I have been feeling a little ‘off’ the past day or so. Nothing I can really point to except perhaps a lack of energy or interest in anything, perhaps a bit dizzier than usual. I mention this to Jason who reminds me it is to be expected occasionally and to just take it slow. My internal reaction to his sage words, tells me that despite not feeling great, I must be getting better. My reaction is of the, bah-humbug sort and I realise I am a bit ‘over’ recovery and it’s myriad of symptoms and limitations.
This morning however, I was flicking through some of the notes I scribbled whilst in hospital last month and I found the piece below. It spoke to me deeply as to what I have been through, how well I really am doing and helped me remember that with enough time, healing will be done. I thought I would share it so as to provide a glimpse of the stages of my recovery.
Hospital Journal – 8 June
I wake with a pounding head and am given some Panadeine Forte. I settle back with my ‘Distancing Yourself from Discomfort’ meditation, slip an eye mask over my face and an icepack between my head and pillow. I am comfortable, momentarily. Nausea quickly strikes and I am again reaching for a vomit bag, as I go from saliva-mouth to upchuck in seconds. I breathe deeply attempting to settle it and buzz for the nurse. It’s still morning medicines and observations rounds so no one comes. I am sick again and am trying hard to stop, as I don’t want to lose all my tablets. As vile as it sounds, I have already identified a few floating in the sick bag and can’t lose any more, as they wont be re-administered. After what feels like an eternity, the nurse rushes in to check on me, swaps my bag for a fresh one and gets something for the nausea.
My stomach settles slowly and I reflect on how poorly I feel. It’s only a week since the surgery and I am already fed up with being stuck in this bed, this room, and this hospital. I am literally sick and tired of the persistent pain in my head, this awful double vision and horrible dizziness.
Whilst I know things could be so much worse, it is small comfort at the moment. As soon as I wake each day, the first thing I am aware of is the aching and stabbing pain in my head; to call it a headache does not do it justice. I spend my days surfing waves of pain. I zig and zag between pain, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Today, frankly, I am over it.
I know it will improve and that recovery requires time, rest and discipline. Right now though, I would just like to have one better day; one day of reduced pain and illness to give me a light to follow, a hope to cling to and to remind me that I am healing and improving. (end)
To read this a month later when I am again having a moment of feeling ‘stuck’ in recovery is insightful. It was only weeks ago that I had a really serious operation and was dreadfully ill. I remember the days I was writing about in the above, reaching such a wretched point where I had been vomiting on and off for hours and with every retch, my right eye felt as though it may well burst its socket; not to mention the pain the pressure from vomiting caused my head. It was at this point that I told Jason I didn’t think I could tolerate the pain much longer. I was desperate and despairing. We both begged the nurses to do something to help me and eventually the senior nurse called the on duty doctor from the Intensive Care Unit. Seeing my wretched state and realising that Panadeine Forte was the equivalent of a Tic-Tac in treating post craniotomy pain, ordered intravenous fluids (to combat dehydration brought on from days of vomiting) and effective pain relieving medicines. It had taken several horrendous days but thankfully, my pain was being better managed and miraculously, I stopped vomiting.
Even though I am still uncomfortable and occasionally frustrated by my current limitations, reading the above puts my recovery into context and I accept that this is where I am right now. I have come a long way in a short time and in another week, I will be better again. Knowing this makes being here, a lot easier.