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!)

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My pain (Lizards)

My pain (Breakdown)

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

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My pain (Welcome)

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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!)

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My pain (Masterchef)

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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 pain (Breakdown)

With my new location came a new sense of fight within me. I will get out of this bed. I will eat a cheese burger. I will hold my son. I was, however, terrified of sleep. I feared that I would not wake from sleep. A genuine, all-encompassing fear. So I made the simple decision not to sleep. Lunch time had arrived and with it a tray of treats for my indulgence was placed before me. A bowl of transparent, yellow chicken soup, a bit of green jelly, a tub of ice cream and a box of apple juice. My nurse was a pleasant one today. The initial grump who gave me water to drink? It was her. I was grateful. She was patient and understanding. She did not talk much and I was okay with that. She asked me what I would like to eat first and I murmured soup. My voice was returning. The soup smelled divine though it looked like water with a tinge of yellow food colouring. I could smell the salt and feel the heat escape the bowl. I salivated. She carefully brought a spoon up to my mouth and I drank the embracing warm liquid. The aroma told me what it should taste like but my mouth was telling a story far different. Burn. Char. Smoke. That was all I could taste. I cringed my face and she pulled back the spoon of empty promises. My taste buds have not yet woken up.  She suggests ice cream. What could go wrong with ice cream? This also tasted of burn, smoke and char. I ate some of it and the vomit ensued. Apple juice? Will you accept this as an offering, wretched, cursed, deceitful body? More vomit. I feel defeated and hungry. In walks a female doctor. One I have not seen before. She has an assertive demeanor and the nurses clear a path for her. Her phone rings a familiar ringtone. It’s an enchanting melody and I wonder where I have herd it before. Nothing comes to mind. She has a professional disposition as she chats on the phone. A soft, brown leather bag is draped diagonally over her chest. Jeans, boots, cardigan, blonde hair. Practical attire for a lady constantly on her feet. My nurse stands at the edge of my bed, chart in hand, waiting for this doctor to finish her call. She walks over with a smile on her face but hesitation in her eyes. I panic. I want to ask so many questions but one worded replies are my current forte. She says I am looking well, I roll my eyes. She asks if I can move my hands, I try and the left one lifts up a bit. Progress. She asks how the food was going, I cry. She says she will get me a nutritionist but I wonder what help that would do… Everything tastes like cremation. I start to cry uncontrollably. Emotions are difficult to control. My crying turns to painful sobs. I want my mom. I want familiar faces. I want to eat. I want to be a mom. I want to shower. Nothing she says consoles me. The nurse draws the blue curtains around my bed. I am upsetting the other patients. I have made up my mind. I want to go home. None can dissuade me. She says she is going to call my husband but I know he is with the baby. I am a second thought governed by visiting times and bedpans. They leave and I am still crying. It won’t stop. I have had enough. A lady peeps through my curtain prison and rushes over to hug me. I want to push her away but no body part complies. She starts to cry with me and I want to tell her to fuck off. She takes out a photo from her bag. A photo of my son. She puts it on my bed and says that I should look at him. I don’t want to. I can’t. She leaves the photo there and asks me what’s wrong. What a stupid question. I can’t walk. I can’t eat. I can’t talk. I can’t even go to the loo. She says she is going to help me. I don’t believe her. How could she possibly help me? What could she possibly do?

This lady turned out to be an occupational therapist and she would go on to help me more than I could possibly say or give merit to on here. My breakdown was still prevailing. I cried uncontrollably for roughly 3 hours. The whole time catching glimpses of my son’s picture on my bedside. In the mean time, my doctor had called several therapists and specialists to visit me in the course of the day. I was broken. Mentally and physically. She desired to mend me. I did not understand this at the time, but this breakdown was necessary for me to move forward and reclaim humanity.

 

My pain (Maltabella)

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)

My pain (Maltabella)

I woke up thirsty and hungry but elated. I have remembered the five digit pin number and the exercise initiated my brain training. I had to train my brain to remember things. To do things. To feel things. I greeted my husband with the largest smile my face could conjure. He laughed and asked what the occasion was. I started to mouth the numbers, my voice was still missing in action, and he sprang to life. He noticed my somewhat cheerful disposition and started to tell me what exactly happened to me. He tells me that I had to be intubated for no oxygen was going to my lungs, they did this via my neck. He also tells me that I have had four blood transfusions and three operations. The c-section to remove the borg had been re-opened. Exploratory surgery had also been done baring an incision from my belly button down to my nether regions. Two drains were inserted into my tummy to remove residual blood and tissue. I longed to inspect my battle scars but movement still failed me. The gravity of it will only set in once I have seen these wounds. A doctor and nurse enters my room speaking generic words of encouragement and well wishes. Let it be. They are making preparations for me to be moved out of my fortress of solitude. I am also to be put  on a liquid diet of cereals, fruit juice, tea and soups. My body shivers with delight and I want to embrace this doctor. Food, glorious food! They all leave and I am left with two black spots, this perverse ensemble of red and pink next to my bed which I still cannot make sense of and thoughts of what my first slurp of food would be like.

I wake up to a nurse fiddling with my machinery. This has become the norm nowadays. She spits some awful religious bullshit at me and attempts to console my clear irritation with a crooked smile. Several other nurses come in and start preparing to have my bed moved to the outer regions of my selected prison. They each have one of the many bags attached to my body in hand. The urine bag makes me cringe as I realise that this lady has to cart my human waste… The second one holds up a bag of dark blood. This liquid is draining from my tummy. The third is a bright red bag of blood; I am mid-transfusion perhaps? Another one? Five transfusions? All of the drips attached to me are on a metal stand of sorts. Murky white – platelets, bright green – nutrients, brownish yellow – medication, transparent ooze – salt water probably… There are many more. I had no clue. All of these bags and machines and needles… Attached to me. We move slowly out of the room and the two black spots fizzle away. I am confused. Were they ever on the wall? I have no time to grasp their relevance. I see… Other patients. They’re old. Wrinkly. Yet they look at me with apologetic eyes. One of my nurses tells me that I have been in here the longest so far. Patients have come and gone, spending a week tops in ICU but yet I remained. I was the illusive young mother in a chamber of isolation. I felt their pity rain down on me and I felt heavy but I was glad for a change of scenery. I was wheeled into my corner and this is where I stayed.

Where is my food? A nurse comes over with a bowl of chocolate Maltabella porridge. It smells… nice and I can’t wait to devour it. If only my hands would move. She starts to feed me. The first spoonful smelled wonderful but tasted like I was eating a rotting, burned down wall of a house from the 1940s. I cringe but she doesn’t notice. She is rambling on about her husband’s new business venture. She shoves another spoonful into my mouth. I barely have time to close my mouth and in comes another spoonful. I cannot stomach the taste of chocolate desolation but I am so hungry. Give me a  chance to swallow, you fucking wench! Another spoonful. Another. I am drowning in malted cereal and my body rejects it. I start to vomit uncontrollably and this lady looks at me with such content that I see the light slipping from my eyes. She sighs angrily at me and leaves for what I assume is paper towels to clean my mess. I am left there in my vomit. Old patients are shuffling past me to go to the loo and they stare at me with pity. To my right is a gent with a broken leg of sorts. He looks at my vomit-ridden face and tries to smile. I close my eyes and start to cry. She is not back yet. There is a remote next to my bed to call for assistance but what fucking point is it if none of my hands or body parts move? My neck is drenched in the partially digested sludge. It seeps down my left shoulder and I watch it trail over to where one of my drips are positioned. A nurse walks past me and shakes her head in anger. I thought she was angry that I had been left in my own filth but instead she yells at me for not appreciating the food. Present me wants to vomit on her but hospital me cried and cried and cried… She was not back yet. Had she forgotten about me? Retreated for a smoke break to escape my uselessness? Somebody help me. I… I can’t clean myself. Somebody…

 

My pain (Bringer of water)

My pain (Pin number)

My pain (Masterchef)

My pain (The pipes)

My pain (Welcome)