This is by far not my finest piece. My brain is drowning in medication, and I am currently supposed to be in hospital. I begged them to let me out. This isn’t a piece on my general state of mind or thought processes. Normally I wouldn’t publish such hasty and poor work, but I feel it’s so important to understand the rollercoaster that is Chronic Illness, particularly in young people. Two days ago I dislocated my hip. It is simply another reminder that seven years of serious illness are beginning to take their toll on my body. I will be twenty one this year, and I know that long term illness is going to leave it’s mark.
Life is a gift, and I am grateful for it every single day.
But we all have days where we are tired of fighting. And yesterday was one of those days. I felt it important to share.
Love and light to all. If you too are having a tough time, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and that ‘this too shall pass’, one way or another.
I am laying on the bed, and my lips are quivering. I turn to the radiologist. On another day I may have thought him cute. But not today.
Because he is going to undress me. He is going to make me wear his standard issue cotton gown. And when he undresses me, he isn’t going to kiss my scars, make love to me in gentle waves. Instead he is going to smile, and he is going to bury me alive.
The other radiologists move me from bed to wheelchair to bed to machine. I am caught in a tragic pass the parcel. I see them soak their hands in Microshield. I want to tell them that Microshield doesn’t stop tragedies like mine. But I know better. I am a nursing student, of course I know better. Standard protocol is still protocol, regardless of whether it is of any use. They only let me study part time. I am too sick, they tell me, to fill my days with dusty books and boozy nights. But I have still learnt some things along the way, regardless of how much more slowly that may have been.
Lift on three. 1. 2. 3. I scream. They apologise. I thank them for hurting me. The entire time, I thank them. Thankyou for inserting metal cannulas into my spidery veins. Thankyou for wrapping the sphygmomanometer around my little rotted bicep. Thankyou for helping scoop me off the floor when I collapsed walking the three metres to the toilet. Thankyou for discussing fatal genetic conditions with me. Thankyou for feeding poisons into my mouth.
They strap me to the metal table, and feed a cushion beneath my ankles.
This should make you a little more comfortable.
A large device is placed over my pelvis. Again, I scream. And then I apologise. And I am as confused as them as to why.
Finally they squish ear muff headphones against my head, as it disappers into the pillow. We are equal in shade and I am frightened that I may disappear all together. I think they are finished, but they never are. Finally an emergency button is folded into my palm. ‘If you need help, press this’. And then they are gone.
There is something about the contrast of the situation which leaves me titillating between hysteria and complete desperation. The machine fits and seizes with all the verocity of a jackhammer, and there is not a decibel in difference. Every now and then, as the machine winds down I am slapped in the face with the true definition of the sublime and the ridiculous. 70’s pop music plays from the shells around my little face, and I have to stifle a chuckle. I would never risk such an act. It will ensure they will only repeat the procedure. No, I mustn’t blur their images.
But my body has other ideas. Too many drugs and too little pain relief. I begin to spasm. I gasp, not from pain but rather fear. Don’t blur the images, don’t blur the images.
And so I talk to her. She isn’t just a girl though. She remains a best friend, despite heavens distance.
It’s me. It’s Jess. I’m really sick. I’m really scared. So I need you. So I am going to talk to you, and you are going to make sure I am okay. And I won’t be alone, and we can go through this together.
But of course, it isn’t the first time. There was once a time when I pressed my face against hers. She was trapped in her machine, just as I now lay trapped in mine. And I spoke to her through the screen, embodied the raunch of a phone sex operator. We laughed until it hurt while the nurses raised their eyebrows. But we didn’t care. We were just teenage girls who deserved to laugh, regardless of whether we had a reason to or not.
I didn’t feel like laughing though, not today. They had told me it would be twenty minutes, not infinite.
They had also told me it would be six months until I was in remission. Next month I will raise a glass and blow a kiss to seven years. All things come to an end. Mine simply lays in the form of endless.
Maybe it’s the Oxycodone currently coating my tongue and brain. Perhaps it’s the right hip which now renders me in a wheelchair once more. Or maybe I just have too much pain and too little sleep.
Maybe I am ungrateful, and maybe I should recount my blessings.
But today I think I am just tired.
And as I laid in the machine yesterday, my mind filled with only one thing.
One day, this is going to stop.
And I am going to get to rest.
I won’t have to fight anymore.
And it will be beautiful.
It will be okay, of course.
Just not today, that’s all.