Last night, while I was brushing my hair and watching strands of it drift to the floor – sorry, gross image, but yes, it falls out – I suddenly realised I had missed the one year anniversary of my almost dying.
Today it’s a year and three days since I was admitted to hospital. I confess I don’t remember much about that time. I’d been sick for months by that point, but by January and February things had gotten much worse. I was still trying to work, mostly from bed so I could go between the laptop and throwing up into a bucket. I don’t think I have ever thrown up so much in my life. One thing I do remember is the sheer relief when I was admitted and they put intravenous painkillers and antinausea drugs into me, and for the first time in months I felt nothing. No pain, no intense need to vomit. The first proper meal I had, the next night, may have been revolting hospital food, but after weeks of starvation and just not even being able to smell food, it was the best thing I ever ate. (It was a spinach tart with mashed potatoes. I remember because I ate it with my fingers because I was too weak to use utensils or open my eyes).
The time in hospital was pretty terrifying – they speculated about what was wrong with me and I was misdiagnosed with a more serious chronic condition than what I actually have. I cried a lot. I felt totally defeated. It felt weird, after months of insisting I was fine, that I’d be getting better really soon, to finally admit that wasn’t the case.
Still, I was still relatively optimistic, looking back. I remember applying for the sickness benefit, which would be valid for three months, and thinking ‘Oh good, three months is heeeaps of time, of course I’ll be back at work by then.”
Haha, year-ago-Sarah. Good one.
But no one expects to get sick like I did, and no one realises the toll that it takes on your body. This last year has been a pretty incredible journey, learning to live with being chronically ill, fatigued, and in pain. I am making progress, as I’ve said in recent posts. But recovery is nearly always two steps forward one step back, and I’m in a step back stage at the moment (writing this on my laptop in bed. This feels hauntingly familiar!)
So I guess I just wanted to share this new milestone, and take a moment in my mountain climbing to appreciate how far I’ve come. It sure doesn’t feel like it some days, but I have. I can see change happening. I have hope.
I even use a knife and fork these days.