The past twelve days are like a mist to me. I am emerging, but swirls clutch my ankle still, and I can neither penetrate the fog behind nor the darkness ahead.
Five days and four nights in a sterile, cold hospital surrounded by very old women, rushing doctors and bullying nurses. In between a CT scan, new pain medications, a chest x-ray, endless blood tests, hunger, bright lights, a nightmare 50-minute, claustrophobic MRI scan, loneliness, waiting and pain I lay and thought for hours on end about death, and growing old.
Home at last, the smells of real life assaulting my sterilised nostrils, without anti-nausea medication coming through an IV line and a nurse plying me with blood pressure tests and pain medication every two hours, I stumbled. Life was edging back and I didn’t have mechanisms to deal with it any more.
I am emerging, crawling forward, slowly. I have weaned myself off medication. I can stand upright for extended and increasing periods of time. I can shower – oh! how I missed being able to shower, and brush my teeth, that first week – and eat meals sitting with my family. The doctors found very little, and in the absence of tumours or anything more sinister, have left a discharge note of ‘most likely atypical migraine’, which sounds so banal, leaving me doubtful and wondering what to expect of the future.
I don’t feel able to express this experience, or my emotions, or my overwhelming sorrow that threatens again and again to drown me. It isn’t specific, and it leaks out in thoughts of old heart wounds, missing loved ones, hopeless, pointless wishes that I could have had a daughter, and my desperate need to comfort my little boys, who aren’t well. Nothing, in the instant of my child crying, is more important to me than to soothe and comfort, and remember my mother cradling me just so. Love, doubtless, begets love; her endless caring is entirely instinctive within me. I miss her all the time.