Monday, 15 September 2014

This is why I'm scared

Why do people blog? I've been thinking about this recently because, I dunno, someone probably mentioned it somewhere or something. I don't seem to be able to think about anything unless someone said it on Facebook so it was probably there. Let's go with that.

I know why I started blogging. I needed an outlet. I wanted to write. I'm lonely. I wanted somewhere to blart whatever shit I'm thinking about. It makes me feel better sometimes. It makes me laugh sometimes.

Then people started reading it. And I got self conscious and started thinking about my audience and whether I would offend anyone and how do I think of things that other people might want to read and what if I'm too open, too honest, too boring, too needy, too emotional, too much me and then people will not like me?

So I didn't write about some things that I wanted to write about and it's possible I made myself write in a certain way to try and please some invisible audience. My blog has had close on 200,000 hits. I have to discount 50% for being bots or whatever weird shit it is that people decide to set in motion. Maybe it's the NSA. Whatever. Even so that means 100,000 hits on my blog. Which means definitely more than just my ma reads it. I don't know who a lot of the people who read it are - sometimes I'll get comments and realise that actually complete strangers actually do.

It's the people I do know that make me freeze though. I write a lot about a few subjects. I know this. They generally cover being single, being depressed and obsessing about death. I get that this isn't everyone's cup of tea. But it works best when I don't care about this. When I stop thinking about this. When I get a grip and realise that what I'm writing matters not one whit (wit? no, it's whit isn't it? Could you Google that for me?) outside of my mind.

And that's why I feel like I can write this. It's cathartic you see. I need to write to feel better. It helps me get stuff out of my brain. Opening it to an audience seems to make me write more. I don't know. It's probably ego. Whatever.

I'm scared right now. I'm very, very scared. I'm far more scared than the situation merits. But, as someone who can manage to have a panic attack in Tesco, I'm familiar with feeling needlessly anxious.

This time, at least, I'm scared about something that most people wouldn't actively enjoy. No one goes out of their way to undergo a general anaesthetic after all, do they?Iit's not on anyone's bucket list. It's not a thing we do for fun. We do it because it's necessary and because there is the chance on the other side of feeling better.

But this time - this is my eighth operation. I am still counting, although it's starting to feel like an operation is just something that is destined to happen to me every couple of years until I die. Hopefully not on the operating table - this time I am being operated on somewhere that holds extremely traumatic memories for me.

I can't tell you how much this experience twists my guts to even write about. It's a visceral, physical reaction. I don't think about it much because I don't WANT TO. It's horrible. It goes back to March 16, 2001. The day my dad died. Yes, this again. As he died on the Isle of Wight, that's where I went.

Three days later I got a terrible pain. An awful pain. I knew that it wasn't right but at the same time my heart had just broken and I though that maybe physical pain was just a thing that came along with that.

As the funeral came closer, it became clear that I was not well. Not at all well. On the morning of 22 March 2001, we went to view his body. I had to go because otherwise I was afraid that I wouldn't believe he was dead. He looked pretty damn dead. It wasn't like on TV. I put a note in his coffin because I didn't want him to feel scared. Then I went to the doctor. Who told me I had to go to hospital right now.

Nah mate. No can do. I have a funeral to go to. So he gave me a pill. The pain was still there but I was just about to watch people burn my dad in a box so I didn't really awfully care. The pain was real bad. And it was getting worse.

After the funeral I went to the hospital. I missed that bit where everyone stands around awkwardly eating sandwiches. I'm glad I missed that bit. That would have been shit. I wouldn't have known what to say. I would have been like: why are you people here? Don't you know what just happened? You can't eat SANDWICHES. My DADDY IS DEAD.

Anyway, while that was happening I was lying on a hospital bed waiting for a fun time appendectomy. My operation was put back because a car accident came in or something. I guess they figured I'd had this for four days now. How bad could it be?

Thankfully some fucker knocked me out soon after. I woke up to a house surgeon telling me that my appendix was the biggest SHE'D EVER SEEN. So someone was happy. I had a seven inch scar across my abdomen. I couldn't move. When you have open surgery on your abdomen it turns out that all your muscles are cut through. Severed. Completely. I had no idea this meant that you can't actually move. At all.

Oh, and I was tripping. Hard.

I was infected. As they'd yoinked the behemoth out ("you really shouldn't have been walking around you know, we should have operated much earlier") some gunk had got into my blood. So, that meant two days of intravenous antibiotics, morphine, being expected to shit into a bed pan and absolutely no privacy.

I passed out a lot and came round always to a woman who was sticking needles in me. They took blood something like four times a day. It could have been more actually. Paracetamol had to go in me because my temperature wouldn't come down. I couldn't take anything by mouth so guess HOW THAT HAPPENED? Yeah, that's right. Because that's the kind of thing you need when you're really ill, your dad's just died and now someone's sticking tablets up your arse.

My temperature didn't come down for a while.

That's when I started hallucinating. I saw my dad. He was sitting my bed. He did that smile thing that he did when he was trying to be reassuring but knew that actually the situation was shot to shit. And then I heard my ma. She was talking to one of the nurses, apologising to them for me being a difficult patient and that "she's often like that, just ignore her." I was raging. I was properly pisssssssed off by this. I demanded to know where ma was. The nurse couldn't persuade me that she wasn't there and hadn't been there. It was, after all, 4am. I just knew that bitch nurse was lying to me.

I'd only ever had my vision impaired through dropping a bit of acid in my naughty days. I didn't realise that true hallucinations aren't particularly scary because, as far as you're concerned, they're totally real. It's only in retrospect that you realise what was and what wasn't real. The blurred line sharpens and the dream world and real world seem completely separate and you wonder how you could have been so hoodwinked by your own brain and your own senses.

And no one was there really to talk to me. Everyone was busy and my boyfriend went home and then it was me, my drip and a hospital bed. And I didn't know what had happened and how my life had gone from normal to actual hell within six days. And I didn't know how I was meant to get through this. And I had no one. And I wanted my daddy so much. And he was dead. And I was here. And then they forgot to replace my drip and I started to faint. I asked the nurse if I was dying. It seemed to make more sense than any of this shit.

I wasn't dying, obviously. I was just having a really bad week.

I eventually moved to a private room because the indignity of crawling to the toilet every five minutes while holding my drip (intravenous antibiotics do not make you feel good), with a slit open abdomen and a crowd of chav kids staring at me and chewing their crispy cud was not helping my brain accept that this was now my reality.

So I moved to a private room. £90 it cost. For one room for one night. More expensive than a Travel Inn, that. Then it was me and an empty room and a shocked expression.

Finally I went back to my mother's house to recuperate until I could travel home and restart my life.

All of this happened at the hospital that I am going to on Thursday. Where they will put me under anaesthetic again and I will have an operation again. It's completely different circumstances, for completely different reasons, and it's nearly 14 years ago when this first experience happened. But it still scares the shit out of me.

See, now I feel better. I'm glad I wrote this. Talking about fear can dispel it, you see. Well, it can make it recede. I can see how the event in 2001 and the event in a few days are not connected at all and the shock of that operation doesn't affect this next one.

I can see. And I feel better. And now maybe I can sleep.

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