1:30pm, Thursday 12th April
Hello there. Currently I am feeling rather good about myself after helping one of my copatients with his Samsung Tablet so that he can watch videos on it. The patient in question is one that complains bitterly 24/7 about his care and everything else. The nurses feel I am ‘flogging a dead horse’ by trying to help this particular patient but his tablet is now fully idiot proof and he would be ridiculous to still be whining about it tomorrow, however I would not be surprised.
So, the difference in mood is quite different to that of my last entry. Bridging the time between this entry and the last is an exhausting roller coaster of emotions. When I went home for the weekend my mood was brought up by Alex, my girlfriend, and my reliable family. Being with Alex always brings my mood up. It was also very exciting for me to have my bother, Max, and Dad trial two E-Mountain bikes. The electric motor may make it possible for me to cycle this Summer. I received mixed reviews from their rides. Whilst they were out pedalling I was busy in my favourite hobby of plotting long cycling routes on my OS-Map for when I can get back on my own bike. The very thought of being back on my bike is possibly the most exciting thing in my recovery! My time immobile has really highlighted my love for cycling, most of all taking out my mountain bike in the woods near us. On Monday I also got assessed for hydrotherapy sessions. This is an exciting challenge and I am looking forward to my first session at 9am on Tuesday.
Returning back to the unit after my super weekend was a shock and I instantly plummeted into a semi depressive state. Getting reminded of my stalled existence verses the buzzing lives of those at my age didn’t help either. I had a slight guilt that I am holding Alex back from living her life with the freedom to go out, meet friends and do exciting things with the weekends instead of helping care for me. I have seen many patients go through the same emotional deterioration I had, with most of them unable to come back from it. It is a kind of emotion exhaustion from all the trauma and the frustration being felt. A collapse in the ability to stay positive. Some patients dip much earlier than others and some struggle, if not find it impossible to re-emerge themselves from the negativity that drowns them. For me it felt as though I had been treading water since entering hospital back in Bolivia. But as time affects us all it has been slowly succeeding in my causing my emotional muscles to tire. Almost 6 months in it became inevitable that I would not be able to keep up such positivity forever, I owe it to those around me that I have held it all together for this long!
Yesterday my Mother visited me at my very lowest. The night before I had reacted over sensitively to something Alex had said, or rather not said and I had reacted a bit pathetically in hindsight but at the time I expected the worst. Sitting with my Mother it was hard to make eye contact or even fake a smile. Talking to her how I felt was making me well up. I felt as though I had failed in holding it together, a mixture of frustration, hopelessness and even ‘patheticness’ had overwhelmed me. I was beaten. I had had enough! There is no fire left in my belly and no fight left in the dog. I am in myself having an identity crisis not knowing who I am anymore or how to behave, once an athlete, now just dependent. Just like to those who haven’t known how to treat me now that I’m confined to a wheelchair. I guess it comes down to a lack of confidence. ‘Am I still me?’
After supper we went for a walk in the park, she walked and pushed me. It was around 6pm and many of the joggers, walkers and tennis players had just finished work giving the park an air or excitement and relief. The walk and talk gave me a new confidence and, on the way back I called Alex who did not seem to hold any grudges over last nights episode. I later had a really good chat with her before bed. As I said, ‘spending time with Alex always brings my mood up’, this time was no exception.
Today started well with a shower and although I missed my ‘breakfast group’ (independence training) session, the nurse showering me used a new standing transfer device with me. The benefit being; I put more effort into the process of standing, but still have enough help from the nurse to stand whilst also completing the transfer from the bed to the wheelchair. Using the device this morning was a great success and hopefully, I will soon be doing standing transfers at home too. After breakfast I had ‘arm group’ where I did my exercises whilst watching the England Woman’s hockey team getting knocked out in the Semi-finals. Doing mostly my own exercises, I was able to work on my scapular region, hoping to bring more stability to my shoulders and therefore make my arms more useful. Afterwards I retired to my room where I finished reading Jenson Buttons autobiography and then headed to lunch. It always makes me feel good finishing a book.
Before entering the dining room, I got reception to block Tuesday morning out of my calendar for next week as I have hydrotherapy that morning instead, and yes, I am very excited to get in the pool. I also mentioned to those at reception that I might set up a four in a row tournament now that I have discovered the joy in helping others. And now lunch brings us to helping the happy chap with his tablet.
It is now 4:30pm, I am distracted by the Common Wealth games mountain bike race being shown on BBC2. Mum had just popped in to give me a sandwich and check in on me, make sure that I am not feeling miserable again. Now that I have a sandwich in hand I am a very happy chappie! She also got to watch me in a physio session where we worked on my feet. It was the easiest physio session I have done since coming to the unit with most of it being massage orientated. I am in a good mood.
Until next time. Bon Voyage!
By Angus, the not so fed-up cripple.