I have felt not quite myself. I thought it was just the generalised but undefinable not-quite-right feeling that I have experienced with an increasing regularity over the last 10 years. Ill health has been creeping up on me, inserting itself into my life like a diseased hypodermic needle with a disturbingly determined persistence.
First it was easy enough to work around. Then I had to try to work with it; that got more and more difficult. Now, I have to concede, I feel more sick than well most of the time and I’m scared by what my body will get sick with next.
Just over a week ago I was struck very quickly by an unbearably sore back, not unusual for me given my Spina Bifida. What was unusual was just how painful it was and my intolerance to the pain.
Within 30 minutes of increased back pain, I was vomiting, my abdomen was hurting, my back was worse, my head felt like it might explode, my temperature had shot up to nearly 40 degrees Celsius and I felt so cold I was shaking uncontrollably; all unbearably painful. I felt so confused. I could tell I wasn’t responding with much sense to questions I was asking myself so that I might make an assessment as to where I needed to be. I couldn’t really think through the situation logically and in a way that would get me the help I needed. I called one of my sisters. She took me to see a doctor who eventually put me on IV antibiotics. One ED visit later and I now have a midline, into which is administered twice daily Cefazolin.
At first, while I was presenting as extremely sick, nobody could tell me what was wrong. A couple of doctors thought it was my kidneys for a terrifying 24 hours. A couple of days later, I finally had my answer as a red, hot rash appeared overnight close to the site of a whitetail spider bite that I’ve had since May that just refuses to heal. Cellulitis: An infection I’ve had so much over the last 10 years it has made my life much smaller than it might have been.
Over the first 48 hours of falling ill, I was completely overwhelmed by an unrelenting feeling. It was something I have felt before but it has always been connected to mental health and horrific depressive episodes. This time was different. This feeling that was fast becoming an idea and a possible action, was wholly connected to how I felt physically. I was in so much pain and felt so completely miserable.
I wanted to die.
I didn’t just want it, I craved it with every fibre of my being. I fantasised about it. I was hoping for and trying to will death to set me free. I wasn’t interested in feeling better. I had had enough.
It is just over a week later now and I have a couple more days of IV antibiotics to go before I get assessed again. I’m in bed at my Dad’s, where I have been since I fell ill. I still don’t feel wonderful but I am much better.
The idea that I might want to die let alone that I, just a week ago, begged and pleaded for death is a completely foreign concept to me now. I want to live. I want to fight to be as healthy and happy as I can be. I love my life. The only thing that makes me sad is that however long I’m here for, it won’t be for long enough.
Sometimes there is nothing to be done but to get the help you need, give yourself over to those who can provide that help and wait for things to get better.
Seek help and give yourself tomorrow.