Even pink people who are made out of pretty strong stuff (the stuff brighton rock is made from or similar) reach a breaking point, and I reached mine today. It was an imminent cracking to be honest, I have been feeling increasingly more down despite attempts to pep myself up and knock myself out of it (not in the unconscious sense although that is something I shall bear in mind).
Due to having lots of time to think, I usually try and work out why I am feeling the way I am, psycho-analyze myself I suppose, and I think I worked out the root of my inability to sleep today. This thing of not being able to relax and to rest, and jerking awake every time I start to drift off – you know that feeling you get where you are falling and then you suddenly start and snap awake – it is happening with regular monotony. What should be a pleasant feeling of relaxing, muscles easing, breathing slowing, is somehow making my body click into an alert and fighting state, and I think (after a long and very cathartic conversation with a friend) that it is linked to the day I was transferred to ICU. As I said in my blog describing that day, I felt incredibly calm, peaceful and comfortable really, and yet of course was fully aware that I was actually fighting for my life, and at that point was very much losing the battle.
I think that this experience of feeling so comfortable juxtaposed with the knowledge that at that point I was in danger of dying has instilled a new fear of me, which I managed to vocalize to a doctor today (despite feeling thoroughly stupid and melodramatic whilst saying it) I think my body is scared of falling asleep and never waking up. There. The second time I have said it, well written it, and it brings on the tears again, but followed by a nice lift of weight from my shoulders. I do feel ridiculous saying it, as clearly I am nowhere near where I was 9 weeks ago, but my brain is struggling to cope with it all. These inbedded and unresolved fears, plus tiredness caused by them, coupled with todays X-ray revealing that just 24 hours after coming off suction my lung has started to deflate again meant the tears finally flowed today. Quite significantly.
I think that is a good thing, everyone needs to have a good bawl now and then, it’s healthy, and helps you pick yourself up and brush yourself off again afterwards. I am not going to be any kind of martyr however and am enlisting a bit of extra help and support. The team here really is great, they are going to work hard to help me get back on track, and if that means a team of people help me, denzel (my wheelchair), the O2, the drain, and the suction pump sit outside to have a coffee, then so be it! I am also going to speak to the psychologist here, think it will do me some good, and there’s quite a bit of the last 9 weeks that I haven’t really worked through yet. Lung wise, due to obstinate sagging of lung, the suction has been re-attached which of course throws a spanner in the works of the whole injecting the germanpowderstickyuppydrug, as the lung has to be up and touching the lining in order for the drug to stick it, otherwise I will just end up with a furiously inflamed and sticky lung waving wildly around a small airspace or something similar but more scientific and slightly less dramatic. We aren’t quite sure what to do about that yet, but the doctors are working on a new plan, and I will just stay on suction in the meantime, in order to keep the lung as upright and well behaved as possible.
The most important thing I have decided is to allow yourself a good howl, then look at ways of combating the difficulties, alleviating them as much as possible, and slowly moving forwards slowly but surely. Everybody has these moments; all will be fine I know it.
After writing the above I listened to a radio interview by Alan, Mary’s boyfriend, and two other people who knew and worked with Mary. The interview was fantastic, gave a wonderful insight into Mary and her hard work, but most staggering of all for me was Alan’s courage and strength in speaking so openly so soon after losing her, and still managing to plug organ donation, and to carry the torch for those of us still waiting and hoping for that gift of life. There is having to be brave and pick yourself up, and then there is phenomenal and selfless courage and strength as has just been demonstrated and has totally humbled me. Alan, Mary would be beyond proud.