Don’t fucking cry

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This isn’t a double post, I swear. I just had my second hospital visit in the past two weeks. The first one was for pneumonia, the second for an allergic reaction to pneumonia meds. Great to see that my immune system is playing ball.

On Sunday night I notice I keep itching. Luckily I’ll soon understand why, as I wake up the following morning with the most hideous rash imaginable. It’s everywhere, literally from my feet up to my forehead. My skin is hard, rough and multi-coloured. And the itch. Dear god, the itch. It’s like my body is on fire.

I look like fucking Freddy Kruger.

The GP sends me home with over the counter antihistamines and paracetamol. Dandy but the next morning my joints are so inflamed and swollen I can’t walk. I call the NHS 111 and the operator asks me am I able to attend my closest A&E half an hour’s drive away.

“Not without an ambulance, as I can’t move,” I tell her.

Someone will ring me back.

About twenty minutes later I’m in so much agony that I can’t take it anymore. I call them again. The second operator is snappy with me.

“It says here that you’ve refused to attend A&E.”

“I haven’t refused to attend the A&E,” I practically hiss at this point. “I said that I can’t make it there without an ambulance as I can’t walk.”

“Would you like to be reassessed?”

“Yes please.”

Finally we decide that an ambulance would be in order. I crawl to unlock the front door and have a nice lie down on the floor as the bed has suddenly moved beyond all reach. Soon two paramedics arrive. They talk among themselves and ask me questions, can’t remember what. Every once in a while I feel a needle and wince as I have an IV inserted into the same hand yet again.

Pink this time. My favourite colour is pink.

My phone keeps ringing and ringing and I painstakingly get it out of my bag to tell my mum I’ll call her later. Bit of a situation here.

I’m pretty out of it by this point. Every once in a while one of them asks am I still there and I make some sort of a sound. I tell the paramedics I feel sick and I hear one of them go through my cupboards, trying to find something vomit-appropriate.

Then I have a sauce pan thrust in front of my face.

“It’s better than nothing.”

My mum’s sauce pan.

Turns out that I don’t need it but I’m barely conscious as it’s time for us to get out. I have a staircase outside the flat and both of them have to hold me up as we make our way down to the bed they’ve wheeled out there.

“Let’s go amber, she’s only stable because what we gave her.”

I finally got my blue lights.

At the A&E the first person to look at me is someone who specialises on knees. What a job. When she lifts the blanket I can practically hear her expression.

“Oh bless you.”

The nurses and doctors bustling around are trying to move me without hurting me. It’s not easy. The slightest pressure or brush of a blanket hurts. As the blood pressure meter squeezes around my arm I let out such a blood-curling scream that one nurse rushes to turn the whole machine off.

Pain relief is a hot potato. I can’t remember the exact time I last took paracetamol. Finally we agree it must’ve been more than four hours ago. But the IV drip doesn’t help. Even when they say that it’s used after surgeries. It makes no difference. It’s like I’m laying in a fire pit that’s inside me and I can’t do anything to make it better, only make it worse. With every brush of movement. With every twitch. I cry and cry.

“Ida, we can’t get a doctor to sign off your pain relief until later,” a nurse says with a strict voice.

I let out such a wail that half the hospital must have heard it.

Later? What is later?!

Finally after what seems like forever a man comes up to me, introducing himself as a doctor and starts asking me the same questions everyone else have. What have you taken when did you start what is it called how many hours.

Finally I can’t answer anything anymore, I just cry. I’m again in that hospital room I was in a year ago when I was trying to convince the nurse in charge to let me go so I could go kill myself. Then the bed could be freed.

IwannadieIwannadieIdontwantthislifeIwannadie.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he keeps saying. “What can I do? How can I help you? Tell me.”

Just give me a fucking needle I’ll puncture my heart myself.

The doctor makes a quick escape. I can hear him talking to the strict nurse. Something about pain relief. The strict-sounding nurse says something.

“But she’s crying,” he pleads.

The finally someone shoves some sort of glass container in my mouth, like a water bottle guinea pigs use.

“Swallow.”

And I do.

Morphine doesn’t bring the relief I imagined it would. It still hurts when nurses wheel me to the ward and when they help me to move beds. My knees don’t bend at this point. It takes three people to move me from one bed to the next.

The lady in the bed next to me gives me a straw so I can drink water.

Pretty damn decent of her.

She also gifts me a pair of earplugs. Two old ladies at our ward are confused and often yell.

The ear plugs were brought to her by her gay cousin. I don’t know what his sexuality has got to do with it but luckily they also service none-gay ears.

The following hours are a bit of a blur. My best memory is from the next morning when I have my first experience of taking a shower with a nurse there to help me. I notice she is an apprentice. I guess you get a pass from showers with Freddy Kruger as you move up the ladder.

I tell her I signed the petition for nurses-in-training to be paid minimum wage.

She says thank you.

I tell her she and her kind are the backbone of the healthcare system.

She dries my back very gently.

A young girl has arrived in the ward after me. I guess that she’s there for a mental health reason. I don’t know why. Maybe you develop some sort of a sixth sense. Takes one to know one.

My doubts are confirmed when a young woman with multi-coloured hair walks to her bed.

“Shall we go to another room? You can bring your cuppa.”

That’s what they did at the ward as well. Also I recognise the cover of the leaflet left on her table.

When we’re alone, I talk to her.

“It’s none of my business but I was at a psych ward for three months. It does get better.”

I feel like such a hypocrite because I’ve had more suicidal thoughts in the past 24 hours than I’ve had in the past year.

She doesn’t say anything. Just nods.

When the girl is picked up, she smiles at me on her way to the door and says bye.

I feel like I’ve done a good thing.

Steroids work really well. During the course of the day I’m able to walk unaided. That’s what I wanted. I call a mate to pick me up. The second trip she’s made in two weeks.

I ask the doctor in charge am I allergic to penicillin or codeine.

“Just don’t take either of them,” she says.

It’s broccoli and cauliflower casserole. The sharp edges of melted cheese scratch my throat. Have to keep drinking water.

Don’t cry.

I force myself to bite and swallow. My mate should be here in fifteen minutes.

Don’t you fucking cry. 

9 comments

  1. Sorry to read this, that sounds like a super tough week. That’s really nice of you to say something to that girl, you probably made more of a difference than you know. Hope you get better soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One might think that – oh, I dunno – they’d bloody well test your blood to see what it is you’re allergic to. Life threatening reactions and all that hell. Put it in your charts and such, provide actual flaming follow up healthcare…

    I’m sorry you’ve been through this. I truly am. I’m also thankful that you found kindness on the ward, and were able to be kind as well, despite your misery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize my insanity made for anaphylactic reactions. They should have taught me that 26 years ago in ICU RN school. Those wenches. They need to keep their judgment and actually take care of the patient. Gentle hugs to you. I’ve been there far too many times.

    Liked by 1 person

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