March 2016: How Many More Times

Jon. is. not. DEAD. Game of Thrones

My life sucks. That’s not to say my life sucks more than others, but it does suck. It feels as though each month I set out to come here with positive feedback but everytime I get knocked back by something negative that happens in my life.

This month I wanted to come here and discuss how my first and only university social event of the year went, how my new healthy living was going after getting involved in a diet called ‘Keto’, and my return to the gym. I was also going to discuss how the last few sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) went. But I guess some of this will have to wait until next time.

Stay out of Mom's Kitchen - Daredevil

Let’s do this from the beginning of this month of unfortunate events.

On the day of the uni social I fell, spraining my ankle. It was a stupid error, I just didn’t see the broken cobble on the pavement. I still managed to make it to the event, although enjoyed it less due to the discomfort, and I knew it was getting more and more painful and that I had likely done some damage. So I then spent the weekend recovering from that and had to miss all my shifts that weekend at work.

I returned to normal life on the Monday, more or less. But from the Tuesday I began to ‘feel not-quite-myself’. I thought maybe I was coming down with the flu or at the very least a cold, so I spent a couple of more days in bed trying to sleep it off. but as the days drew on I began to feel discomfort from around my groin/colon, and there was swelling.

What should you do if you get chemicals in your eyes - Fight crime. Protect Hell's Kitchen - Daredevil

By Friday I wondered if my symptoms were a hernia, but regardless I tried to keep going. I had planned to travel out of town with a friend of mine to an IMAX and an Apple Store to see Batman v Superman and get my iPhone repaired, respectively. By the end of the day I was in agony, and not because of the massive disappointment of BvS.

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On Saturday I caved and sought medical assistance. This was of course Easter weekend, and getting medical support was challenging. I spoke on the phone with various practitioners on a 24 hour helpline, and found myself constantly referred on. Speaking to one doctor I was recommended to go to hospital in a town a good distance away. So after speaking to another consultants over the phone I felt rather than getting to a surgery I probably needed surgery and called in my friend who lives out of town to come and take me to the hospital. Why I was calling for medical advice was because I didn’t want to call him as unfortunately my housemates were all KO’d from the previous night’s drinking – it was the weekend and they are students after all – and TK lives about 20 miles away (this is a fair distance in UK economics).

The drive to the hospital was horribly painful but absolutely necessary. I had to wait for over an hour before TK arrived to drive me, and that was more painful in itself. Nothing would relieve the pain. Once at the hospital I was seen relatively quickly in triage, and given some pain relief. It was around another hour before I was seen again, all this time I was forced to stand due to the pain and sitting was also excruciatingly painful. When the nurse took me to take blood samples I was also finally given a bed and some stronger medication that immediately gave me some relief.

Throughout all this I managed to hang on to a semblance of humour, joking with TK and making referential quotes that only we nerds truly understand. I had expected at this point to be kept in hospital, but TK stayed, hopefully waiting for a doctor to come around and to give a diagnosis and prognosis so we knew where we stood before he left. Luckily it wasn’t too long before I was wheeled in to a curtained area. The doctor took one look and decided it was a haemorrhoid and that he would simply push it back in! Knowing what I know now I can tell you that it was not a haemorrhoid. What occurred was unnecessary punishment, and in fact “pushing it back in” likely made what was happening much, much worse.

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I was instantly discharged and informed to buy over-the-counter medication to cope with the pain. I was also recommended to see my GP when the medical centre reopened after the Easter break. You and I both know that things did not improve. Pain medication did nothing even though the chemist provided me with the strongest they could. Just living for the next 2 days was horrific. Make no mistake, this is the worst physical pain I have ever been in.

Naively I was hoping to recover in time to be good company for my family, who were coming down to Kent and staying over at my uncle’s house again. They travelled down on Easter Monday, and were due to see me on either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how well I was feeling. By Tuesday morning I knew I needed to see the GP ASAP, and that in all likelihood I would have to return to hospital for further treatment. My GP took one look at me and said, “You look terrible”, before I had even explained what was going on. She examined the region and said, “That’s no haemorrhoid, that an abscess” in her best Obi-Wan Kenobi impression. Okay, that actually didn’t occur. But she was right, it was an abscess. She called the hospital in Ashford and got me in for emergency day surgery. All I needed to do was get there. Again. TK was in classes all day, so he was out of the question, and in a shocking turn of events all of my housemates were unavailable./S

This left me with calling in my family. I’ve been using “family” as a catch all because it was both my parents and my Nan who had come down. I was awfully hesitant in asking them to give up their holiday to spend it with me in hospital, but being the supportive family they are of course they obliged, and we laughed about the situation all the way to the hospital. Even in waiting we were cracking jokes and trying to be cheery, but they could see how much pain I was in and the concern on their faces was something I hadn’t seen in a while. They had good reason to be concerned. The abscess was leaking profusely, the infection had begun to seep into my bloodstream. I was feverish. I was in terrible shape. I was in the worst condition they have ever seen me in outside of mental health related problems.

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It was only a few hours before I was taken in for surgery. The experience was fascinating. I was strangely looking forward to anaesthesia, if only for the pain to cease for a time. I remember once I was at the operating theatre I was almost experiencing it like a film in a first person perspective. I just found it amusing how having all these people working over you before you go under was oddly accurate in something that you would see in a medical procedural. I remember seeing a clock reading 16:00 on the right of me before I went under. My last thought going through my mind was almost Deadpool-like in that I had a request that they didn’t cut the wrong thing, but the anaesthetic took hold before I could verbalise.

The great thing was that surgery was quick. I was in and out within an hour. In recovery there was a clock directly opposite my bed that read 17:00. I was impressed. My family greeted me once I was released from recovery, and I was told the hospital would keep me in overnight for observation. This was all pretty much expected. I later enquired how the abscess would have formed – in case it was something I could have avoided or if I had done something wrong. The doctors said it was simply an ingrowing hair. A fucking ingrowing hair. A simple hair follicle that had fucked up and caused me pain, that on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the most painful, it was all the way up at 11. It’s both astounding and ludicrous!

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The stay overnight, like any night in a hospital, was terrible. It was difficult to sleep mostly because  I was sharing ward with 5 other people, and one of them had what sounded like dementia setting in and was constantly trying to escape. Loudly. However, I had a little time to think, and as the anaesthesia wore off I began to realise that I wouldn’t be able to stay at university and I would need to come home to recuperate.

The next day I spoke to my family and they immediately agreed; I would need support at home. So the day after we packed up my essential belongings from the house and made the long journey back to Coventry. The trip was uncomfortable, and I thought I felt something akin to a rash forming nearby the wound. I shrugged it off as being a reaction to the dressing that was surrounding my butt-crack. Over the next few days I began to notice it swell, it became as painful as the original abscess, and by the following Monday I was back in hospital at the local A&E department. After a horrendous 6 hour wait I was finally admitted, but it would take another day before I was back in surgery for another operation to drain it.

It turned out that the initial abscess may be “horseshoeing” (I believe that is a technical term) and there could be a canal system running around my colon that’s infected. The surgery basically drained this new abscess, which was bigger and deeper, and additionally cleaned up the initial infection from the original wound. Now I had 2 new assholes around my ass hole! I later learned that I would require outpatient follow ups and an MRI further down the line to confirm whether or not there are any further complications.

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So by now, most of my humour around the situation was gone, and pressing on my mind was not just how this was affecting my studies (I was already falling behind and in a situation where deadlines would be missed) but now I was worrying that I would lose out on an opportunity to study abroad for a year in the US. I was fearful I’d need ongoing treatment that would not be feasible abroad.

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For the next few weeks I was fairly miserable. I was embarrassed by the loss of independence I once had. I could no longer go to the bathroom or get a shower without some form of assistance. My mother had to inevitably redress the wounds mostly everyday, and my future was looking to be in crisis. The icing on this cake of shit was discovering one of my wisdom teeth had cracked after I started to feel some amount of pain in my jaw. I’ve no idea how or when it happened, but there’s a possibility it could have occurred when I was intubated during the second surgery. Inevitably I had to see a dentist, and yes, another procedure was done on my person and the tooth was removed.

SIDEBAR: The bright side of this is that this tooth had been the bane of my existence since my 22nd birthday when it decided that was the perfect time to cut through and I spent the entirety of my birthday with a horrifically swollen face. Ever since then it had periodically cut into my cheek and generally caused all types of problems. To have a real excuse to have it removed had me like:

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So here I am now. Slowly recovering. The first wound has nearly closed up entirely, whilst the second one is well on the way to healing. I’m still in a bit of state, stressing out for the most part about studying abroad, finishing my course this year off campus, and also trying to get a transfer from work to a local store. I am reminded by myself and those around me that I should just concentrate on recovering, but I feel so useless. I hate not having things to do. Even now I’m home I have been looking around the house and seeing so many jobs that I would like to do, but I’m just not physically up to it. Even typing is an issue. It’s only recently have I been able to sit up in a position that’s comfortable to work in, and yet even then the painkillers I’ve been taking have made it very difficult to think clearly and critically. I’m sure that even as I edit this post I’ll find the language and style I use inconsistent.

The feelings I have now are that I’m constantly in a state of frustration and sickness, and not just from this recent turn of events. It feels like this has been my life since… Well, probably since I began writing this blog. I don’t view myself as being a hypochondriac or an overly pessimistic person, but life just seems to want to attack my wellbeing constantly. When I try to make a move to improve either my mental or physical states something transpires to kick me off balance. Furthermore, and I’m not a superstitious person in the slightest, but negative events often tend to arise around the end of March. Last year it was W being sent to prison; in the past I’ve had 2 break ups in this period that were painful to say the least, and other illnesses according to Facebook’s handy “On this Day” app. This is a period in the year that has dealt me the most anguish annually. Like I say, I’m not superstitious, but this makes me wonder if I am cursed.

This post is already overlong, but hey, I’m going to try and look at the positives to come. So… Um… I still need to move out of my uni house completely… Yeah, that’s not really a positive, just something that has to be done. Um… uni is nearly over, I’ve just got to finish my assignments and that’s it. All I need to do is pull together and write coursework for 2 modules within the next 2 weeks.

It’s fine, really

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I’ve got my year abroad to still organise – whether the uni is still going to accept me, apply for a visa, accommodation, classes/modules, money.

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Yeah, fuck me. There’s just more stress and anxiety coming up.

I guess I should really be thankful for still being alive (not that it was life threatening, but anaesthesia has its risks), and that I have my health for the most part. I should be thankful that I have a family that cares enough about me that they’d take care of me as well as they have. I should also be thankful of the support I’ve had from the university and even my part-time job over this period. But typically my mind is leaning into negative territory as I begin to stress about how much this is affecting just about every facet of my life including my aspirations.

I wish I could be more positive, and the fact that I’m still submitting coursework (and now writing this post!!!) is something I should applaud myself for. The thing is, anyone who has ever suffered depression in the slightest knows that giving yourself credit for positive things does not come easily. In fact, it’s harder than doing those positive things in the first place.

But look, I’m not going to drone on about how shit my life is, I’ll save that for next time.

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The fact remains that I hold myself to a high standard, and I have goals and ambitions that I want to reach, but this episode of physical ailment has really fucked me. So yeah, I really wish that life had at least taken me out for dinner and drinks before it decided to do that.

Until next time, much love ❤

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