This weekend I really pushed the boat out and had a thrilling time going in to hospital on Sunday – a Sunday! – for a last minute procedure. I got the call on Friday so I figured it would be best to get it done out of the way, and I was grateful to be slotted in as my appointment for later in the month had been cancelled.
I was having treatment for high grade/severe cell changes, so it was only a little procedure but it had to be done under general anaesthetic. I thought I was doing okay in the morning, getting in at 8 and then finding I was first to go in so I wouldn’t have to wait around (such a blessing as I felt awful and uncomfortable). I wasn’t overly concerned about the procedure either, so what happened later on came out of the blue. I woke up and was alert pretty quickly out of recovery, with only a little discomfort from the procedure that the rest of my pain overshadowed anyway.
Then something broke. I think I broke. I can’t even blame the drugs and morphine because aside from the general anaesthetic I didn’t have any! I started getting increasingly stressy about things and I couldn’t turn off all the tiny, ridiculous thoughts going through my head. Suddenly, I was overthinking the smallest of things and getting so annoyed.
It was a little thing that tipped me over the edge. I then ended up snapping, only a little, at my mother on the phone. I felt awful. My folks tend to go over the same little things repetitively and sweat the small stuff fairly regularly, and perhaps that’s rubbed off on me and continues the cycle. My brain wouldn’t slow down and every little thing kept coming at me, as well as some of the bigger things. Perhaps it was sparked a little by all of the well-meaning questions and conversation starters from the various nurses that morning – what job do I do (“I got fired for being off sick for my 4th op”), whether I had plans to see friends this week (“I don’t have anyone I hang out with”), where I last went on holiday (“never been on a proper holiday”) etc etc.
The small things and the big things collided, and before I knew it, all of the stresses, the worries, the depression and frustration of years being ill and fobbed off, of a surgery gone wrong, of having a stoma… Everything just hit me.
I was crying and snotty and then the panic kicked in. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was suffocating, and I knew the feeling and what was happening but I couldn’t seem to stop it. A patient shouted for help, and a nurse rushed over thinking I was having a heart attack. Luckily, a wonderful agency nurse (he swore he didn’t get paid as much as the media make out agency workers do!), seemed to realise what was happening.
I hadn’t had a panic attack in a long time, and I’d almost forgotten the fear that comes with it. Oxygen mask on, the agency guy sat with me for a good half an hour having a chat. I felt like I was losing my mind. He said it was surprising I hadn’t broken sooner and described me, from what he knew of my medical history and everything I’d lost, as a “bird in a cage”. Perhaps that’s true. So many things can slip out of your control and constrain your choices and options, leaving you trapped mentally and physically. I hope that, in the not too distant future, I can get out of that cage a little.
That was my Sunday. How was yours? Whatever you did over the weekend, whether it was skydiving, rescuing pandas or resting in bed in your pajamas, I hope you had a decent day. Thanks for reading what has turned out to be a bit of a ramble! x