Ah, hospitals. The curious place that us lupus patients just have to visit once a while, hopefully not to linger too long.
I used to jokingly tell my friends that I do not normally take medical leave, if I had to, it normally means I was so sick I need to be hospitalised. Who could have thought that I was right after all?
My body got its big break last year, and because of lupus and a 6cm ovarian cyst, I needed to be in the hospital almost a month, and checkups throughout the year. The last time I was in the hospital this long was when I was 8 years old and I had appendix.
When you always have to be in the hospital, you start to see the hospital as a curious rabbit hole that just seems different from the rest of the world outside. You see the doctors and nurses as aliens who speak a different language and do weird things just to keep yourself entertained while you wait for your turn, or wait for another test to be carried out. There is no real way for you to rush things through. I used to be, and still am a very driven person who believed that everything is urgent. If you press the buttons hard enough, everything will move swiftly. The only exception to this rule is when I was in the hospital. It was a slow dance between the hospital and my patience, and it seems that I always have to give in and tell myself to be more patient, as I am indeed, a patient. Wow. No pun intended really.
Sometimes the time passed so slowly you almost feel that your life stood still. Time has frozen. Everyone moved in slow motion, like in the movies. When everything moves so slowly, your mind becomes clearer. You could focus on thinking about just one thought. Or two. But because there was no pressure to be fast in the hospital, you gave those two thoughts a very deep thought. You reflect on your life so far. You thought of the time when you were first having the lupus symptoms. You thought of the things that you have done so far in your life. You thought of your dreams and ambitions. You watch your life like a movie in the hospital. Your thoughts wandered away.
I felt bizarrely calm in those moments.
It has been a long time since I had this much time on hand to think about my life.
I have had vacations where I took a nap in front of Bondi beach or infront of Milford Sound to think about my life. I have taken leave to do nothing at home, and wished that I could empty my mind to contemplate about life. But I often fell asleep before I reached the point where thoughts could be gathered. Somehow when I was in the hospital, I did not feel like I could fall asleep, so the next logical thing to do is to think about life.
All of a sudden I understood why patients need to be hospitalised. If they were at home, even if they were not working, there is no telling if they could get the rest they need. The world has much expectations on everyone, and unless you are under quarantine (ie a place like the hospital), somehow you are answerable to everyone else.
There is this curious tunnel with mural painting that I must pass through before reaching the rheumy or renal daycare ward. It looked and felt like a portal to an unknown dimension. Where people do not follow the rules of the society. A place where I find peace and solace.
I do not go through that tunnel so often anymore. But sometimes I do remember the peace and calmness that I felt when I was there.
How about you? What is a hospital like to you? Do you think the doctors and nurses speak in the same wave length as you? Or are they aliens that you could never understand? Do you find peace? Do you feel rested?