It's taken me a while to get back into life after my most recent hospital admission, probably because it was such a long one, but I'm getting there now. When I first came home I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the world, having spent most of the previous four weeks in one small room because of being MRSA positive. I found that almost everytime I left my flat I'd begin to feel very emotional, and on several occasions was almost in tears simply because I was doing something normal. I was alive. I'd survived the asthma attacks (somewhat surprisingly), and was back in the world where people try not to think about being ill or death. One day last week I was in Tesco when I suddenly felt really tearful at the normality of checking a box of eggs for broken ones. It was almost too much, and part of me wanted to abandon my shopping and come home. I didn't. I moved on to the milk and instead nearly cried over the bottles as I considered the normality of checking expiration dates.
It's odd how emotional it can be to come home from hospital after a long admission. I suppose it's partly the relief of having survived another severe attack, and this time there were various complications along the way that added to that relief. Coming home can be exhausting as well, though, so perhaps some of the emotion comes from that too. I mean, when you're in hospital you don't have to do anything except the hard task of get well (or relatively well) and then stay stable. When you get home you have to maintain what stability of wellness you've achieved, hopefully improve further, and do all the day-to-day living things like meal-planning and prep, getting drinks, getting dressed, shopping, maintaining the home. It's wonderful to be able to do these things, and to have the freedom of being home, but it is also exhausting and takes a fair amount of getting used to again.
I tend to throw myself back into life when I get home from hospital, often to the dismay of friends and family. In part this is because I have so many hospital admissions, and so little time between them, that if I had 'recuperation time' then I'd only ever have that and time in hospital without any proper time for living a life. It's also the way I've learnt to deal with the trauma of being in hospital, and yes, each admission is traumatic even though I'm used to it. I am used to the routine. I know what to expect in terms of treatment and procedures. I know all too well what ITU and HDU are like. I know the usual course of my attacks. But I never get used to the uncertainty of my survival, the possibility that each attack may kill me. I never get used to the fear and sensation of suffocation. Each attack is physically and emotionally draining. Jumping straight back into things when I'm home is my way of making the most of life while I have it, and reaffirming that there is more to my life than illness.
That is something I sometimes struggle with - knowing that there's more to my life than illness. Sometimes I feel like I just bounce from one hospital appointment to another, to my GP, to my carers, to feeling ill, and back to hospital. There's been a fair amount of that even during these past two weeks at home as it seems that I've developed some problems with my liver, most likely as a result of long-term high-dose steroids for my lungs. Since coming home I've already been back to my GP once, had bloods taken by the surgery phlebotomist, been to the hospital for a scan, and been back to the surgery twice for blood results. It's looking likely that I have (non-viral) hepatitis, so yet something else to contend with, and probably another referral to another hospital consultant and therefore yet more hospital appointments and 'life' as a patient, rather than life as BeckyG. I'm hoping to get a better picture of things next week, and maybe find out a little more about diagnosis, prognosis, treatment (if any) etc.
All this liver stuff has certainly been making me feel rubbish, with pain and constant nausea, and more lethargy, and it might well be contributing to the water retention problems I've been having. It's been more difficult to throw myself back into life, but I've been determined to do what I can so I actually managed to get to homegroup (bible study group) on Wednesday for the first time in a long time. It was good to be there. I was tired, but it was a small group of people who know me well, and I was able to share some of my worries and concerns with them, and pray about them, and that was all a relief.
I also went to a Bellowhead concert on Monday night at The Sage. I love Bellowhead, though I find it very difficult to describe their music ... perhaps you could call it funk folk... Anyway, they're brill and they clearly enjoy themselves while they're performing. I'll post some photos of the gig when I get around to taking them off my camera. Actually, Monday night's Bellowhead gig went a long way towards helping me to feel alive again, like that kind of concert is what being alive is all about. It was fantastic, and come to think about it, I've been a lot less suddenly tearful since then too :o)
So yes, I am gradually settling back into life outside of hospital, albeit with some (more) health complications, and I am re-engaging with the world :o)