The Day That Broke Me.

When I walked into the hospital that morning, I assumed I’d be going home the next day. People like me, we know the statistics of positive and negative outcomes of the surgery we’re about to have. We know the risks and the percentages that go with them. But no one goes into surgery thinking that they’re going to have a bad outcome. Random fact, statistics also show that you’re more likely to have a bad outcome if you go into surgery thinking something bad will happen. I trusted the doctors (whom I also extensively researched). But I guess the reality is we don’t truly know what will happen until it does…

If you’ve read my past entries you know about me waking up surrounded by people trying to keep me awake and then being transferred to the ICU. Those rooms are… bearable? There’s a window that my Mom slept by but my bed was across the room so while the sunlight was appreciated, I didn’t get much of a view. And being bed ridden didn’t exactly give me the chance to sit by the window or go for a walk outside. The nurses were so sweet and helped me keep my spirits up. I think, despite all I went through, I was a champ. I was always smiling and as polite as possible. The nurses and I chatted about my dog and they asked about my tattoos. We became friends to the point where no one wanted to let me go to the surgical floor and they fought over who could take me there. I didn’t want to leave either unless it meant I was going home…

The surgical floor… Blah. The nurses were nice but not the same. In the ICU, you practically have a team to yourself and plenty of time to get to know each other because there’s always tests to be done and they have to monitor you closely. But on the surgical floor, they’re busy and only there long enough to do the task at hand, i.e. draw blood, give meds, whatever. I get it, my Mom is a nurse and I hear the stories of busy days and running back and forth so I never tried to strike up a long conversation. But we still got to know each others names and I did my best to stay positive and pleasant, despite my lack of sleep and unbearable amounts of pain in which the meds did NOTHING for. It wasn’t their fault and I was determined not to be a spiteful, angry patient. I was determined to be everyone’s favorite and I like to think I was. But I was stuck in a room that was shared with another person and the only thing separating us was a curtain. The other person got the window, I got nothing. The first lady over there broke her arm and needed surgery, she got to go home after ONE day. Yet all she could do was complain and bitch and moan to the nurses and people on the phone. I wanted to punch her or shoot myself. She made me so angry. The next was no different. She had some kind of stomach problem and she also got to go home after a day! Yet she was a complete twat to the nurses and again, bitched and complained the ENTIRE TIME. To make matters worse, she snored louder than anyone I’ve ever met. So at 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning, where was I? Walking the hall with my whatever colored socks and my IV cart attached… The nurses always giggled and asked what I was doing. I knew I needed to walk and my TV wasn’t loud enough to drown out her snoring so I walked. I would hear people screaming at the nurses when they had to be woken up to take their meds. I was reminded they’re doing their job and my job was to be as kind and appreciative as possible. It wasn’t until day… 12 (I think) that I really, truly lost it. I had tearful moments along the way but not many. I missed my dog most of all and I wanted to be home so my family could stop worrying and I could start recovering. But that day… Day 12… The doctor told me it might be the day I get to go home… I was ecstatic beyond words. I was going to get to my dog if it killed me! Can you imagine 12 days of no real shower, no window, no being able to go for a walk outside or get some fresh air.  I had tubes everywhere. One that went in my nose and all the way down into my stomach (a pain I’ll NEVER forget), a central line coming out of my collar bone area to offer more ports to draw blood, lines in my arms and hands… By the time I left, they had given me so many shots and taken so much blood that they had to start pricking my fingers to get blood because there was no veins left… I looked like I had track marks ALL OVER. Thankfully I had a wound vac on my stomach and 40 something staples that would hopefully prove they weren’t, just in case anyone needed to clarify ha-ha. I was exhausted. I was drained. You could see that my spirit was barely there anymore… I smiled but barely. I spoke as little as possible. I had nothing left… My Mom sent pictures of my pup when she went home at night and my sister brought me magazines. My Mom spent her days by my bedside keeping me company. Then, I’ll never forget, the doctor tells me I can’t go home… My stats aren’t stable so I need to stay another night and maybe I can go home tomorrow… Tomorrow felt like an eternity. It felt like she was telling me I’d never get to go home. I begged but the answer was final. I was devastated. I’ll never forget feeling as if my spirit literally fell to the ground and shattered in that moment… I burst into tears and there was no stopping them. I tried so hard to be kind and understanding and say okay but I was completely broken… I wish she had never told me there was even a possibility I’d be going home that day. Going home and seeing my dog was all that kept me going all this time and she took it away. I was broken. Nurses could come and go and I didn’t care anymore. They’d come in to take my blood and I’d just stick out my arms and tell them to do what they wanted. I walked the halls and with every step I wanted to collapse. I could barely smile at anyone, for any reason anymore… There was no fight left in me. In my 30 years, I’ve never felt so defeated. I felt hopeless beyond what I ever imagined possible. I wanted to be grateful that I was getting there, that the time was coming that I could go home but I wasn’t. I wasn’t grateful, I wasn’t angry, I was just… broken. Like a little girl who’s world had come crashing down. And in a million ways, I guess it had. Who knew that even when I would get to go home, the battle had just begun… To pick myself up, to build a new life from the ground up. To learn that I was, in fact, broken and would not recover in a few months as planned and that I may never recover at all… 

My world is different now, to say the least. Looking back, I can watch the whole conversation play out, clear as day. I can feel the overwhelming sadness in my heart and the tightness in my chest. I was a warrior, I was certain nothing in life could break me but I’ll be damned if that very moment did not bring my world crashing down. Sometimes I wonder if my spirit will ever fully recover. I am not trying to chalk myself up to anything but I KNOW I was tough, I was a fighter and I was damn good at it. I’ve done it my whole life and I KNEW I could do this. I could overcome anything. I had fought my depression for years without medication, I beat the ICU and gotten better, I wasn’t mean to anyone when they put in a central line without anesthesia (a pain most people couldn’t handle), I didn’t yell or scream as the nurse shoved an NG tube down my nose (it feels like someone is very slowly breaking your nose). For 13 days I was a pleasant patient. For 13 days I was a warrior. I was invincible, or so I thought. Then, in that one single moment, I was defeated. I had no optimism, no strength, no fight left in me… I know they say a broken plate or a wrinkled up piece of paper will never look or be the same. I can’t help but to wonder if that applies to my spirit, too. One can only hope it comes back stronger and more fierce than before but so far, I’m afraid that isn’t the case… 

One thought on “The Day That Broke Me.”

  1. Took me years. It comes in waves. Long period of hopelessness, followed by years of motivation and determination…have hit a lull again now that I am working full time—I miss my TIME. I had found things I loved doing and now that I am working can no longer because of various reasons: mostly feeling exhausted

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