And so, to hospital

I hate hospitals.

Really, really hate them.

Since childhood, I’ve been paraded around them for various reasons; hooked up to so many machines I hear the beep in my dreams. I’ve been sick on so many hospital floors, and each and every single hospital visit – be it a planned appointment or a trip to A&E – has left me a nervous wreck.

I’m not ashamed to admit this: I just can’t cope with it. The smell. The horrible lights. The feeling of vulnerability and the worry you’ll never sleep properly again. The strange faces and unpredictable noises… and the memories of the times I’ve been really, really ill. Vomiting up black stuff all over the polished A&E floor, tripping on morphine and hooked up to every piece of machinery in the world. Happily floating on a cloud of prescribed IV opiates, not giving the slightest damn about anything but going to sleep and not waking up again.

So yes.

I really hate hospitals.

hanging-iv-bag

But I also hate being sick. Admitting to a phobia of vomiting sounds weak somehow; it’s hardly the worst thing to happen to a person, but it utterly terrifies me. I suspect it stems from years of bulimia; controlled vomiting is entirely different to actual sickness, and it’s the lack of control I can’t cope with. Vomiting for days on end and being unable to take my meds, wash, dress myself, eat, drink, or even sleep in the same bed as S… it all took its toll, and I ended up in A&E this morning, wired up to a drip and covered in heart monitor pads.

I admit, it wasn’t the plan.

I had an appointment with my GP this morning – to check up on my medications, which need to be raised or changed, how the pain is going… I didn’t make it, because I was busy concentrating on not vomiting in the taxi on the way to hospital.

If you’ve never been scared of being sick, you can’t imagine just how terrifying it is. Every movement, every sound, every thought even… if you feel nauseous, anything can and will set you off, and it’s utterly horrible when it happens. I’ve never vomited as an adult and not had a panic attack during. It’s not a pretty situation.

So I lay there. Sat up. Lay down again. Went to the toilet a million times. Couldn’t get comfy. The only time I’ve been on my own in A&E before is when I took an overdose – the latest in a line of them in my later teens – and my mother flat-out refused to accompany me. I resented her at the time, but I understand why now. I tried to quell the panic by browsing the internet on my phone, reading boring BBC news stories about absolutely nothing, trying to pretend everything’s okay.

18a_Cannula

Also, there was an added fear. One I haven’t mentioned to anyone, not even the doctor; I figured anything abnormal would show in the blood and heart tests. A few days ago I was in so much pain – agonising, screaming pain – that I caved, and begged everyone I know to find me some ‘proper’ painkillers. Z turned up with some 30mg co-codamol and, later, a strip of tramocet. Now, I’ve spoken about my little opiate problem before, but recently it’s been pretty dormant. I haven’t felt the need to self-medicate or block things out with tiny white pills.

However, fever doesn’t work well when you’re trying to be sensible. I accidentally took far too many painkillers; I don’t know how or why I did it, just that I took more than three times the recommended dose. It was in no way a suicide attempt, because I wasn’t truly aware of what I was doing. I just wanted the pain to stop, so I could finally get some sleep.

Then, days and nights of vomiting. Sweating; that horrible chemical-tinged sweat you get with opiates. Hallucinations and awful nightmares.

So that’s how I found myself curled up on a hard bed in A&E, trying to explain my ridiculous medical history, clutching an emesis basin and hating everything hospitals are.

I just can’t cope with them.

They scare me.

 

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Slight return

I sit. Read the comments on my last few posts. Sit a little longer. Sleep. Play computer games. Sit some more. Smoke.

Honestly? The energy isn’t there; and it frustrates me because there are so many excellent comments which deserve a well thought-out reply. So I sit, and read, and make myself forget because right now I can’t be doing with worrying over yet another thing I can’t cope with.

Food? I’m getting there, slowly. My mother’s noticed my eating habits – she screamed at me over them, in fact – and although it’s utterly terrifying I’m managing to make myself eat. It’s not easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, because I do need to lose weight - genuinely -  and I’m shit-scared of bloating and the idea of calories sloshing around in my stomach when I’ve come this far. I’ve been told in the past to worry about losing weight sensibly when my ED’s are under control, but what nobody seems to understand is that my ED’s are never under control where weight loss of any kind is concerned.

S is being incredibly supportive, in his own way. I feel safe eating around him, and he doesn’t push me. My mother… she thinks she can shout at me until I eat again.

 

I have an appointment at the biomechanics clinic in the morning. Friday, I’m taking my incredibly phobic mother to the dentist. And some time in the next couple of weeks I’m moving in with S. There’s 27 years of shit to sort through before I can even consider fitting it all in a van. Most has to go to charity. In a way I’m glad; I want shut of this life now. I’ve been stagnating for far too long in a seemingly endless cycle of bad boyfriends and ruined friendships, all while festering in this house and wasting my life away. I want to start again.

I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile

.Last night, S and I met at the pub. I planned to get a bus to further my amazing recovery, but managed to miss it by a minute, so yet again I ended up talking to a taxi driver and feeling frustrated. I’m truly beginning to loathe taxis. I miss the independence of being able to step onto a bus without freaking out, and able to stand at a bus stop and make idle chit-chat without wanting to die on the spot. I don’t know why buses became such an issue; they certainly never used to be. I’ve taken thousands of buses in my life, and it’s only in the past two years or so that I’ve become fearful of them. I feel hemmed-in and restricted by the seats, and I worry that everybody is staring at me. Stepping onto a bus seems to take enormous courage; which is silly. I’ve forced myself to just do it anyway lately, and I’ve actually enjoyed the experience once I’ve dealt with the panic; I like people-watching, and buses are ideal places to do that.

S held me all night. Refused to let me go. We drank wine and ate Chinese takeaway. Watched The Secret Life of Machines and had mind-blowing sex. Fell asleep for an hour with our noses touching.

I woke up at 8am today, and promptly fell out of bed thanks to an entirely numb leg. When I stood, I noticed that the upper back pain has returned and my neck is stiffening again. I’m down to two steroids a day now (from five) so I can only assume that the dose is now too low to kill the pain. Dragged my leg around for most of the day and was very tempted to sit down in the middle of town and fall asleep. It’s amazing how quickly you forget how it feels to be in pain 24 hours a day. You forget just how soul-destroying it is. I’m out of weed too, so that’s more reasons for the pains to return. Part of me is so tempted to turn back to codeine, but I know that would be such a bad move. I know it’d be the worst thing I could do right now. I’ve just broken the habit – literally only just broken it – and I don’t want to go back there. I gave it up by accident; and I need to appreciate that blessing.

All the money I don’t have?

I spent it on jewellery today. Whoops.

Under neon loneliness

I fell asleep last night with plans going through my head; plans to rearrange my bedroom, visit Z, and go for a long walk. I didn’t sleep well as a result (thinking too much hurts my brain) and kept getting up to eat chocolate and smoke. The diet isn’t going well. I’m undoubtedly eating healthier, but I’m still stuffing my face. The combination of steroids, munchies from the weed and a still-going huge Christmas pig-out has left me with no real motivation to shift these few stones. I know I need to get a grip on this binging, because it’s teetering on the edge of becoming a massive problem and I have enough to deal with right now.

As usual, the plans didn’t exactly materialise. I woke up around 2pm with a fuzzy head, and spent far too long trying to pull myself together. Washed my face (second day in a row, go me!) and spent a millisecond considering getting dressed before realising that there was no way I was going to leave the house today, let alone visit Z. Stayed in my pyjamas, lit some candles, lied to Z and said I had no money (horrible friend, horrible horrible friend) and spent the day sorting a few small things out and replying to comments on my blog. I just didn’t feel like I could speak to anybody today, let alone find the money to pay for a taxi and spend the day at Z’s house. I’m getting nervous about being in public again, which is a bad sign; I can’t lose that confidence. Everything goes to shit when I stop going out, and I haven’t been leaving the house much at all recently.

I’ve arranged with Z to go for coffee with her on Thursday, and I’ve told myself that I will go out.

My little empire / I’m sick of being sick

If I’m awake at this time, it usually means one of two things; either I’ve been awake all night (true) or I’m feeling sick (also true). I first started feeling light-headed in the taxi from S’s last night, and ever since it’s been a series of trips to the toilet, rushed grabs for the plastic bin in my bedroom, and half-awake grumbling. It was bad this time; vomiting up acid through my nose, bile in my throat, a pounding headache and still the feeling of needing to be sick even though there’s nothing in my stomach save for a cup of tea.

Confession time; I have a phobia of vomiting. Not the act itself, but of the feeling just before, a fear of the retching and heaving. After experiencing acute cholecystitis a few years ago, I thought I’d managed to leave the majority of the phobia behind – vomiting black stuff all over the A&E department of my local hospital sort of put things in perspective. Last night though… I got scared. I cried. I ended up sticking my fingers down my throat and apologising to the ex-bulimic gods in the hope that they’d understand I just needed the nausea to pass and that I wasn’t indulging in a good old purge. It probably sounds strange that I could have been bulimic yet be terrified to vomit, but it’s not that odd really. Bulimia gives control over vomiting; you choose when and where it happens. It’s the lack of control I’m scared of.

I wish I knew why this was happening. The idea of pregnancy briefly flitted through my head, but I’m going to dismiss that straight off. The vomiting isn’t regular enough, my periods are fine (I only finished one yesterday), I’m on the pill, and I have no other signs. Plus… that’s the last thing I want or need, and I’m going to ignore any further thoughts about it. I’m just worrying myself unnecessarily because I’ve been a bit broody lately. Still, something has to be causing it, along with the stomach upsets and headaches. I can’t even begin to pintpoint any medication which could be the culprit; all of the pills I’m on (prescription or not) have nausea as a common side-effect, although I’ve never experienced it before really. Not to the level I have recently. Last night I took two paracetamol, cipralex, metformin (a likely suspect, but I should have settled on it by now) and slimming pills. It could be any or all of those. Most likely, my stomach is just destroyed from years of painkiller abuse. This is why I don’t want to see a doctor about it; I’ll finally have to admit just how reliant and careless I’ve been with over the counter and prescription medications. At one point I was taking eight paracetamol and codeine tablets every few hours. If I admit that… things are going to change. I’ll finally be labelled the addict I am, and I’m not sure I’m ready to go through that.