[Journal] A not so glorious (but better than expected) return

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:

  1. I am irrevocably, irrationally and totally afraid of being in hospital.
  2. Exactly how important you are in someone’s life when you DO go into hospital
  3. Which of my friends respected me and took my health seriously with things like avoiding me when they were sick
  4. 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,

❤ Abi

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How to lose a friend in 10 days or “Fibro has fucked everything”

I fucking hate being sick. I don’t have words strong enough to describe the level of loathing, anger and sadness associated with how badly Fibro and all it’s friends have fucked up my life. I really do try to keep my emotions in check when I post blogs on here. I do try to carefully think posts through and make sure I don’t say anything to upset anyone, but tonight I’m exhausted. I’m sick with a nasty cold that makes sleeping almost impossible. I have the rest of my body going utterly batshit. I have to work and try and get SOMETHING happening for my big markets in 10 days time.

This week has been a difficult one in terms of my relationships with people. I’d say I apologise in advance for anyone reading this, but I have to retract that statement. I can’t apologise right now, not when I feel like this right now.

This has been a very testing week. On Friday I went to the Easter Show. As some of you may know, due to my illness, I don’t get out of the house much at all. As it was, everything tried to make sure I didn’t get there in the first place. I had a massive pain flare the night before and didn’t sleep. On our way there, I had a truck kick up a rock and try to shatter my windscreen. I had all sorts of shit go on that ended up in me having to face my own fears and use a wheelchair for the day. I am NOT a wheelchair person. Manthing and I had a tense relationship that day because he wasn’t used to pushing and I didn’t want to be in it. See: We butted heads. A lot. I had friends who weren’t used to dealing with me being in a wheelchair, and we were all slowed down by my snail’s pace. We had to make exceptions. Go different ways. Do things differently. We got rained out on the day, missed half the things we wanted to see, had arguments and, despite all that, we still managed to have a mostly wonderful time. I spent the whole trip home thanking everyone over and over again for putting up with me. How grateful I was that they put up with me. I felt like such a burden the whole time and they assured me it wasn’t the case, but it doesn’t change how I felt.

Skip forward to Sunday night. I come down with a filthy fever. I get body aches that hit a 9.5 on my pain scale. I’m on Endone, rocking back and forth in a steaming hot bath and sobbing to myself because I just want the pain to stop. I’ve come down with a nasty cold as a result of having a very big day out on Friday and pushing myself past my spoons, and then getting caught in the rain while trying to watch the evening show and the fireworks. My throat is raw, my head is pounding and I’d ask Manthing to take me to ER only the idea of moving from where I am makes me nauseous with more pain. I eventually get to bed (being toweled off and dressed by my partner) and lie there sleepless for hours, tossing and turning through fever and waves of agony.

In the midst of it all, I try to find a distraction and play with my Pokemon. I try to talk to people on facebook. The whole thing ends up in me feeling like a fucking arsehole because a friend of mine is annoyed that I didn’t arrange a time to meet up with her and that I went to the Easter Show. The problem is, the last time I remember speaking to her, she asked for some time to grieve over a beloved pet that had passed. I had offered to come around the ay after an event I had missed (doubly due to trying to make some money at a market and then being too ill to do anything other than go home and sleep for three days) but she had suggested we arrange another time. I interpreted this as something along the lines that she would let me know when she was ready to deal with people again. I wasn’t about to bother her the day after going “Heyyy! Let’s hang out!” The last time I had a pet die, I cried for three days straight and hit depression for another week after that. Everyone deals with this stuff differently so I let things be.

I also had the Easter Show trip planned for a month and a half. This in itself isn’t a huge deal.

The problem lies in the last two times I’ve had people do something similar. I had arranged beforehand to go out with mates X and Y. Z comes along in the afternoon and says “Hey, let’s hang out.” I respond with “Hey, Z. I can’t. I’ve got other plans tonight, and we don’t have room in the car or else I’d invite you and your missus along. We can hang out on Sunday, if you’re cool with it, and if I’m feeling okay.” Z ends up telling his missus that I lied to him about shit to get out of hanging out with him, so of course they both lose their shit at me properly when I post a single picture on Facebook of me having fun. Again, this was one time in about 3 months that I had been well enough to get out of the house and “hang out” with people. Gogo, fucking drama and Z being irate when I explain to him where the wires got crossed. He never passes this on to his missues. I’m left feeling like a jerk for going out and enjoying myself.

The time before that, someone I deeply cared about threw my health back at me like it was THEIR problem. My not being able to go out was damaging them somehow. My pain and suffering were becoming their problem. Right now, I’m probably overreacting to it all and being stupid and emotional, but I really feel two things right now:

I feel guilty. It was the “Hey, X didn’t want me to tell you this, but I thought you should know” equivalent that did it. That I didn’t warrant being told upfront that something I had said or done had upset someone, and that despite not having that person directly approach me about it, I should know anyway. I can’t talk to them. I feel like, if I did, I’d be some kind of horrible bitch. Like I was looking for a fight or something rather than just trying to resolve an issue I seem to have inadvertently caused. I feel like shit. Like a complete fuck. I did nothing, and I feel like the lowest kind of worm for upsetting a friend.

On the other hand, I feel really angry. I feel like I’ve been pinned with the blame for something I haven’t done. Not deliberately, and if it was accidental, then it shouldn’t have been thrown at me the way it was. I tried to do the right thing by everyone. God fucking forbid I should have plans of my own once in a blue moon. My Odin’s hairy left nut crush me for going out and trying to have a normal social experience for once. I feel like I’ve been backed into a corner and I’m being guilt tripped for the one time I manage to get out of the house and do something fun. Christ knows I have trouble. I missed my Dad’s birthday party, I missed my best friend’s baby naming and the birth of her child, I couldn’t see my mother on her birthday (though that may be a blessing in disguise) and there have been countless other occasions where I have wanted to go out and do something with every fiber in my being, but have been restricted to lying in bed and fighting off the crushing depression at being house-bound.

That’s another thing I barely mention. I try to get on with life and not look to closely, but think about it. You go from being a fairy social 18-year-old with a boyfriend, a career ahead of you, you’re looking at University and you’re utterly kicking arse in your favourite sports team to become a bitter 24-year old that walks with a limp, can’t leave the house without help because her memory is fucked and she’ll forget where she is and where she parked the car, has to borrow her disabled grandmother’s wheelchair to get about because she can’t afford her own and has had to pull her partner out of work to look after her disabled arse. You tell me just what kind of future you’re looking at when faced with those circumstances and you tell me exactly how chipper and social you’re feeling then. The times I do see people, they’re over here in my house. And you know what? Most of the time they come here to see Manthing, or end up spending most of their time with him because I need to go to bed. I don’t get random visitors (and can’t have them!) because on the rare occasion when I am pain-free enough to get shit done or sleep, I need to not be interrupted. Hell, you know what? I’ll say it. Sometimes I DON’T feel like socialising. I don’t feel like seeing people and talking because I’m angry and hurt and exhausted and sick of life’s shit and the fucking spectacularly awful hand I’ve been given.

Even if I get one of those very rare and fleeting moments when I’m not in horrible pain and off my face on painkillers, sometimes it’s all too much for me and I get caught up in my own depression. “What if I say something stupid?” “What if they’re angry at me for not going to X?” “What if…” It’s a contstant battle I face, especially with the advent of the memory issues I’m having. I constantly fret about saying something fucking stupid, or something I shouldn’t or, hell, I loathe the idea of having to answer the “How are you?” question. Nobody wants to hear about how I’ve spend the last three days curled up in the fetal position and cursing the neighbors children screaming with every language I know. Nobody gives a shit about how I was out of a script and had to wait 4 hours and the surgery to get a new one without any form of pain relief. Nobody believes me when I tell them that I had a nervous breakdown at the shopping centre because I forgot where I parked my car and thought someone had stolen it. I’m left feeling like nobody ever really wants to hear any of the shit in my life. It’s not great. It’s not “Oh, I got to go out with the girls for coffee today!” or something like “Yeah, landed this awesome contract today!”.

 

It’s reached the point where the pain has become such a massive part of my life, this filthy, consuming invader, that there isn’t one part of my life that it hasn’t touched. When I tell you about these things, I don’t want your sympathy. I’m not out looking for attention. I’m telling things the way they are. The same way you’d tell me about how you went down to the shops I’ll tell you about how I had to suck it up and drive to the doctors today to get my referral to the breast cancer clinic. They still have no fucking idea what’s going on with my right breast lactating and being sent to any clinic with the word ‘cancer’ in it’s name is scary enough, but straight after all these heart issues, I just feel like I’m on one giant asshole roller coaster. I don’t want a pat on the shoulder and I don’t need placating. I want you to understand what it’s like. I want a hug when I can stand it and I want you to forgive me my fuckups and realise that there’s more going on than what you can see on the surface. There is SO much I don’t tell you, my friends, because I don’t want to cause worry. Because I see you have enough going on in your own lives without needing to hear my own issues. Have you ever been told that you’re too much work as a friend or as a partner? Have you ever had people turn on you for something you have no control over? Have you ever been blamed for something beyond your reach? Then you should have an idea why I keep to myself. I have lost more friends than I have fingers since I’ve become sick, all because they jump to conclusions, assumptions and petty bullshit rather than actually finding out what the hell is going on in my life.

If I didn’t want to see you or hang out with you, I’d tell you to your face. Give me credit enough for that, at least. If I didn’t want to talk to you, I wouldn’t. I don’t make excuses. I genuinely can’t do things. If I didn’t want to be your friend, then we wouldn’t have ever started.

 

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“The misery state”

First image post from my phone. Not the same as my usual comics, but it will have to do.

Really awfully sick at the moment. Though we managed to go to the Easter Show on Friday (which was amazing, but for another post) I can’t imagine being caught out in the rain or being around that many people was good for me, because three days later, I’m stuck in bed and wheezing through sinus, chest and ear gunk and dealing in the worst pain flare I’ve ever had.

Last night I went from simply feeling under the weather to having a 9.5 on my pain scale. Why no 10? I refuse to tempt fate by calling anything a 10 because, as my luck goes, the moment I do is the moment my body tries to out do itself in that area. Suffice to say I spent last night sobbing like a bitch, needing help with everything and trying to simply be comatose. Even the Endone didn’t help last night.

Naturally this also comes in the two weeks before my big event, so I’m doing my best not to stress and fret over that, too.

Any hoo. I’m going to try and get some sleep and hope the sludge monster that’s taken up residence in my head sods off. I’m also behind on reading all your blogs, so I’ll play catch up when I feel less like Satan’s arse hole.