Doula life and birth stories

Friday, 27 December 2013

Spa Weekend Away







What sort of sick mother actually enjoys a week in hospital?  I guess for a mother who is trying to arrange Christmas on a very tight budget for a large family, mentally and physically exhausted, and not a little unwell in to the bargain, a week of being waited upon, listened to, and generally very kindly treated and looked after, was really quite nice.
My haemoglobin levels were so low that I was falling asleep all over the place and really couldn't give two hoots where the hell I was so long as it was acceptable to close one's eyes for a while, but to finally be somewhere where they encouraged me to rest, was enough to bring tears to my eyes, if I hadn't been too tired even to cry.
Over the hours it took to admit me, and take blood, get a night out of the way, then get the gynaecologists to see me,  I dozed, read, ate, drank tea, made friends with the other ladies, and simply closed my eyes when I did not wish to talk any more.
It was a ferociously busy six bedded bay, post-op ladies with complications, a lady with hyperemesis gravidarum, a very disabled lady with a multitude of difficulties.  I  fell into the hospital rhythms, fitful dozing all night as people cried, vomited, shat themselves, and were admitted or moved, drug rounds, tea rounds, meals.
Everyone flat out by six am, and awake again within the hour to florescent glare and pills and tea and toast that was just warm bread that hadn't been toasted at all.  Doctors' rounds, nurses doing obs, lunch, rest, visitors. Tea, dinner time, obs, visitors again.  If any of this constant merry-go-round became to much, my eyes could close, and I could
sleep, or not, or read, or not, whatever I wished.  Nothing was expected of me, there was no one to let down, or annoy.  Only kindness.   People moaned about the food, but I chose salad, and it was simple and healthy and good quality.  I guess in the absence of likelihood of a spa weekend or a retreat, the simple austerity I imagined prison to be (I know it isn't really like that) would have suited me.  I could imagine learning an instrument, or spending vast amounts of time in meditation, but probably not ever finishing a book.
After a couple of units of blood I felt able to get up and wander to the chapel where I was relieved to find no-one but the presence of something out of time and physical pain and welcoming of my contemplative mood.  I experimented with praying just to pray, not imploring an invisible force for something, but communing with something, opening up to something, and being opened in return.

All too soon, I felt physically better.  I still had the gynae problems, but pills were controlling the bleeding, and the transfusion had restored my vitality. Equally healing was the cocoon of kindness I had felt wrapped in whilst being a patient. I guess it shows how bad my life has become, when the only time I feel able to accept simple care and kindness is when I am officially ill.
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