Let me be super-duper mega clear: Being in the hospital is not the same as being in prison. But, when you’re upset and feeling poorly and can’t leave until they say you can, there is comfort in a theme song from a television show.
This time was different. This time, I didn’t expect it. I’d come back from having a minor procedure, and already had started to feel unwell. But, I pushed, because it seemed sensible at the time that procedure= pain= stop whining, you wimp.
But, it wasn’t that…
I’d developed some sort of random problem that very few people get, but is one of the possibilities you sign on for. It took me a few days to realize it though. By that time, I barely could move. It wasn’t pretty. It doesn’t make for good blogging. But, there it is.
This time is not so much a story about triumph, as it is about survival.
When you are in extreme pain, and you can’t even get out of bed, let alone do things, do you find a way to get yourself treatment that’s an hour away? Or do you lay there, waiting for it to get worse?
The ER is in a nationally-recognized “bad neighborhood”, but that’s where your Dr. works. You probably should see that Dr. because this is probably related to the other day. You can’t get pushed through quickly, in spite of this, and end up waiting in the ER for hours, while random people are ranting to themselves in a kind of frightening way, and you didn’t eat breakfast, but there are candy machines, but there is a sign saying not to eat until a Dr. sees you, but you have no idea when that will be.
Finally, a few hours into it, you end up in a wheelchair and wait some more.
Eventually, you end up in a gurney in a hallway for the remainder of the night. Then, blissfully, a kind nurse gets you into a room for a few hours so you can get some sleep. It is the next day. You are eventually transferred to a shared room with a woman and her husband. You walk by them, trying to hold your gown closed whenever you have to pee. There is food trash all over their side, and you are still not allowed to eat. They watch terrible TV all the time. But, you feel so crappy, and you know you just have to deal with it.
But, how do I tell this story… when I wasn’t able to even do this much for so many years? Because this sort of thing is a very fraught issue in the States and I know how very, very fortunate and lucky, and you could even say, blessed, I am to even have this. How dare I say that it was hard for me?
I cried, I chewed my lips, I moped, and sometimes I smiled. But it wasn’t the same.