Life in hospitals is governed by their own internal rules. The day starts early, around 6 am and finishes relatively early as well, supper is served around 5 pm. In the meantime there are obligatory health checks, procedures, treatments, surgeries and all other kinds of medical care the patients receive.
My hospital days were rather intensive. I’d wake up at 6 for the temperature check, then have a quick shower and make coffee to be ready before seven for the first dose of IV drip. Breakfast was at 7.30 am. 8.15 I already had to be in front of the treatment room where, every morning, I had examinations done, including the notorious lower eyelid injections. It took about one hour and after that I could be back to my room. That was the “contemplating pain” time. I’d be asked to get some more checks around noon and then around 1 pm there was lunch. I had some free time after lunch until around 4 pm when I got extra procedures/examinations. 5 pm was for supper and one more round of IV drip. After 6 pm was again my favorite eye injection. In the meantime I’d have eye drops applied by nurses, 4 times a day, the first at 8 am and the last at 8 pm. And that was the moment when hospital day was coming to an end. Evenings were filled with silence and occasional small talks on the corridors.
Silence was something I needed the most at that time. Subconsciously, I chose that city because I didn’t really have any friends there. I knew that if I chose the other one my friends would keep on visiting me, which would be super nice of them but it’d make my stay more difficult. I needed to be alone, alone with myself. It might sound egoistic, but it was true. I had to be alone with myself. I needed time to think, I needed answers. Somehow I ended up suspended somewhere in between and I didn’t really now what to do with myself. I had a plan for life and it failed, stay in hospital was also just temporary, I sought for directions or signs that would help me clarify my path.
Silence was extremely helpful in that. Silence is full of answers. Silence speaks. Every evening I started through the window in the room. The picture was still, rooftops of the buildings on the other side of the street, sometimes it was raining, the other days snowing, yet the picture was still. Silence invited me to go inward, to check on my heart’s desires. Silence helped me weed out the toxic and appreciate the good. Silence showed me who was with me, whom I can count on and whom I should no longer care of. Silence became my guide in the long, dark evening hours in hospital.
Morning examinations, on the other hand, were wild, I must say. I had to show up at 8.15 but never knew when would be my turn to be examined. Sometimes I had to sit there even for 2 hours to be called by the doctor. The treatment room was always busy; patients, doctors, nurses, patient’s families… It resembled more the market square rather than high-class specialist’s room.
I liked it that way. The hustle and bustle kept my thoughts away from what was coming. The injection. Something to which my body developed a psychological reaction in a form of spasms that presented themselves on the way to the treatment room. Some told me I was overreacting, after all, it was just an eye so why I was making such a big deal about it. But I still remember that pain I received two times a day. The pain that didn’t attack straight away. It was a slow process of exposing itself to me and it lasted for about 2 hours after the injection. It was applied in the lower eye lid with a regular syringe as a form of fighting the post-surgery inflammatory condition I had in my eye. It had to be done slowly as the doctor needed to create a kind of a sac where they injected the medicine. The liquid later on spread in the eye forming small blisters in the cornea and then absorbed. The procedure was repeated for seven days, altogether I received 15 such injections. The first two days were acceptable. The crisis came on the third day after the surgery. The eye was slowly starting to heal, which caused the feeling of discomfort and irritation. The muscles around the eye were tense adding extra inconvenience. I also didn’t sleep well as the only position I could have was on my belly, head down. And those injections. They felt as if someone was tearing my eye like paper, or as if someone poured acid or other toxic substance into my eye, or maybe it felt like both. The pain was unbelievable. Pulsing, itchy, bursting. It continued for days and the doctors only added more. I felt in in my eye, on my face and half of my head. On the fourth day, after the morning injection I thought I had enough. I thought I couldn’t take on more pain. I said to myself I reached my pain threshold.
But then I learnt that there isn’t something like ‘threshold’. When I said I couldn’t take it anymore the doctor came to me and took me for laser procedure. With the condition of my eye I had at that time it felt like jack-hammering my brain. More pain added. Insanely intensive, spreading all over my body. The limit got extended to double. I came back to my bed afterwards. I sat on it. Tears started falling. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t control it. I had to get rid of it somehow. Uncontrolled cry, spasms all over my body and this omnipresent pain. I survived, though. I persisted. That day I learnt that there’s no such thing as established limit. I learnt that we receive what we allow for. I learnt that we create our own limits, and we are responsible for what we invite into our lives.
It was another good lesson I received while staying in hospital. In the past I suffered from a lot of emotional pain. I was involved in many different circumstances that left me broken, disappointed, miserable and hurt. Reflecting on that one evening, I realized that however different the physical and emotional pains were, the bottom of it was the same. The limit set on how much I was able to handle, how much I should tolerate. Thinking about some events from the past I know now that if I said clear “NO” in the right moment most of them wouldn’t even have happened. I’d have saved myself from a lot of torment if only I’d set firm boundaries on how I wanted to be treated by others. If only I were so smart back then.
– TO BE CONTINUED –
© Lusessita Kingsley 2020