I had an unexpected stay in hospital a couple of weeks ago. If you had an idea of hell on earth, for me hospital is probably a few notches worse than that. It is just not a nice place to be, no matter how nice the nurses are or how many people come into visit you; you are still stuck in a room with strangers all trying to battle some form of brutal injustice. I probably come across ignorant to the other patients when I am in hospital but it’s my coping mechanism. I keep my head down, smile each time I lock eye gaze with them but it rarely goes further than that. Some patients love to have daily pity parties, acting like it’s a big sleepover where we all share how bad we have it. That’s perfectly okay if it works for them but it doesn’t work for me. It’s for this reason I put my headphones on and they rarely come off only to chat to nurses or doctors. I just don’t enjoy hearing other people’s tragic stories, acting as an agony aunt to people fifty years my senior at times. I am fragile enough having to be in the hellhole as it is but having to console people is not in my patient description. I have my plan of positivity and I don’t give anything or anyone an option to disrupt that. So how do you go about surviving a long hospital stay where the day begins before seven am, with the beeping of blood pressure machines, the clattering of the doctors shoes in the hallway as they do their rounds, the infuriating snores of the woman in the opposite bed (if I could smother her and get away with it, no brainer). I will always marvel at how patients survived years ago before technology was available. I swap from my phone to tablet to kindle to laptop throughout the day and I still continue to pull my hair out (yesss I have hair) with boredom and frustration. Technology plays a huge part in maintaining my sanity during hospital stays. My last stay was different to the wonderful visits I am usually used to because back then it was for chemo where I was completely wiped out and sick but at least not very conscious of time and life passing by. This time however, I was only too aware of life continuing outside the walls, proceeding without me, ye fekers. So how did I survive? Immerse myself into the lives of others, whether it be real life or fictional, my stay involved loads of podcasts and lots of Netflix.
- I can’t survive without my Samsung Tablet, even though it has a big crack down the middle from standing on it, absolute muppet. It still works and does its job perfectly. I began watching The Gilmore Girls a couple of weeks ago and I found it perfect for the times you don’t want to think or feel. A blessing when you have the thoughts that rage through the heads of cancer patients at times. The new season of Empire is back so I caught up with that and began The Fall (Jamie Dornan nom nom). Netflix I think is a must, including a few other apps too is essential. Documentaries are also high on my list. I love crime docs so I watched the Amanda Knox documentary. I personally think she was innocent but you’ll have to watch it yourself to decide. I’m waiting on a lot more of my favourite shows to come back such as The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, GOT, Chicago Fire, Homeland, just to name a few. I get to watch a lot of series.
- Podcasts- I have fallen in love with listening to podcasts. This American Life and Criminal are my favourite. Radiolab and The Moth are close contenders too. I love nothing more than closing my eyes, putting in my earphones and listening to a story about someone else’s life at the other side of the world. The stories are usually so intriguing. There is something so enticing about replacing all your silly thoughts for a compelling well written narrative about something else going on in the world. You quickly get an idea of how vast the world is and how little your problems can seem in comparison. A couple of This American Life podcasts I listened to was 593: Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee, 592: Are We There Yet?, 586: Who Do We Think We Are?, 579: My Damn Mind. I love their voices; you become enthralled in the story and even though at times I put it on to help me fall asleep I am usually wide awake for whole duration to hear the end. It is a nice way to fall asleep usually though because watching a screen is so bad for you before bed and sometimes I just don’t want to read. Criminal is a podcast I love love love. It tells stories and experiences of someone who has either committed, been a victim of or is somehow related to a crime. They are only about thirty minutes long and I love every single one. They are released every two weeks and I am always counting down the time. Another podcast actually which is amazing and I wish I had never listened to so I can again is Serial, especially series two. It is so removed from anything I know, it was like entering a different world, highly recommend it.
- I had my book ready when needed but honestly I didn’t read much. I just fell asleep every time I tried. I’m reading Perfect Strangers by Peter James at the moment. It’s annoying because it is an amazing book I just can’t seem to stay awake to read it.
- As you all know I love my crochet. So So cool I know. My sister heard of a lovely charity called Bravery Blanky where you can crochet/knit a blanket for young patients in Crumlin hospital undergoing chemo. It will hopefully provide a small amount of comfort for the little petals. I’m delighted to put my new hobby to some good and hopefully make someone happy. Such a great idea, all you need is a good gesture to make your day so much better.
- The meds I was on made me sleepy at times so I would put on my eye mask (the bright fluorescent lights were not nice for sleepy time) and some relaxing music. YouTube and Spotify are great, just search relaxing music. I actually got a notion and listened to Enya a lot and it was beautiful and proved amazing at blocking out everything else.
- Family were essential in distracting me, with one of my sisters/ mam in with me each day to help me count down the hours. They were fantastic slaves.
Things I avoided at all costs were going on Facebook, you don’t really want to see peoples fake lives and bragging platform, getting into depressing conversations with people NOPE NOPE LALALA NOT LISTENING, wishing I wasn’t in here because that’s life and I had to and that was that. Trust me I planned enough for when I got out. After an eight night stay I was released and ran from the place, only to arrive home to a beautiful puppy. Since then I have been catching up with the outside world and not taking anything for granted. Loving life so much right now I am so happy with pretty much everything. It can take a hard stint of something to take a step back, reevaluate things and really discover what you want in life. Chilling with my family, even though at times all I seem to do is give out, is the best cure for any illness.