Ladies and gents, presenting your not-quite-neighbourhood-friendly Abigail!
It’s been quite some time – months, in fact – since I last submitted a blog entry of any kind. I’m honestly a little sorry for the time it’s taken me to get back in the saddle, but also feel an apology isn’t needed. My time off was quite deliberate and much needed.
To pick up from where I left off those months ago, I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be a double whammy of atypical pneumonia and bronchitis. The heart palpitations have now become somewhat of a weekly guest, though only one or two at a time, until I get sick. In the time between then and now, I’ve been sick a further two times with various bugs and another bout of (slightly more mild than last time) food poisoning. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, I’m attempting to wrestle control for my body back from a nasty sinus bug. It’s been rough riding, but I haven’t fallen too far off the horse yet. It also seems necessary for me to basically pump my dreamteam of Zinc, Echinacea, Garlic and Vitamin C to boost my immune system during flu season.
While I was in hospital, I learned a few things:
- I am irrevocably, irrationally and totally afraid of being in hospital.
- Exactly how important you are in someone’s life when you DO go into hospital
- Which of my friends respected me and took my health seriously with things like avoiding me when they were sick
- That hospital food sucks balls.
To start with the first, it didn’t help that I was admitted while running a massive fever, scared out of my brain because my heart was backfiring left, right and centre, and so many kinds of exhausted. That generally doesn’t make for good terms to enter into any unfamiliar situation, let alone a high-stress one in a loud and artificially bright ward filled with screaming patients. You can add another layer to the “How the fuck will this make me more calm?” cake when they hooked me up to a heart monitor and every 35 seconds to a minute my heart would do the Macarena and the machine would scream. I swear I now have a Pavlovian response of complete panic whenever I hear the sound of an irate heart monitor.
I suspect the majority of my fear comes from the fact that you don’t exactly go into hospital to get a scratch-and-sniff sticker from the doctors. Every experience I’ve had with hospitals in the last decade have been because something has inevitably gone wrong with my body for the first time and part of me is half-convinced I may croak. What I find out after is that it’s just another perk of being Abigail, or more specifically, being stuck in the body of Abigail.
Point is, when you combine all of these things with my anxiety (which has gotten significantly worse due to the stress of it all) it makes for the perfect panic-attack-inducing shitstorm. To boost the “OHCHRISTFUCK” signal coursing through my brain, there was an utterly shitfaced bloke yelling at the staff and walking the ward. It was almost what I imagine a meth-addicted Santa to look like after Boxing Day. I can laugh about it now, but believe me, I was in almost histerics by my second night.
To move on to the second point, Manthing was incredible. He slept in a chair next to my bed the first night and on the floor of the hospital on the second. He brought me a book, my colouring gear, my DS and my favourite blanket, which I covered him with on the second night. The only time he left me was when I sent him home halfway through day two so he could get some sleep in an actual bed and de-stress a little. He put up with my panic attacks, kept the conversation up when I was anxious and did everything he could (including bringing me pajamas!) to make me comfortable.
I had some family contacting me when they could with reception, friends keeping track of my updates on Facebook (it was far easier to just comment on a status than message everyone individually) and taking to me to keep me distracted when I was stressing. I also had some friends fall short of what I had hoped my friendship meant to them. I wasn’t asking anyone to drop what they were doing and come and visit me. If I’m sick in the ER and under care of Infectious Diseases, what do YOU think I want you to do? But what I needed was the support of my friends to tell me everything would be fine, to tell me they gave a shit about my health condition and to just generally be friends. When I got single-word responses, suffice to say the ranks of my friends shifted a little that day.
Number three is a big one. If I’ve just come out of hospital and I’m really fucking sick, do you think I want you to come over and bring your flu/cold/arse herpes with you? It sucks that I’ve had to do this, but for the last three months, I’ve effectively had to screen people before they come over. I’ve had to politely ask people to just not show if they have a cold or the like, because I just can’t risk it. The fact that I’ve caught three bugs in this time kind of shows you just how stupid my asshole immune system is, and how careful I have to be now. If I go out, I take a risk. If I go to a public event, I have to pump my vitamin dreamteam for 3 days beforehand and 3 days after, just in case. Chances are, I’ll still pick something up. It’s not pleasant, but it’s my reality. I’m also at the point where being polite can go and choke on a big hairy cock. If you’re sick and in my house, I WILL tell you to fuck off, because you obviously don’t have any respect for me, and don’t give a shit.
Number four is an honest truth. You always hear the jokes about how bad hospital food is and you think it’s just a joke until you’re there. I swear to god, one night my dinner was breadcrumbed cardboard and string greens. It was honestly tempting to just order a pizza to the ward.
The important thing I learned is that the palpitations I get aren’t dangerous. I still have a perfectly healthy and functional heart, it just adds an extra beat from time to time, especially when I’m tired and run down. Getting a single ‘hiccup’ as I call it is the definitive point where my body goes “Too much! Bed! Now!”. Getting more than one is my body screaming that it’s exhausted and I’m run down. See: Sick with any kind of bug. It feels horrible and awful and then more horrible on top, but the bloody brilliant news is that it’s just uncomfortable, not dangerous, and I couldn’t have asked for a better answer.
All in all, I learned a lot from my miserable experience in the hospital. About both myself and those around me. I’ve also had to learn new coping mechanisms when my body goes batshit, I’m wrestling with the idea that it’s okay to go to bed during the day if you need to, and that pushing my body right up to the limit helps nobody, least of all myself.
I’m going to finish my blog here tonight because I’m god damn exhausted and need to put this meatsack to bed before I fall off my char, but I’ll be updating my blog regularly again and filling you guys in on all the juicy details of the last few months ❤
If I forget, feel free to shoot me messages filled with words that will make a sailor blush,