We pulled an all-nighter. I had to, because I was sneaking medication to keep myself alive. I’d been in the early stages of a medical emergency that a doctor was meant to return 30 minutes later to re-assess by repeating my bloods (and see whether my pH had dropped any lower than 7.35, which it looked like it should because the acidic bodies in my blood were almost 10 times the highest acceptable safe limit, and above the threshold for acidosis, in which case I need urgent IV treatment to prevent… death). The doctor actually turned up six hours later, arrived, didn’t take any blood, seemed totally blasé about the entire thing, and then left the ward saying he’d be back after an hour or two… After I had to remind him of the science behind acidosis, the stuff which he was measuring, the results I’d had, and how it even worked (only slightly more alarming – if I could feel anything and therefore even be alarmed – than the fact that the nursing staff were judging and blaming me and saying my pH was dropping because drinking multiple litres every hour apparently isn’t enough to maintain a normal pH).
Good job I ignored them all and self medicated on a sort of autopilot that saved my ass, because this guy was lazy and clueless and as apathetic as I am right now. (Trigger warning) Also totally bad for them, because I then decided it was pointless being in hospital as I’d saved my own ass, and decided that I’m refusing all IVs even if they are adamant that they want me to have them, because hey, I made a decision. My brain made a judgement call. It didn’t care about whether it lived or died any more, it wanted to wing it. And if this body can do it, cool. And if it can’t, cool. Either way this admission ends. Soon. Today. And maybe I even get to live again a little bit. I don’t think I want to be dead, I think my brain is just sick of living like this at the moment, and it wants it to stop, and if the end means it stops, I don’t care enough about anything to care if that’s how it has to stop. The end seems like a way through this.
Anyway, my new friend and I stayed up all night talking and she tried to sort my life out and get me to draft an email to send to my personal tutor at university. We ended up just chatting. Then we ended up with her in agony and me feeling like death and both of us not knowing how to carry on, and then the pair of us fantasising about Brick Lane bagels. This led to us deciding to go on a quest for bagels at 5am in order to plaster this huge layer of awesome over the fact that both of us had just told the other that dark thoughts were looming. I was all ready to break out of hospital with my femoral line still in and get in the taxi to Brick Lane to buy said bagels, but then we realised that one of us needed to stay on the ward to sneak the other back in. So I stayed. And my new surrogate older sister snuck out of the ward, got in a taxi, and bought us both a super early breakfast from the 24 hour bagel place in Brick Lane. That’s the kind of stuff hospital friends do together – form highly irresponsible double acts and do super stupid stuff just to rebel, just to try and feel alive again. We earn such privileges as breaking every single rule and sneaking out with in-dwelling central venous catheters, even if we end up staying on the ward.
Walking to the ward doors to let my new friend back onto the ward with her bagel delivery was the first time I’ve walked more than a few metres (and even then only to get to the bathroom in a very wobbly fashion) in the last 6 days. And I tell you, a smoked salmon bagel has never tasted so decent. At 5:40am. As I sat and watched the fog finally win it’s 4 hour fight to obscure The Shard from view. I didn’t even care what the staff said or thought. I instructed Einstein (my new insulin pump that I got on Monday) to give me a huge bolus of insulin, and I listened to the rain, and I thought that if I was capable of having a mood then the foggy, rainy weather would totally match it in that moment. And I let go. I let it all go. I let my last shred of anything evaporate from the void my mind has now become. And I crumpled quietly in on myself, the sagging walls of my mind supported by nothing other than their adjoining neighbours as it all sort of sighed and deflated like a burst bouncy castle. And we still had no update on my acidosis status, about whether it had progressed or whether I’d saved that doctor’s ass by saving myself with ridiculous levels of hydration and dosages of medication that nobody will ever know about, and that to be honest I made up as I injected. I sat with heart palpitations (probably due to screwy potassium levels) and a little chest pain, and who knows what going on in my blood, and grumpy kidneys that are letting protein and blood into my urine in a fun development that occurred yesterday morning (the cause behind which may have triggered the acidosis), and I finally just looked at my body and thought to it
Ok, do it. Do your thing. Do whatever you want. I’m not going to fight you any more. I don’t know how to. Do whatever on earth you want. Just hurry up and decide whatever that’s going to be. And then this life is all yours to take or leave or maintain or end.
If I could feel anything right now, it would be fear. I think. A helpless, desperate, pure, uncertain… fear. Completely overwhelmed and intimidated too, I guess.
But I still.
This. These last few posts. This is what a lifetime of hospitals can do. This is the side you don’t see in films and books and stuff. It’s a side people in hospital always think they’re less because of (or alone in) feeling, because it’s a side that is rarely shown to the big wide healthy world. But when you get us together, and you let us talk, sometimes we find other people who feel exactly the same, and then there’s less shame and feelings of ridiculousness. And just this reality that neither of you knows how to face.
No more of this.
Things change today. One way or another.
I can’t be here any more.
I can’t do it.
But hey, 5am bagels.