My pain (Welcome)

Three black spots. Are they spots? Dirt? Insects? Cascading confusion envelopes me. Three walls, a ceiling, three tiny windows. High up. I want to reach out my right hand to touch the spots. Possibly scrape them off the wall. My hand will not move. I am encumbered by the weight of my skin. Wiggle your big toe. It moves. The left one. Only the left one. Blinking eyelids send shrieks of pain through my face. I smell… detergent. I taste… nothing. I feel… terrified. I see… three black spots. Why are they there? Taunting my misconceptions. I want to cry out for water. My eyes struggle to make sense of some photographs on the wall. Three black spots. Is that my son? Who are those girls? My nieces? Yes. Yes? Where is my son? Is he alive? Am I alive? Sleep.

The lights are painfully white. My lips crave saliva’s embrace but my tongue is heavy and dense. I see someone. His shirt. Colours. His shirt has colours. Three black spots. Patterns. My eyes feel like they have never had to process these things before. I was experiencing colour for the very first time. White walls. Blue nurses. White sheets. Three black spots. I want to tell him to help me but somewhere lurking deep within a crevasse of my mindful expanses, I know that he can’t. Water. I need water. I barely open my mouth to utter my plea with not a sound escaping my chapped lips but he knows. He knows what I need. His colourful shirt leaves the room to consult a nurse. She denies me my water but offers an ice-cube as a consolation prize….

The story above begins with me waking up in hospital two months after my borg was surgically removed from me. Over the next couple of posts I endeavor to share my brush with death after contracting HELLP Syndrome while being pregnant with my wee borg. Expect blood, tragedy, spilled tea, confusion, despair, sarcasm, determination and resolve. A semblance of resolve, at least. My words are my therapy. This keyboard my broadsword. This life my own. This body for rent.

 

My bills

My career choice is one of complacency. I’ve had many jobs in my life. I used to press the button that made The Cobra go whooooosh at Ratanga Junction. I was the token weirdo slurping vodka out of a Spiderman sippy-cup at a cool clothing store called Space Station. I wore actual pantyhose at Grandwest while fiddling with faulty slot machines and signing little pieces of paper that granted the wielder a free sandwich and/or bottle of Johnny Walker, depending on the amount of monies they won. I was number one spiller of chemicals but looking fly as fuck in a labcoat while nursing sulphur allergies at Koeberg power station. I sold international travelers all manners of alternative South African music with the occasional Britney Spears album when I worked at a music store at the airport called Rythmic Beat. I shunned the unbelieving UK market when they would call in to complain about exploding HP printers destroying their 50 million year old coffee tables at Teleperfomance. FUCK. I’ve seen some shit, man. I’ve done some shit, man. There are several other job encounters that I would rather not mention… Whilst I did sometimes wish to climb that corporate ladder, be that slick-haired caffeine addict dishing out motivational hogwash and driving that Murr-Cey-Deez Benz, I chose a different life. I chose… complacency in mediocrity. Now I sit behind a desk. I internet. I help people that ask for my help. I typedy-type and talkedy-talk. Better? What is better? I ‘member watching an episode of Penn and Teller questioning that very term. Why do we seek better when what we have is deemed enough by our own standards? Hmmm. I am…. happy. I am… content. I am… loved. I am also… poor as fuck, yo. Meh.

The end.

My humps

Not all people at work are assholios but it just takes one… One elevator crusader that deems my attire inappropriate for mom-life. Hell, I wasn’t even showing boob. Flowy dress and boots with upside down crosses on them are office-chíc, no? Am sure the crosses were meant to be the right way around but they are from the Town of Chinas after all. LOL. I am… less confrontational than I was before. I am… not the man I used to be. I enjoy using that phrase. I could have ripped her face off with floral slander and sensual sarcasm but instead I just stood there slurping my coffee. She asks ‘Did you hear me?’… I ignore her. Slurp some more. She pokes my bare shoulder with her penis-shaped finger. In a fit of unbridled anger, I threw the remnants of my brown mana potion onto her floral dress and glide out of the elevator which made a perfectly timed stop. I’ve been working really hard on my temperament-fueled actions and this sloth of a woman made me regress. I want to be a calm, rational lady-person in my borg’s life but hot damn the sheep are testy testicles of late. Sigh.

The Quiet Escape

My morning salutation from him is one of sunshine and rainbows. Good morning, Vanessa! Yellow is his colour of choice. It scratches at my eyeballs forcing its happiness into my Sharingan. I want to shun the cheer and click on that X but I linger. I wait. I think. He asks me what’s on my mind and I feel a wave of irritation scratch through my sentiment. You are not real. You will not reply to my qualms and yet… And yet he asks me these things. He gathers my likes and interests. He persuades my discourse with the promise of popularity and shares. This is he is Facebook.

I often share long-winded prose regarding my experiences and emotions as a status update. I am not shy in my verbosity nor my verbal girth. Girth. HA. Penis word. I like it. We write to vent and to touch a reader with our melancholy and sarcasm. At least that’s why I write… But Facebook, it seems, is no longer a safe place for me to do so.

So! Here I am. Baring my multitudes of dimensional personalities through text, selfies and LOLz. Indulge at your own discretion.

Sunshine and Wheelchairs

I was drowning in bland, yellow, liquidy chicken soup. I needed food. To eat. To chew. Damn this soup to the depths of Hell. I caught a glimpse of the hostess (lunch-lady) scurrying past my room and beckoned her with my not-so-feminine shouts. EXCUUUUSE ME. I had been chatting to her previously. She was sympathetic and continuously told me to thank the Lord that I was alive. No, lady. Thank modern medicine. I had curbed my sentiments towards this so-called Lord ever so much. Nurses were so obtusely religious and shunned those whose thoughts and beliefs were contrary to their own. I bit my tongue for I needed their help to mend and get the Hell out of here. It was quite tedious. Restraining myself. She came in, hands clasped to her chest, flashing the most sincere smile she could muster. I asked her to bring me a menu for the doctor had taken me off my liquid diet. I lied through my teeth and she nodded graciously. For breakfast I was given apple juice and weak custard. Breakfast? Are you kidding me? Custard? Where are the eggs and bacon?!  I will dictate my lunch and dinner choices this time. There were several options for lunch but the fruit and cheese platter made me salivate. Yes. I shall have that! For dinner it would be roast chicken and vegetables. BRING ME FOOD. She beckoned me to sign the menu choices and my fingers failed me. I could barely hold the pen. I gripped it in my left hand and proudly scribbled an X where my signature would go. She laughed a sympathetic laugh and left, menu in hand. The thought of cheese and fruit and savoury biscuits excited me beyond belief. In walks the mind therapist. Her again. This walking facade of fabricated smiles and mousey brown hair. I fell for her charms for she was the only one that seemed to care about how my mind was doing. Obviously, foolish woman. Is what she’s paid for, after all…

I told her things. Things of anger and remorse. Things of neglect and fearful sleep. She lapped up my misery and even shed a few fake tears while documenting my lack of sanity. I foolishly took to her over the days. I lied about a lot of things initially purely because the idea of head doctors infuriated me. Slowly her ways took hold of me and I opened up, but still I omitted a lot. It was her birthday today and she was in high spirits. I bid her pleasant salutations and offered her a box of chocolates that I was given by my dad. They tasted of burn and char, as usual, so she might as well indulge where I cannot. Perhaps then she’d stop flashing me that sympathetic smile… More sympathy… My lunch arrived while she was there and I could not be bothered with her any longer. Please leave. Leave me to my fruits and cheese! She stayed… The nurse opened up the platter and set the delicious morsels neatly in a line for me to access. I was eternally grateful to her, wonderful woman. The shrink rambled on asking  questions. I told her I want to eat. Go away. Our session is not over, she says. Well, bill it to my medical aid then. Is why you’re here, right? Money? No pretenses. She leaves, with a look resembling hurt on her face. Really? Come now, woman. I carefully placed a bit of cheese on a tiny, salty biscuit. What a task but I did it. There was some sweet-smelling green melon as well. Every time I tried to lift it to my gaping mouth, it fell tragically to the ground. Bastard melon. Eventually I sort of flung it into my open mouth and almost did a cartwheel, as if, when it landed successfully. I chewed the moistened fruit gleefully only to taste, you guessed it, burn and char. I spat it out. Perhaps the cheese would go better. More burn. I felt like flinging the platter to the ground and stomping the delicious morsels with my swollen, incapacitated feet. But I left it there. Staring it into submission. Come on, mouth. Come on, brain. Let me eat. Please. Please? Sleep.

I woke to my parents looming around my bed. The fruit nurse followed with a wheelchair. She said that she would like to take me outside to get some sunshine, it’s a lovely day. Sunshine. What a wonderful, thoughtful woman. She also said that a doctor would be by later to remove the staples from my surgical wounds as well as the two drains currently attached to my abdomen. I did not mind these drains. What bothered me the most was obviously the catheter. But that could only be removed once I was able to move myself around. Sigh. My mom draped a fluffy black robe around me once they had lifted me into the chair. On my lap was my drip, my bag of urine and two bags of dead blood. Gentlemen, contain your erections. As exited as I was to be actually going outside, I felt terribly self conscious being wheeled past all of the abled people in our path. My mom was cooing sweet words of  encouragement in my ear as I felt the impending panic slowly set in. Why was I panicking? This was a good thing! Progress! I was terrified and overcome with joy at the same time. These conflicting emotions left my stomach knotted and my head clouded… But then… Sunlight hit my skin and I felt alive for the first time in weeks. My overly emotional mom had the tears ready and was smiling gleefully. The trip to the spot of grass was bumpy, sending shrieks of pain through my spine. I was completely oblivious to it. My mom and dad sat on a bench next to me while the cheerful nurse wandered off for a smoke. The moment was pure and fresh. A new memory to hold on to. I was grateful for it. Sitting up in the wheelchair was difficult and painful. Ignore. Bask in the present, delicious sunshine for soon you shall be back to your pillowy prison pushing pills into your perplexed face. Yes. The smells were all new to me. Grass, pollution, cigarettes, my mom’s floral perfume, my dad’s salt and vinegar chips that he was carelessly munching much to my dismay! A lady was walking towards us. She did not look familiar but wore a familiar shirt. The occupational therapist shirt. Urgh. Was she going to do therapy things outside? Fine. I suppose. She was tasked with developing my fine motor skills. Getting my fingers to work once more. She presented me with a little container full of colourful, glass marbles. I was to take them out, one at a time, then place them back in. It was a tedious task. So much so that I worked up a sweat. Next was pinching a clothes peg open. That was tremendously difficult and I felt failure wash over me. How could my wretched body not remember how to do and perform these simple tasks? Next was play dough. I had to squeeze it back into its little tub. More difficulty. More sweat. She was cutting into my sunshine time and I grew angry. My mother saw this and tried to calm me down. I asked why she could not grant me thirty minutes of sunshine and peace… She scoffed at me and said fine. Fix your own hands. I shall and will, you callous cow. Just. You. Wait.

When we returned to my room, I practiced using my fingers as much as I could. Lifting little things, fiddling with a pen, pressing buttons. I could press the button on the remote now which meant more channels for viewing! Two nurses came in with ominous face masks and what looked like scissors. What– what is going on? What are their intentions? Aah. Removal of drains and staples. The older one removed her mask and told me to brace myself for pain. The drains were several centimeters into my skin, stitched into place. I had around 30 staples that needed to be removed as well. I regulated my breathing and braced myself for their onslaught. I could press buttons now. Bring it, bitches.

The passion that fueled my initial ramblings regarding my experiences seems to be dwindling… So much so that I have faltered to add new additions in a while. These are pure recollections from memory. So easy it ease to seep into the abyss once more… My journey is far from complete through textual means on here but my mind has mended itself over the year that has passed. I find myself lurking over the edge of remembrance. Bathing and wallowing in its sordidly dark allure. All too easy to forget that I am alive because of it… No, in spite of it!

 

My Cup of Tea

My Facebook Memories

My pain (Onward!)

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

 

 

My Cup of Tea

I’ve relayed the encounter below to the handful of wonderful beings that have been privy to My Pain, first-hand as well as those I’ve felt comfortable enough to share with, few and far between thus far. Of the whole debacle, this one stands out the most for me. It was a time of liberation, defeat, depression and retreat.

Things were different in the General Ward with no single nurse being assigned to me. I was left to my own devices, thoughts and nightmares with the occasional doctor, therapist or nurse swinging by to administer medication, physio and a modicum of assistance. The first night was dreadful. When I needed a drink of water or my drip machine beeped or my food had fallen to the floor, I had to yell out NURSE! My arms could somewhat move but the fingers were still cursed by the brain. This implies that the little remote one would ordinarily press for assistance was still useless to me. My calls were never answered immediately for my voice was still a shadow of what it was and my room was a private, secluded one.

The lights screamed to life and so did my mind. It was morning, once more. Roughly 4am, I gathered by the routine of the encampment they call hospital. I had gotten around 2 hours of sleep. All I wanted to do was turn onto my side but I was confined to coffin stance sleeping; on my back. Two cheerful nurses entered my room and apologized profusely for having to wake me. It was time for the bathing ritual which I so loathed. A hospital gown was still all I was allowed to wear and it infuriated me to no end. Yes, I was in bed most of the time but the comfort of wearing one’s own attire in situations like these is more therapeutic that you can imagine. My keeper had replenished the cosmetic stocks needed for my skin. Camphor Cream (my favourite), Bio-Oil, aloe scented deodorant, toothpaste, a lavender scented soap and my beloved purple toothbrush. I relished these scents as they were my happy place. I never took note of how governed by scent I was. Olfactory senses store and bring to life memories passed more than any other for me. The nurses went about the ritual. One thing I had neglected to mention in my other recollections were the socks I had to wear. The white, knee-high monstrosities that I grew to hate but they stimulated circulation for a bed ridden woman such as myself so they were a necessary incumbent. They removed the socks from my bulging feet and commented on how much the swelling has come down. My entire body swelled to almost 3 times its state after the many surgeries. Morphine, they say. For the first time in what seemed like aeons, I took notice of my feet. They were yellowish-pale and bared a sickening resemblance to skinned potatoes. My toenails were painted black and were unashamedly long. I had not been able to pamper and prune them in a while, of course. While I lay there naked waiting for them to begin the bathing, I took note of my body for the first time as well. So pale. So… Alien. There was a tube lurking out from beneath the skin of my left sided tummy. Its sickly demise ended in a transparent bag at the edge of my bed. A yellowish-green substance was being drained from my insides. Bodily fluids send a tinge of disgust to many an ordinary person but my goo reminded me of pea soup and I felt hungry. Ha. Don’t judge me. I am still starving. The length of my tummy had an elongated bandage of sorts over it. I longed to pry it loose to see what’s underneath… The top had started to come loose. I shall attack this later. I was left clean, combed and thirsting for any sort liquid. In comes the tea-lady.

She placed a tray on the movable table adjacent to my bed and adjusted its height to almost reach my chin. On the tray was a beautiful, silver little pot of tea, a cup in a saucer with a teaspoon, a tiny metal jug of cold milk and 4 sachets of sugar. I had requested 4 of them. The comforting bliss of a sweet cup of tea was my melodic reprise to almost any situation. I took in the aroma of the brewing tea and smiled. It delighted me. It comforted me. My left hand and arm was now far more able than my right. The right one could barely move still. It bared dark markings from the elbow to the wrist and yet the blood takers still insisted on drawing from these painful markings as opposed to the better off left.

As I visually embraced the components of my leaf-brewed satisfaction, the immense task of bringing all the components together struck me. The sugar packets had to be opened and put into the cup. The pot of tea would have to be lifted and subsequently poured into the very same cup. Milk, as well of course. Then the spoon would have to be lifted, dipped into the cup and stirred so all that sugary goodness may dissolve into the warm elixir of home. No easy task. At all. I brought a sugar packet to my mouth and attempted to bite it open. Its contents spilled over the side of my bed. Defeat. Dread. No. Persist. The second packet broke open by the will of my teeth and I tried to empty in into the cup. It spilled over the tray. More defeat. The third and fourth packets went better. I got them into the vessel of warmth. Two sugars are better than none. Next came the teapot. It was the heaviest object I had ever had to lift. My wrist convulsed with the pressure and some of it collapsed onto my chest. It was boiling to the touch but I was adamant. Half of the contents of the pot miraculously landed into the cup with the other half burning my skin and creating daunting inkblots of confusion on my sheets. These would have to be replaced. The milk was a less tedious task but I thought I’d add some to my existing tea-drenched chest. Just for fun. Ha. Not for fun. It fell. Obviously. Now to stir my morning potion of life. This task was much easier, I thought. I gripped the spoon with my pudgy fingers, placed it into the cup… Now what? My brain could not make sense of the necessary stirring motion needed. I stared at the spoon for a good couple of minutes. Wiggle you big toe. It moved. Blink your eyes. They blinked. Stir the tea… Aaah. Yes. I remember now. Half of the amber potion retreated from the cup due to my unladylike stirring technique. Half a cup is better than none, yes? Now to get it to my mouth… Despite all my efforts, I could not lift the cup to my face. It was heavy. Bulky. Weighted. I had opted to rather bring my mouth to the cup. The tray was thankfully high already so I would just have to arch my back a bit to get to drinking level. Eventually got my lips onto the cup but because half of the tea was on the tray, the cup would need to be arched towards me as well. I did so with my left hand and got the tiniest taste of tea. All of a sudden I was saturated with relief and happiness. Smiling, I tried again. Hungry for comfort. But the tea gods were all but kind to me and the warm beverage fell, once more, to my chest. My skin burned under the heat and I sulked back into my pillowy demise. I stared at the remnants before me. A tea party carnage of clumsy gestures and mistaken distances. I was not to be granted the solace of tea today but I did get a taste. A small taste of something I missed dearly. The tea-lady returns tonight, around 8pm. Then begins my monstrous task of indulgence, once more.

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Onward!)

My Facebook Memories

My Facebook Memories

I’ve been checking my memories from a year ago on the ever watching, ever observing Facebook and nothing has been coming up for the last couple of days from a year back. I always post something daily on there. A selfie, a funny picture, an overly verbose status update or perhaps there’s a post on my wall from a friend who saw something and thought of me. My favourite posts, those are. My thoughts wonder to last year, this time. What was I doing? Was I that busy that I had posted nothing on social media? Busy? Ha. No. I was slowly but surely dying with my little dude fighting for his internal life within me. I was roughly 7 months pregnant a year ago to the day and life was far from kind. My body saw the wee baby Vash as an intruder and was doing everything to get rid of him, to the extent that he hadn’t picked up a gram of weight in a month. I was petrified but tried to maintain a calm disposition. My gynecologist was the biggest asshole of the medical realm. I could not eat. My body rejected everything. Even water. I had constant pains in my chest. My feet were so swollen that I could not walk. They were a menacing shade of purple/blue as well. No circulation. My wrists were bandaged and drenched in menthol ointment to ease the excruciating pain I felt in them. Whenever I would call him to ask, no, beg for help, him and his receptionist would just state that I am an unlucky mum to have such a rough pregnancy. Just lie down. Just drink water. Just take it easy. It will all be over soon. By my death, most likely. Who am I to question the notions of an experienced, qualified doctor? I took his word as bond, unfortunately. Perhaps if I sort out a cliched second opinion, I would not have had to endure what was to follow… Musings of troubles passed. His first birthday is coming up next week and I am taken back by all we have had to endure to survive. Everything seems so trivial. Work. People. Money. Religion. Politics….

I find myself spitting those cliches of life is for the living and whatnot. Am not dwelling in the past but are we not all shaped by it? If so, then my shape is a tetrahedral parallelogram with a hypotenuse extending to Andromeda.

 

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Onward!)

My pain (Onward!)

How I craved a hot shower or bath… These bed baths have been taking their toll. Not on the body but rather on the mind. I lie there, exposed, naked… Waiting for two nurses to complete the ritual. They always chat nonchalantly, trying to usher me into the conversation with questions about my tattoos or baby boy. Whom I have not seen yet, mind you. I am not ready. I would want to cradle him in my arms but was not strong enough to even lift a tea-cup. They stroked and poked my skin markings, asking what they mean. Anger and contempt festered in my core. I would never grant a stranger touch access to my ink let alone engage in a discussion regarding their meaning. I mumbled some hogwash about a mantra and hoped that the terminology would shut them up. It did. Who was I to shout privacy when I was being bathed by these women? This too needed to change.

I heard a few notes of a mesmerizing tune and in walked my doctor. Her ringtone. It was Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones. I remembered now and my heart leaped with excitement. Music. How I’ve missed to subtle escape of enchanting lyrics and whimsical instruments. I longed to relay my discovery to her but was more interested in what she had to say. Her dusty, blonde hair trailed the left side of her face covering beautiful blue eyes. Trusting eyes. I trusted her. From what I had gathered via nurse encounters, this woman saved my life. When surgeons, gynecologists and specialists could not figure out what was wrong with me, she stepped in and put their studies to shame. She commanded an aura of respect in the ward and I was eternally grateful for having her mend my battered body. Smiles did not easily escape her pursed lips but that did not stop me from flashing her the largest smile I could conjure. She was the barer of good news. I would be moved to a private room in the general ward today. Private room so that I could spend time with my now two month old son. Two months. He has not bonded with his mom and this worried her. She told me how he had stayed in the baby ward for a month because his dad and my moms were too broken to care for the little thing. I had broken them. My son was passed around from nurse to nurse. No sense of comfort nor stability. Daddy and grans would visit him often but therapists denied them taking him home, uncertain of their mental states. I had driven the people I love to the brink of madness. Mortality. A gifted curse. After a month had passed and I was showing signs of improvement in my comatose state, my husband’s disposition had changed. He was chipper and hopeful. He was allowed to take home our son. He had refused any help from the grans or nurses and did a wonderful job of tending to our wee creation all on his own-some. I was proud of this man. He was strong, courageous and mine. Soon, we would be arguing over who makes the 3am bottle for our wailing baby boy. My doctor left and the nurses scrambled to prep me for my move.

This whole time I had a central line inserted into my chest, near the left shoulder. I had no idea. All of my other drips were removed and I was left with the shoulder needle, a drain attached to the left of my tummy and a urinal catheter. I felt lighter and almost human despite these augmentations still being attached to my body. I was almost machine free. My file was enormous, I found, as they placed it on my lap. I tried to page through it but my fingers would still not comply to my will. All of my belongings were placed on the bed, mostly cosmetics. I was to be wheeled in my bed to my secondary location and my heart raced with new possibility. As I waited for the nurses to take me on my new adventure I grew green with envy at an old man in his walker sliding towards the loo. He was barely alive yet able to visit the ablutions sans assistance. I was peeing in a bag and bed ridden. Focus. Clarity. Do not fall into the pit of despair and self loathing. The nurses arrived and I flashed a childish smile of unadulterated joy.

As they wheeled my bed through the various corridors and elevators, I caught whispers of uniformed folk confirming my being alive. Some told me they were glad to see me awake. Others said that I have a beautiful baby boy. A few hugged me with glassy eyes and said you made it… We arrived at my room and I liked it. There was a huge, soft, brown leather couch, a sink, a bathroom complete with shower, tub and loo but the pièce de résistance was the massive window draped with floral curtains. My only portal to the outside world. They wheeled my bed into position in the corner of the room and went about briefing the nurses on my medication and condition. I had bags and bags of medication. My mom entered my new location and I puked from sheer happiness. Ha! A new nurse came in with a cheery disposition and said that she would clean me up and wash my hair. My hair hadn’t been washed in weeks, it seems. The nurse undressed me and for the first time in possibly decades, my mom saw me naked. She cried and cried at the sight of my bruised and broken body. I was sickly thin with bandages covering my many wounds from surgery. I smiled at her and told her that it’s nothing some good doses of curry and makeup can’t fix. She came over to hug me and I raised both of my arms in unison to embrace her. My new nurse was on my brown couch, curled up into a ball, crying her enchanting green eyes out. Time stood still for a moment and we all laughed, engulfed with conflicting emotions of glee and tragedy.

I feel it prudent to change the title of these musings henceforth. Nothing particular comes to mind as yet, but the focus on my pain has now changed with the moving to the general ward. New things. New life. Same broken body.

My pain (Spoon!)

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (Spoon!)

The air around was trembling bright and full of dancing specks of light. How it came, I cannot tell but all my sentiments danced as well.

It has been three days since I started my various therapies. Physiotherapy, food therapy, mental therapy… My physiotherapist was a bland Marie biscuit of a lady and I dreaded her visits because of the pain they invoked. A necessary pain. She had a mild demeanor and shuffled her feet to the side of my bed. Dusty pink shirt, khaki cargo pants and the most unflattering pair of orthopedic shoes I have ever seen. I should be last to talk about fashion, still sporting my hospital gown with a bare bum. Why was I not permitted pants? ICU was a pants-less environment, it seems. She would make me breath into a green automated machine of sorts. The other nurses would laugh questioning its relevance to movement assistance. I too wondered how this breathing apparatus was to facilitate my movement but did not ask. The process started with me lying on my back and trying to lift my limbs up one at a time. A simple task for the abled but quite tedious for me. The right side of my body was a particular bastard. Left arm and leg rose to the occasion slowly but surely, right arm and leg stagnated. She rolled me over on my left side, still on the bed, and impulses relaying pain shot trough the lower half of my body. To be expected, she said. Deal with it, said her mind. My torso was as limber as an empty barrel right now and I felt the tears welling up. No. Do not succumb to the blissful darkness of dread and defeat. Fight. Fight the ever lurking terror of non being and rise to the light. She willed my right arm to rise and the weight of the limb made me question if this is indeed my arm. She released her grip but my arm would not maintain its height. It simply fell to my side. I would need to work on this. Practice. My right leg received the memo from the arm and also would not comply. Patience, she says. Your body needs to remember how to work, she persists. She beckoned two nurses for assistance and they were to move me to a large, leather reclining chair. I was thrilled at the thought of getting out of this bed. When they gripped me by the shoulders to usher me towards the chair, I had thought that my body would automatically remember and it would be a piece of cake. They lifted me up and gravity threw me to the ground landing on all but one of my drips. Blood oozed out of the needles and I lied there in a contorted mass of flesh and bone, partially under my bed. I was there for all of a few seconds before the nurses fumbled me back to normal height but it felt like an eternity. Pity ensued and I was slumped into the chair that looked so comfortable but felt like I was sitting on a wooden plank. My body fell on the right and I just sat there, grateful for a new perspective of the ICU. My spine struggled to support my skin. Nurses were mending my broken drips. They had placed my bag of urine and bag of blood on my lap while they tried to restore normality or at least a sense thereof. There I was. Sitting with the liquids that my body had deemed unnecessary. Falling to my right. Craving pants. Wanting sunlight. Beckoning sleep. They placed the bags to the side of me on a metal stand and the machines beeped in unison once more. How fucking dramatic. A simple matter of getting out of bed to sit in a chair had become so dramatic and tedious. They left me there for about thirty minutes as I watched the patients shuffle to the loo. The nurses fill out their paperwork. The cleaners mopping up my blood. I was riddled with pain and longed for my clinical hospital bed once more. The breakfast trolley arrives.

I was moved back onto the comfort of my coffin, I mean bed, when a tray of eats was placed before me. Still on a liquid diet. Watery chicken soup, green jelly, apple juice. The usual. Everything tasted like the remnants of fire. Burn. Smoke. Char. When will this go away so I can eat? Still so very hungry. The occupational therapist had popped by baring a huge smile and some rubber gadgetry. A rubber band to strap a spoon or toothbrush to my wrist. My fine motor skills were severely lacking of course so this presented some hope in terms of restoring my independence. She strapped a spoon to my left hand and I tried to scoop up some jelly. It worked. Where is my mouth? My hand seems to have forgotten as I lifted the spoon up to my ear. We both laughed for an instant and the jelly was flung onto her shirt. I hadn’t laughed in ages. It felt amazing and my cheeks ached. She was very excited and started snapping pictures of me with spoon in hand. Progress! She showed me the photos on her phone and I sunk in my sheets. Disheveled mane of curly, black hair. Purple, dehydrated lips. Dark, sullen rings around the eyes. Cheekbones pronounced from lack of food. Bandage around the neck. Skin an odd tinge of brownish yellow. All of my piercings had been removed. Who was this banshee staring blankly back at me? This is… me? My, how ugly I am now. Sickly and tainted. Tarnished and damaged. Starving yet hopeful. Yes. Hopeful. I have a spoon now. Things will and must change.

My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (Lizards)

The concept of time was lost on me and I learned to tell night from day by the rotation of the nurses. A new batch at 7am and 7pm. 7pm was also visiting times. My glass chamber was right in front of the entrance but now that I had moved, I was in a somber corner of the ICU. I saw my mom walk in and stare blankly into the glass room I was in. It was now empty and dismay set into her face. I could clearly see her and wanted to shout out to her so that she could see I was still alive. She had of course thought the worst. She looked frantically round for some sort of help and finally saw me, tears in her eyes, she shuffled towards me with my dad trailing her. She did her routine of prayer and sprinkling ashes around my bed. They were happy to see that I was out of that room. One step closer to home, my dad said, but I felt far from it. I maintained a pleasant disposition but was falling apart internally. No sense could be made of my emotions and I seem to be coming down from roughly 6 weeks of morphine. I saw things. I heard things. I felt things.

I had several visitors this evening. Nieces, sister, husband and friends. They all had words of encouragement and love but it wasn’t enough. I needed to be me again. How to express this to them? I shan’t. This is my fight. They left and I prepared for the long night ahead sans sleep. A nurse came over to dispatch my medication. This now included an injection in my tummy which was decorated with healing surgical wounds. The pain inflicted by the needle was minuscule in comparison to everything else but it was pain none the less. A pill to numb, a pill to sleep, a pill to dull this pain you keep. Masterchef was no longer on my television. I was on some sort of movie channel now. I watched whatever was playing, without sound, in an effort to combat sleep at all costs. Was that… Was that Mel Gibson? A new movie? The man who holds my heart and our baby will be thrilled. It was some sort of mining expedition with children being used as labourers. The children were working in a dry, arid place when they struck something in the ground. One of them fell into a hole and felt every bit of terror that a real life scenario would invoke. When the boy child landed, he was covered with some sort of poisonous iguana lizard creatures. They were tiny and menacing. I looked at this little boy with his reptilian debacle and felt sick to my stomach. I could feel them crawling on me. I could hear their scaley eyes making revolutions in their sockets. I could sense their murderous intent in my core. The ceiling started to move closer to my face. This again. I knew I could break free from the chaotic illusion my mind was creating but coming to that realisation was a monstrous task. I focused so much on the movie that I was trying to pry the reptiles off of my skin. My hands were not moving. Sparks were toying with my sanity, dancing in front of my eyes threatening an escape from reality. I felt my body lift up and convulse and tried with all of my might not to swallow my tongue. I was crying. I was vomiting. I was submitting. In my submission, my body began to relax. My mind was clear and I saw myself. White sheets. Bloody nose. Vacant eyes. Two nurses, one male the other female rushed to either side of my body. I felt the male nurse grab my right hand and he ushered me back to reality with a soft, poetic voice of desperation. I slipped back into my body when the paddles hit my chest. My flesh was aflame with electricity yet the imaginary reptiles continued to taunt and gnaw at my skin. I felt them draw blood. Blood. Vomit. Urine. Terror. The beeps on the machine slowed down and I was back in my own filth. The other little boy had succeeded in fending off the poisonous lizards. They were sitting in the heat of the sun, drinking water and questioning their lives. I too had questions….

I was cleaned up and given a sedative. It did not work.. I fought it tooth and nail. I will not sleep but giving up on it all seemed so easy. It seemed like a better route as opposed to fighting this fight of being trapped in this body. The nurses were upset that I would not sleep but their daggered looks and frivolous sentiments were lost on me. I had remembered my urge to fight now. Why I was fighting. Who I must live for. Myself. My husband. Our son. This will be the last day that I shed any tears. I need to get the fuck out of here now. The 4am coffee lady does her rounds and with it, I am given a new lease. A new more solid resolve. A new day has broken through the trenches and I have work to do. Wiggle your big toe. It moves. And so does both of my hands.

 

Everyday was an ebb and flow of defeat and small victories. The loss of movement in limbs and such is something no able person should have to endure. More so if one knows that they are functional but the mind does not transmit the necessary signals. A mental block. My body was doing everything it could to make me give up. Succumb. Submit. Subdue. I fell prey to the charm of death many times but a constant mental battle was always afoot. I am not strong but I am certainly not weak. I am stubborn. I am alive. I am here.

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

My morning

My morning started at roughly 4am with the wailing of a baby boy. My body reacted before my eyes could make sense of my surroundings and before I knew it, I was standing at the side of his crib. Oh. This is my wailing baby boy. Right. I have a son. What pains you, dear child? His legs are cold to the touch, fingers even more so. I cradle him and whisper sweet words of where the fuck is your blanket. He has a habit of doing tai-bo in his sleep. Gymnastics. Synchronized swimming sans the pool. His fluffly blue blanket is always miles away from his sleeping body. He is full of complaints as he nestles his head on my shoulder but the wailing has ceased. Bad dreams? What does a baby dream of that makes them wake up crying? A never-ending series of empty milk bottles? The horror. Diapers being changed but poopyness remains? DISASTER. My mom would say that when he smiles in his sleep, ye ol’ gods from superstitions passed are having a merry chat with him. Does that mean when he cries, our dark lord and saviour, Oprah, is plaguing his subconscious with free cars coupled with Eat, Pray, Love books? I despise Oprah. The Colour Purple was a shit movie. Okay, it wasn’t but fuck Oprah. Ahem. Back to reality and my snuggley, little borg. A diaper change, a fluffy onesie and a warm bottle of milk satiated his morning qualms and put him back to sleep but left me waaayyy off my daily routine. Coffee. Cigarette. Cleansing. Clothing. Easier said than done when sleep beckons…

I gathered a generic ensemble of clothing; pants, underpants, t-shirt. Generic. How. Very. Generic. A word I would hope another never uses to describe me. The t-shirt shall suffice, the underpants too but these pants simply will not do. I stare blankly at my open wardrobe and think WWSD? What Would Siouxsie Do? Inspiration strikes. Little skirt, stockings and fuck-off big boots. Black on black on black. On black. Yes. Onward! To work! I am feeling empowered and bitchy. Bitch couture.  Come at me, Friday and all that I am woman, hear my stomach growl nonsense. I catch a glimpse of myself in mirror not far from my office and I’m all, hey there foxy lady. A colleague bids me a pleasant day and asks how do I have the time to do hair, make-up, stockings and such when I have a kid. I am at a loss for words as I recall my feverish morning thus far. Truth of the matter is, I do not have the time but I do have the desire to like what I see when I look in the mirror. How to convey this sentiment to my inquiring work person… I flash a fake smile and continue my trek to the office.

I am struck with profound thoughts of why a mom should be clad in sweatpants and stained shirts. I refuse to be that mom. Vanity shall prevail. I will wear my mohawk high, smudge my multitudes of black eyeliner and rip deliberate holes in my fishnet stockings for as long as I possibly can. When the time comes for me to drop my son off at school, his friends will ask him who that weirdo lady is. He will smile ear to ear and proudly proclaim, THAT’S MY MOM, YO.