Friday, 27 December 2013

Spa Weekend away (Hysterectomy series #1)

What sort of sick mother actually enjoys a week in hospital?
An extract from my journal from Christmas 2013. I'd been having a three and a half month period, and as is my usual silly way I had been trying various holistic methods rather than see my GP.  I would recommend any woman suffering irregular bleeding get it checked out, but I'm total crap at taking my own advice.  I had made one appointment, but attended a birth instead, then made another the following week whereupon my doctor sent me straight to A&E. 

I guess for a mother who is trying to arrange Christmas on a very tight budget for a large family, mentally and physically exhausted, and not a little unwell in to the bargain, a week of being waited upon, listened to, and generally very kindly treated and looked after, was really quite nice.

My haemoglobin levels were so low that I was literally falling asleep all over the place and really couldn't give two hoots where the hell I was so long as it was acceptable to close one's eyes for a while, but to finally be somewhere where they encouraged me to rest, was enough to bring tears to my eyes, if I hadn't been too tired even to cry.

Over the hours it took to admit me, and take blood, get a night out of the way, then get the gynaecologists to see me,  I dozed, read, ate, drank tea, made friends with the other ladies, and simply closed my eyes when I did not wish to talk any more.

It was a ferociously busy six bedded bay, post-op ladies with complications, a lady with hyperemesis gravidarum, a very disabled lady with a multitude of difficulties, and other women, dozing with eyes closed like me.  I  fell into the hospital rhythms, fitful snoozing all night as people cried, vomited, shat themselves, and were admitted or moved, drug rounds, tea rounds, meals.  Everyone's finally flat out by six am, and awake again within the hour to florescent glare and pills and tea and toast that was just warm bread that hadn't been toasted at all.

 Doctors' rounds, nurses doing obs, nice people bringing tea or coffee, lunch, rest, visitors. Tea, dinner time, obs, visitors again.  If any of this constant merry-go-round became to much, my eyes could close, and I could sleep, or not, or read, or not, whatever I wished.  Nothing was expected of me, there was no one to let down, or annoy.  Only kindness.   People moaned about the food, but I chose salad, and it was simple and healthy and good quality.  I guess in the absence of likelihood of a spa weekend or a holiday or retreat, I was enjoying the same vibe only as a patient on the ward. I felt at home with the simple austerity here.  I could imagine staying here indefinitely, spending vast amounts of time in meditation, but probably not ever finishing a book.

After a couple of units of blood, less than half the amount I was to receive, I felt able to get up and wander to the chapel where I was relieved to find no-one but the presence of something out of time and physical pain and welcoming of my contemplative mood.  I experimented with praying just to pray, not imploring an invisible force for something, but communing with something, opening up to something, and being opened in return.

All too soon, I felt physically better.  I still had the gynae problems, but pills were controlling the bleeding, and the transfusion had restored my vitality. Equally healing was the cocoon of kindness I had felt wrapped in whilst being a patient. I guess it shows how bad my life has become, when the only time I feel able to accept simple care and kindness is when I am officially ill.

Read the next part of my story here

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