Well, the title says it all really. This last week, maybe week and a half has been absolute torture for me. So that explains the lack of posts!
As explained before, spinal injuries often involve skin problems during recovery, and unfortunately I’ve been stuck in bed. On top of that, I’ve managed to somehow acquire an infection. Commonly known as a UTI or water infection, I’ve ended up recatheterised, needing IV fluids and taking IV antibiotics. I also ended up back in High Dependency, but thankfully not for as long as before. These things, coupled with the bed rest, have meant this week has been torture. I’ve often said I’d love to spend a week in bed, just lounging and doing nothing.
I was very wrong.
Being stuck in bed is by far the worst part for me; even though my legs don’t work, being up in my wheelchair allows me virtually the same level of freedom as I had prior to my injury, and much more independence than when in bed. Being stuck in bed takes this away from you, and it’s awful. When you’re stuck like that, no matter what people do you just can’t be comfortable or happy with the situation. I was extremely unwell truth be told, but at the time that didn’t matter to me; I just wanted to get up. The two times I did try and get out of bed, I was back in within 20 minutes and feeling much worse for trying at all. The constant feeling unwell and the prospect of it lasting a fair while can take it’s toll mentally as well as physically. I seriously struggled to remain positive, and I’m quite ashamed to admit that for the first time, I thought to myself how much easier it would have been if I didn’t survive the crash. It was a fleeting thought, but it shows how dark the mind can get when things get bad.
Thankfully, I’m now up and about again, and my head is in a much better place. I’ve always been an advocate of people seeking help for mental health, but I never thought I personally would need help. I’m now proud to say I speak regularly to a psychologist, and the help she gives me is immense. I also rely heavily on my family and friend, and in particular my girlfriend Sarah. Getting things off my chest is a great help, and having someone there who genuinely wants to help is amazing. She’s bloody perfect to put it bluntly.
Overall, this week has been the worst I can remember since coming into hospital. Whilst I have previously been much more physically unwell, this time I was conscious and aware of what was going on; I think that has made it much harder to deal with. Despite that, I have now arrived at the other side of that little detour in my recovery and, if I’m honest, I feel stronger for it. I certainly wouldn’t want to go through it again, because a) it was painful and b) I don’t know how well I would cope. That said, I think if it were to happen again now that I’ve done it once I could tell myself it can’t get worse!
In this journey I am on, I’m well aware there’s going to be ups and downs. Here’s hoping that I’m on an up for a while now. As a side note, if anyone reading is struggling with mental health, take it from me that it’s not worth struggling through alone. We live in an age where thankfully the stigma around mental health is falling away, but there truly is no shame in seeking help.