It makes me uncomfortable to discuss being in hospital as an anxiety provoking, scary, big thing. It feels like the sort of thing I should be able to take in my stride, to not be bothered by. Something that just happens to everyone.
It’s difficult to balance whether that’s reasonable or whether I’m stopping myself from feeling important things. Frightened. Lonely. Overwhelmed. Anxious.
Is it okay for me to say that I’ve been through something pretty big? Am I going to allow this experience to take up space in my life or just brush it under the carpet?
I’m in hospital, alone except for visiting hours. I went to surgery alone. I’ve never stayed overnight in a hospital before, nevermind been operated on for a couple of hours. I’ve dealt with the information, the confusion, the rushing, and the waiting, all by myself.
I’ve had to get over some of my social anxieties pretty quickly. I need help going to the toilet, and there’s not much I can do about that. I have to take control of my pain and ask for things that I need. Even yesterday morning as I waited ages to be unhooked from a drip so I could get dressed and be taken to the toilet, I felt bad for causing a scene.
I’m a patient. That’s literally what I’m supposed to do.
When I finally buzzed for help, immediately a porter team came in to take me to X ray at the same time. I said I didn’t want to go still hooked to a drip and without having had a wee since the previous evening. It got sorted pretty quick.
As soon as I was back from X ray I was told I was moving to another hospital – now. I felt as though I’d just settled in and it was all ripped from under me again.
I took my first steps in nearly a week yesterday morning under the guidance of a physio team. Now I’m back in bed in a different hospital, a different room, none the wiser as to how I can expect my recovery to be managed here.
Even the surgery was sprung upon me on Sunday. Nothing really happens over the weekend, so I was resigned to not hearing anything until Monday. Then all of a sudden it was, good morning, wake up, don’t eat anything, you’re going to theatre in a bit.
The way the staff handle things is exactly as they should – it’s not a big deal, and they do this all the time. It’s a big deal to me, though. Maybe I’m sensitive, maybe I’m a wuss, but being wheeled off to go under general anaesthetic and have my leg reconstructed with metal is a pretty big deal.
I’ve barely cried. I cried on Wednesday night, and I cried on Thursday morning when my partner was asked to leave. There’s very much a brisk sense of just getting on with things, which is helpful, but less so when I’m trying to evaluate how I feel and whether it’s allowed to take up space.
I feel stupid for making it a ‘big deal’. All things considered, I’ve handled it extremely well with very little fuss, but I’m concerned about the longer term impact that might have on me.
How much have I pressed down to be ignored that will resurface later? Am I going to develop anxieties about the cold weather, about walking alone, about damaging my leg further?
My recovery is going to take months. There’s been huge trauma to my leg and it’s extremely difficult to accept that I won’t be bouncing around right as rain in a week. Is it okay for me to feel emotions related to this, or do I just get on with it because it could be worse?
People break bones all the time. Granted, not everyone breaks both bones in their lower leg and fractures the ankle, but still. It’s not life-changing, but yet, it sort of is.
I’m not going to be able to do an awful lot independently for quite a while. I’ve applied for some jobs that I wonder if I’d even be able to interview for now. I’m going to be stuck at home for a physical reason now, and I wonder what impact that will have on my mental health?
Am I going to be able to get to therapy on my own? I won’t be able to do my driving lessons. I won’t be able to travel far.
Perhaps I’m being a drama queen, but I don’t think it gets spoken about how injuries and experiences like this can affect us mentally. Admittedly I’m not a mentally robust person, but this isn’t exactly fun.
Maybe I’m just making excuses to make the situation seem worse and gain sympathy. Ironically, I’m the type of person who thinks nothing ever happens to me. Something has happened now, but I’m still trying to brush it aside and pretend it hasn’t.
After days of keeping it together, I basically crumbled yesterday and this morning. The transfer to a different hospital with a different team and little understanding of what’s going to happen was too much.
I woke up in pain this morning, and I cried the kind of big, messy cry I’ve been needing. Once the painkillers kicked in, I slept a bit more and am feeling a little more human.
One lady tells me I should get to go home today, another, as she finished her night shift this morning, said she’d see me this evening.
I’m desperate to go home but terrified of looking after myself. I feel lost, and the weight of expectation for my recovery is overwhelming. I’m not someone who does a lot anyway, but being completely unable to do just about anything independently has worn me down.
All the staff I’ve encountered at the NHS have been brilliant. They have a lot to do, and they do it well. It’s not their fault they don’t have time to sit and hold the hands of those of us who struggle to do it ourselves.
I didn’t expect a significant injury to present itself roundly in the middle of my floating, better-but-not-well existence. It’s something else to navigate, and despite the hideous experience and pain, I wonder if it will help me a little. I was never anxious about getting hurt, it wasn’t really one of the things I tried to control.
It happened anyway, and I have enough sense to see that it wasn’t because I was careless or unprepared. It was because I was walking on black ice and fell over, nothing more or less. There isn’t an awful lot I could have done to prevent it.
It wasn’t a ‘what if’ scenario I’d considered, but here it is. It’s unpleasant, it’s confusing, it’s painful, it’s strange and overwhelming, but I’m still here. Perhaps I’m a little better at handling life’s adversities than I give myself credit for.
I suppose anxiety or not, there will always be something you aren’t prepared for waiting to pounce. The one thing I’ve taken from my experience so far is it’s okay to be scared and confused, to not always know your next steps (quite literally, in this case).
As Hagrid once famously said, ‘What’s coming will come, and we’ll meet it when it does.’