Hanging on to My Inner Human

I’m in hospital. It’s an infection, but probably nothing major, so I’ll be out in a day or two. 

Despite that, it took me two attempts to get to the hospital. I contacted one of my nurse specialists, who said I should head to A&E. I checked my Hospital Bag, put on some Strong Lipstick* and headed for the hospital. I made it as far as the bus stop before freaking out at the thought of another hospital admission. All the bad experiences of years of admissions have accumulated, and I just couldn’t face another admission. So I went home. 

This morning I remembered a favourite quote by Mary Ann Radmacher: Courage doesn’t always roar; sometimes courage is a small voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow”

And I got up and tried again. 

I’ve been actively looking for moments of gratitude; moments squeezed in between the hustle and bustle of the hospital, the procedures, the paperwork. I’ve been so grateful for the nurses who’ve greeted me with hugs, the lovely roomie, the doctor who remembered me and asked after my husband and the cat, everyone who has fought my corner today. One theme that runs through my gratitude list is humanity. All those little reminders that I have a real life outside the hospital and that I matter; that there’s a person inside the patient. 

As time has passed, I’ve found it more and more difficult to be what I consider to be the real me. At home as well, but especially in hospital. I find myself tongue tied, mutely acquiescing to things I don’t want, saying “thank you” and “sorry” and “thank you” again. I feel as though I’m slowly being swallowed up by this condition, gradually being submerged; drowning by degrees. 

Every time someone acknowledges the human within the patient, they are metaphorically reaching out a hand to pull me back to Me. The condition is still there, of course, but I would like to be Me for a bit longer. For all those people who manage to see me drowning even in the midst of all the hospital processes and rush, and who reach out and acknowledge me, I am profoundly grateful. 

*Strong Lipstick: Any lipstick that makes one feel better, stronger, more confident. In this case, Ruby Woo by MAC