My Chronic Illness Story VI

My parents came in to the hospital over the weekend and fought for me. Telling another consultant what had been said to me the previous Friday, when I was admitted, and just how much rubbish it was.

I felt that some doctors had made up their mind about me already.

One consultant said they would ‘give me a CT scan, to make me feel better’ after I reeled off my symptoms one morning. The entire experience was like a terrible terrible joke.

I couldn’t get up to go to the toilet by myself and was too embarrassed to ask for help after the way I had been treated. I asked family members and healthcare assistants to wheel me to the toilet and then pulled a cord to be helped back to bed. I asked my Mum to brush my hair and close the curtains around my bed so I could wipe myself clean and brush my teeth. I couldn’t wash my hair or sit up to talk to the doctors that came around to see me.

It felt as though my body was shutting down and there was an audience watching it happen, unsure of what to do.

One doctor came round and simply ‘hmmm’ed at me before moving on, leaving his assistant behind – confused and apologetic.

On the third day, I saw the psychiatrist (as recommended). He came round and asked if I would like help getting out of bed. This was the first time I had been asked by a doctor about me, my wants, my thoughts and my wishes. He wheeled me into a private room so we could have a conversation. I told him all about my previous experiences of depression and addiction. I spoke honestly and expressed my fear and frustration at the ‘treatment’ I had received so far at the hospital.

He listened and instead of judging my past, he seemed to want to work hard to help me. He asked me about the tests they were looking to carry out and even Googled a few things with me during our session. He asked me to try and speak to him before I left the hospital too, so if he saw another young lady going through something similar he would know more. He was honest, empathic and I deeply appreciated his benevolence.

I felt relieved. I knew that the psychiatrist could see what I did.

These physical symptoms weren’t a repeat of my past; The two could not have been further apart. I cared deeply about my health. I wanted to live my life. I was anxious to the tune that I imagine any other person would be in this situation.

My heart continued uncontrollably thudding, my symptoms were still ever present. Eating, standing and washing were intolerable. It made me unable focus for hours. My partner Tarron and family would come up to see me and I hated it. I felt like my body was completely out of control and wasn’t really there at all.

It was after the CT scan, after the arranged appointments had been carried out, and I had been seen by physiotherapy team who had been asked to offer me extra help to go home – I saw red.

There was no way I was going through this anymore without really being listened to or taken seriously. Tarron came up to see me every evening and that evening I turned to him and said: “One of the consultants had mentioned doing active stand tests, I’ve been here for days, it’s not fucking difficult. So I’m doing now. Sorry.”

I called over a nurse and said that the tests had been mentioned but never done. He came back with a blood pressure and heart rate monitor for me.

I was going to do this to myself, to show that my symptoms were real. I would not be sent home to live this way.


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