2nd October 2014: Sydney, Australia
Yesterday I made reference to a new aged Bedlam. An interesting point to my story is the complete contrast in how I spent the week leading up to my hospitalisation. It is almost surreal life to think in the space of three weeks I went from snowboarding in the French Alps to being a passenger in an ambulance to then wearing stockings on a last minute booked flight bound for surgery in Sydney. I recall arriving into Sydney airport, loaded with images of all the testing completed, with an oddly feeling of having an overwhelming appreciation of life. In hindsight, it was the emergence of my completely unfounded confidence and certainty in knowing I was able to overcome the situation.
Recently, I have been reminiscing on the sleepless and bewildered nights on the ward when first transported by the ambulance into hospital. The date was 12th January 2014. The question could be whether a midlife crisis of sorts came early or just an example of the many of obstacles to be faced within our lives?
To give a balanced view about the hospital. I am forever grateful to the treating doctors, one in particular whom seemed to take an interest in me. She endeavoured to discover the cause of the stabbing pains in my stomach and neck, flu symptoms and the diarrhoea experienced for approximately six weeks. The original hypothesis was based on the cause deriving from a parasite laying dormant in my body for seven years since my trip to South America. Ultimately, the treating doctors did exactly as their job description entailed by conducting the appropriate investigations to test their hypothesis about a parasite. In this instance, they were incorrect. Yes, there was something causing havoc to my system, however, it wasn’t a parasite. Rather, the large mass of tumour that was thought to be growing within the right hand side of my torso.
I recall numerous blood tests and hours of waiting leading up till this point with no real progress on pursing their diagnosis. It was throughout this period whereby the conditions of the hospital were challenging to say the least. Sleepless nights, tormented by the moans and screams of fellow patients were intolerable to the extent of me attempting to check myself out. On another occasion, the raucous of the ward left the night doctor with no other alternative to prescribing each of us with sleeping tablets. I woke out of the heavenly induced sleep to hear the same noises from 8 hours previously. Thankful for the rest, I was better able to empathise with what the man must be experiencing, and ended up helping him with basic tasks. The noise from the ward combined with the requests to assist in providing basic tasks, such as giving him water was much more tolerable during the morning. It was a different story at night, especially when alone in hospital, with my mind ticking over about what was causing such pain and discomfort. The reason for being alone resulted from my deceitfulness with everyone, partially telling information about my circumstances, straight-up lying or avoiding all contact with family and friends back home. For instance, I would be saying to my colleagues that my house-mates were with me whilst saying the same thing to house-mates and other friends. In reality, I was lying in bed, waiting to discover the massive changes that would soon change the very world I had come to live. Why did I do this? It may have been a thought to not cause worry for others, however, this all changed once the mass was detected. Firstly, I needed time alone to cry. Secondly, it was essential to have people around me, and finally, I called my brother and best mate from back home to tell them about what was happening. Even with the knowledge of a large mass growing within me, I still made it clear to both my brother and his wife that my parents were not to find out. I did not want them to know till I knew exactly what it was, so in the slight chance it was nothing, then I wouldn’t have cause unnecessary worry. My approach obviously highlights the fact of me not having children as the very matter of being in hospital alone on the other side of the word is typically sufficient reason for any, well most people to advise their parents.