionate, but beneath the steel he has a pretty big heart. I stayed up waiting. I kind of always wanted to be close to him, and there’s a picture of him holding me as a baby where he’s almost smiling. It’s framed on my bedside table and I cried for half an hour when I found it a couple of years ago because I never had a dad when I was growing up, and I thought I was never held in a pair of big strong hairy arms (also, he’s almost smiling, so I kinda think he may love me a bit, which made me feel all the feels). When he saw me, he said hello and, shivering, shuffled towards me, his arms outstretched for a hug that took me by surprise. It wasn’t a brief hug, it lasted a few seconds, and I was sort of too stunned to appreciate it. It meant so much for so many reasons. It was so comforting for so many reasons. For so long all I’ve wanted was to be held. Right there in his arms I felt part of our family. I wanted to cry because I spent all day feeling like death and suddenly it was all worth it.
Now that my uncle is here, I definitely won’t go to hospital. The PTSD is no longer the only thing holding me back (and it was strong enough on its own), but there’s a guilt and a fear. I don’t want my family to be angry with me. Anger seems to be an emotion that gets thrown at me a lot when I’m unwell. I get shouted at, and I understand the frustration, I understand that I’m destroying my family and I don’t want to do that any more. My uncle turned 50 last month, and he’s over for 4 days so we can have a party for him with family and the people he grew up with, not too far away from the place he was born I guess. All our family and family friends are coming together – unofficial aunts and uncles, and I love that. I love being all together. This is his time. His wife is heavily pregnant and it’s her time too. This is about them. I don’t want to ruin that. I don’t want them to worry. I don’t want to upset anyone or throw any spanners into the works. Also… I want to be there. I want to be with them, to enjoy their company. Because he’s this person who I think might love me, who gives hints that he cares more than just because he’s obligated to (since we share DNA). As I’ve got older, we’ve had conversations. Sometimes we’ve messaged, half a world apart, while he was wide awake in pain after surgery and I was laying in an ICU. And he hugged me in a way that acknowledged how awesome it is that I’m alive. It meant more because he so nearly didn’t get to hug me so many times – so many events have almost taken that moment from the pair of us.
I spent a while unconscious on the floor after I last posted. My dog curled up with me and I woke up with him laying against me. I ended up kind of delirious at one stage, slurring and unable to make much sense. After a few awful hours, I think the acidosis plateaued, or at least my body got used to it a little. My mum asked me to do chores and stuff, with no idea how little energy I had. I tried. I fell in a heap on my bed. I slept.
Then, swaying in my chair, my vision drifting in and out of focus, and sometimes losing the ability to hold the pen, I made notes for the test I have on Friday. Seven large flash cards. 13 sides. It took me hours (and not only because my study attempts initially deteriorated to me having a meltdown and ordering a pizza I couldn’t really stomach, and then in the evening I found myself somehow listening to a 10 hour loop of Gandalf nodding along to a jazz rhythm for 22 minutes). My heart kept feeling BIZARRE, palpitations like it’s felt when I’ve had a junctional rhythm or atrial fibrillation. It gradually started happening more and more often, for longer and longer. My lower legs ballooned to the point that my usually baggy skinny jeans were cutting into my ankles, and the seams were suddenly forced tightly against my shins, leaving deep red marks. I was very spaced out, and messaging my friend, we discovered that I was easily confused and couldn’t grasp simple stuff. She kept going on and on at me to go to the hospital. Eventually I couldn’t see the screen to message back. I don’t even know what bit of me is rebelling any more.
But on Monday I have a test and another assessed thing. On Wednesday I have a tutorial. I can’t miss these things. I need to stay out of hospital until at least Wednesday afternoon – I don’t have time to be unwell, not now. And yet I know that lasting until Wednesday is near impossible. I know that lasting to my uncle’s party on Saturday will be a real challenge. I should have gone to hospital today. I nearly did. I fear I’ll end up there tomorrow. If somebody had found me collapsed, I’d have been taken off in an ambulance. The thing is, I’m still unwell enough to call one right now. But I don’t want to miss uni, especially not assessed stuff. I’ll run myself into the ground to try and be there, I don’t want to have the talks that I had this time last year. I don’t want to give in. I will be there if it kills me (and so, so many times it nearly has). And yet… I don’t know how I’m going to make it to tomorrow without collapsing and ending up in A&E. I don’t say the full picture here, not the full reality. But this is bad. This. Is. Bad. I shouldn’t be here. I’ve no idea how I made it through yesterday and honestly I don’t know how I’ll get through today (I know as I write this today is only 32 minutes old but hey). I should be unconscious. My body can’t do this – my organs won’t do this.
But feeling and being so unwell made seeing my uncle mean so much more. It makes everything mean so much more, actually.