People who know me including my wonderful social media followers, will say (I hope) that I am a very upbeat person, sharing positivity, goals and dreams being set and achieved and generally that I am an optimistic and happy person who embraces life to the full. I’ve always shared so much positivity and my personal achievements on Fb and its very rare for me to post low moments or dwell on anything negative. What’s the point? Who wants to read about me feeling sorry for myself? I believe if we share negativity we will attract more of the same. Social media isn’t the place to whinge…. Close friends and husbands are the ones for this if it has to be done at all!!
However, the reality of some of my hospital experience is quite shocking and was not shared amongst friends or social media because nothing prepared me for it and it seemed inappropriate or just too shocking to me to share. I will, however, be writing in a little more detail in the forthcoming few blogs, to support anyone who has been, may ever be, or has ever known anyone to go through a hospital experience or injury similar to mine. Ignore the next two blogs if you wish to bypass this!!
The early weeks after the operation are a bit of a blur and yes, the mind has the proficient ability to blank out memory of the pain.. a bit like childbirth! I do, however, remember on one occasion yelling at the nurses to let me phone Martin at midnight and was crying (or maybe screaming) down the phone to him to get over and be with me saying it was worse than childbirth, put me out of my misery and how could he let me be going through it alone! I was given a large dose of Morphine and probably something else too and the next thing it was the morning. Poor Martin probably had no sleep! Apparently, I was pretty horrible to Martin on his early visits to see me, which upsets me because obviously he has been the most amazing support and pillar of strength to me throughout this journey. As well as trying to run our new café in the busiest of seasons, manage our home, dogs and my daughter whilst dealing with the stress of our new set of circumstances, he was trying to find time to travel the hour or so journey to the hospital, spend at least half an hour trying to park to come and visit me!
I was on complete flat bed rest for the first 3 weeks, which entailed quite a few difficulties… least of all being spoon fed or drinking from a straw. I found it quite claustrophobic with the sides of a hospital bed up and only seeing the ceiling. Martin came up trumps and found an ingenious bag from amazon which I would recommend to anyone in this situation as it fixes to the side of the bed (I did end up with green dyed arms by lying against it), but it soon became my comfort blanket with all my valuable items in it such as mobile phone, back scratcher, tissues, glasses etc.
Some weird and wonderful gifts started arriving from friends and supporters in the early weeks too, like playdoh (for hand dexterity despite my hands having full function) and the most bizarre glasses enabling me to spy (not so subtly) on other patients on the ward!
Cards started arriving by the dozen and the support I started to receive on social media spurred me to progress and share as much as possible.
I also had an array of different visitors ranging from those who just wanted to turn up to find out ‘the gossip’ and how on earth had this happened to me?, those who just sat and stared down at me from my bedside barely saying a word but kind of watching me sympathetically like I was a corpse in a chapel of rest, and then those who kindly took care of my needs, like shaving my legs and giving me hugs and words of encouragement! One thing’s for sure….. in the middle of a heatwave on a hospital ward with no air conditioning… you DON’T want chocolate being brought to you!
I found it strange how the first question that many people asked me was ‘Do you get bored?’ Well only a ‘well’ person would think this, imagining themselves lying flat in normal life maybe after a bout of flu or something. However, for me, it was hour by hour finding some relief with pain meds, having blood pressure and temperature taken every two hours, bed rolls every 3 hours ( a process with 3 nurses on one side of me and 1 the other side and rolling me onto my side involving a horrific sensation of my back being left on the bed and me yelling obscenities, only to have my back checked for sores and then rolled back again). All these checks were 24/7 plus I was constantly being wheeled off for scans or x-rays and having bloods taken.
In between all of this I would drift in and out of morphine induced sleep and on the rare occasions when I was pain free AND awake, I would be on my phone updating on social media or messaging Martin with a list of demands! So as you can see…. Boredom wasn’t an issue!
I decided very early on to start keeping a gratitude diary challenging myself to write 3 positive things a day which I continued for my entire stay whilst in the N & N hospital. Here are my first few entries… which were extremely difficult to write upside down! It shows my mindset was going to be very determined from early on… and this did set me off in good stead for my amazing progress to follow I believe.
During these first few weeks, I hardly ate anything so weight was dropping off me and yet my stomach was growing larger and larger and becoming distended like pictures I’d seen of malnourished children from 3rdworld countries! I was being given dozens of laxatives and stool softeners as well as all my other concoction of drugs… the pain in my abdomen just increased. I was given anti-sickness when my body started to try and eliminate from the upper end! I had a catheter in place and a very uncomfortable pad laid underneath me and it really didn’t register that when things were to finally happen my only option was for it to take place in the bed…. since spinal patients are NOT allowed a bed pan! Yurrrgh. I held on for 3 long weeks, and when a good friend of mine visited and told me during a brief hospital stay she was presented with the same predicament she held off until she got back home and could go on a toilet, I soon realised I wasn’t going to have this luxury as I wasn’t going to be going home anytime soon!
By far the worse part of my entire experience was yet to come…..