A Little Too Much

I’d be lying if I told you I was doing anything other than sitting in a hospital bed crying right now. I don’t know how to do this. I am drained and alone and so, so scared. Another IV has been added to the 6 drugs my new PICC line (Pablo) was already juggling over the course of each day, and the clinical director (who gave permission for my procedure to take place) saw me this morning and expects that on Wednesday I will end up having the wound in my chest cut open back on an operating table (and then still maybe two procedures after that). It should be no big deal. Way more minor than the extreme procedure he approved for me to undergo a couple of weeks ago. So I should be able to shrug it off. But I’m scared.

Fear isn’t something I let find a home in me often, and when it does I usually pile denial on top of it and wait for it to dissipate, but this fear is eating me alive. There is more than one health hiccup that could go very wrong here. Three different specialties came to see me today alone (as did an amazing friend who I met at the Bastille gig in May, who travelled all the way from Manchester to London to spend the day distracting my brain and quite honestly made my week). Things are complicated. There are too many things to consider and be worried about and too many thoughts to try and queue and process. So the fear hits all at once in a big jumble that I can’t untangle and streamline and sort because there are too many things to be scared about and all of them are justified. 

Among all of that, I smell that hospital smell and PTSD throws in a flashback or two and pure, raw terror tears through me like wildfire. In its place seeps a fear for my wellbeing, a fear that we aren’t winning this yet despite throwing rather a lot at the situation; a fear that things seem actually to slowly be getting worse after an initial halt in the course of things… and then maybe a sound or a different smell will trigger another flashback, and I’m curled in a ball trembling and sweating and scared like I didn’t think was possible all over again, until the other fear seeps back in. 

And I’d be lying if I wasn’t crying because just now my brain thought about the possibilities of how long this could last and what could occur and said to my body “Hurry up. Please just hurry up. Enough. Too much. Just do it already.” 

I’d be lying if I told you that the fear wasn’t eating me alive, and that there weren’t so many elements to it I didn’t even know which parts of it to focus on to start trying to manage it. 

Being here in itself shakes me to the core, turns my world upside down. Too much has happened to me in hospitals. Mistakes have nearly killed me too many times. Mistakes have resulted in emergency surgeries that went wrong and left me able to feel every cut for a very brief period of time. I have been bullied and belittled and neglected by staff. I have been legally assaulted by a paediatrician. I have been traumatised during hospital stays on children’s wards and in a children’s hospital in ways it is too painful for me to even talk about, and I carry that always. It causes nightmares, flashbacks – great big terrifying obvious things that leave me helpless to my own terror… but it burrows deeper than that, it affects me far more than even I comprehend. It also means my brain finds danger everywhere – in every word or act of concern, in every “I care” or “I want to help you”, in every medical professional, in every hospital, in every element of any thing that helps and heals. Because those are the things that broke me, that hurt me, that killed me inside and left this version of me behind. So I cannot trust these people with my life because people just like them almost took it from me (these people are lovely, but PTSD overrides logic). And it’s like being trapped in my own mind, in this endless cycle of flashbacks and fear because now I am “with it” and well enough to… lose my mind. 

And maybe that on top of the justified fear makes it harder. Maybe reliving the old things so frequently and vividly that you cannot separate them from the present… doesn’t help things. I want everyone’s concern to die away, I don’t want to be having big serious conversations about infections spreading to heart tissue and blood becoming acidic and leukopaenia and all of that. I don’t want to hear doctors say they are concerned. I don’t want to hear about how completely awful the situation could get (worst case scenarios that are actually plausible SUCK). Because I cannot deal with it. There’s no room. I can’t face reality because I cannot cope with it any more. Too much. I can’t handle this fear and I. Can’t. Run from it. I can’t leave this reality. I’m tied to it (literally, I drag 4 IV pumps around with me everywhere… and a peacock that I made from a glove – his name is Pierre and I made him a nest from a bandana which hangs from my drip stand).

It’s like rapid machine gun fire, but I can’t even finish falling before the next bullet hits or the next specialty walks in with some other different plan that my brain can’t handle right now (and also means that whatever the person before them decided now needs to be changed to avoid y’know… a crisis on top of the current disaster). I know this is super pathetic. I know. I keep being told that this situation warrants tears, but I know beneath my feelings that it could be worse and I hate that I am selfish enough to indulge my own emotion. 

All I can think as I sit here breaking is that I honestly have no idea how to go on, and for that very reason I need to stop other people going through stuff like this. I need to help just one person take just one moment like this out of their life. And so it makes me want to raise money for charity more. Because I have to take this away from someone else. I have to. I can’t stand the thought of anyone else buckling in the way I am right now. I don’t know how to handle the thought of someone else feeling like I do right now – it’s too late to save me from these moments (clearly) but it isn’t for someone, somewhere – and I want to help that someone. 

I’m tired. I hurt. After being intubated for my procedure I still choke on everything I try to swallow. This could be a thousand times worse, and physically it’s the kind of thing I can handle, it’s nowhere near the nastiest things I’ve been through, but… A lot is going on. That doesn’t help things. Mentally… I’m lost. This stuff just isn’t stopping. Right now I need a break from my health hiccups and life is just cranking up the dial. I’m in a specialist heart centre but non-heart factors are ruining things. I honestly honestly do not know how to face tomorrow. And I think my eyes may genuinely just be faulty because the tears will not stop falling.

Here comes the nurse with another IV to start. 

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33 thoughts on “A Little Too Much

    • You mean like the awesome nurse here who had it himself or a counsellor? I guess there’s FaceTime for the latter, but nothing really takes it away. The staff on this ward are very understanding about it but my brain is hard wired to fear them despite how lovely they are.

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  1. It could always be worse, yes, but that doesn’t make your feelings and worries any less valid. Feel what you need to feel, let it all out, because you lived through another day, another hour, another second, and that should be enough. It *is* enough. Don’t let anyone tell you it could be worse. Screw that. It never makes anyone feel better and frankly it’s bullshit. Everyone has their own struggles. It’s okay to feel the effects of your own without feeling guilty. ❤

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    • This was an extremely helpful collection of words to wake up to. Thank you so much for taking the time to write them. I’ve voiced how I’m feeling with my nurse because she could see that I looked very unhappy when I woke up and she asked the right questions at exactly the right moment for my brain to just overflow at her. I’m considering just leaving and letting nature take whatever course it wants to take. But you’ve made me feel less pathetic, and that’s very helpful, so thank you for that.

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  2. You are so amazing to share these thought with us. How I wish I could offer some comfort to you. Can you tell me what hospital you are in? No worries if you prefer not to. My heart goes out to you. I am in awe of your strength and wish only the best possible outcomes. Glad you allowed yourself to cry. ♡♡♡

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  3. Sending you hugs from the University library! Sorry PTSD is being such a bum like usual and I wish I could do something to help- maybe I’ll deliver a tonne of scented candles or incense to mask the hospital smell? Or shall I come and graffiti the walls so it looks a bit different? *sigh* if only a.) that were possible and b.) it would work 😦 I’m always here if you need feel free to text or call whenever- even if it is at 2am because you’re having a panic attack, flash back or just recovered from one etc and you just need a familiar voice to remind you that it’s not happening now and that they are sitting with you helping to ground you. I can’t comprehend exactly how much it sucks after all what you have been through but I’m always here to walk through the rain and the storm with you even if I can only provide you with is a broken umbrella. Message me where you are if you want a visit and good luck with any subsequent surgeries. Love you muchly, always here, Batman

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    • Having conversations in texts and via blog comments with the same human is a little too baffling for my brain right now haha. But thank you. This is a little too long for me to deal with replying to right now, hope you understand. Listening to someone have a cardiac arrest at the moment, and as you can tell from this post am struggling. Not in a good place. When I can will continue the conversation we started earlier.

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