“I wonder how many times I’ve walked these stairs late at night?” I sighed wearily and reached for the handrail while contemplating that thought.
“These are very steep stairs for a hospital” I frowned. The handrail was sticky, the huge pendant sphere that hung from the centre of the stairwell ceiling casting its dim light was covered in grime and the balcony windows displayed a tapestry of dusty cobwebs. So familiar. “This place looks like it needs a big hug” I sighed again.
This was not in the script for the New Year. Not second day in. Not any day in really.
Yet here we were… surrounded by the familiarity of bricks and mortar and procedures and protocols, the all too common lack of any spare pillows and caring staff that smile and wave and call us by name without the need to look at wrist bands and file notes. So familiar. We hate the place because we are ‘frequent flyers’ at the mercy of chronic illness… but we love their faces. Some get big hugs… because they bloody deserve them.
“I wonder how long we’ll stay this time?” I ponder with some unease as I walk through the noiseless car-park. Such a contrast to the daytime feel walking through here late at night.
The Silver Birch Trees look so elegant in the hazy light of the park lamps.
The usual constant procession of cars circling like sharks for an available park has ceased and there’s no one about in hospital gowns trying to cough up a lung while sucking the guts out of a durry with nervous haste yet they be missed and scorned. (We may or may not have been them once upon a stupid time… insert cheesy guilty grin here while looking at our shoes kicking imaginary stones).
“You know better than to look no further ahead other than a day at a time” I scold myself. But this time feels a little different… amongst all the familiarity there’s an undercurrent of uncertainty… a new diagnosis… an invader undermining any typical predictability.
It was different, and it did undermine any sure-footed ground and it was far from predictable for the eleven challenging days that I continued to walk those stairs… and then he came home… somehow, he always comes home.
A reflection from the beginning of our year that did not start well. We’re managing at home, with support, and Doug is being his cheeky self.
Being a personal blogger writing about my life can be a challenge at times because I wish to respect the privacy of my family while at the same time share to connect with others in meaningful ways. The difficulty for me lies in the fact that by the nature of the beast we live with, that is Doug’s chronic illness, means we have intertwined and shared life experiences… albeit from different perspectives.
I truly believe “Through the sharing of our stories I have faith that strength resilience and hope lie within us all and are nurtured from knowing we are not alone’ as I state on my About Page.
I also say on that page “I hope that by sharing pieces of my own story that you may find validating comfort in pieces of your own story”. But there are parts of my story so intertwined with others that I feel those parts are not mine to tell.
So, I hope you’ll forgive my sometimes cryptic posts that may leave details unsaid. I endeavour to share while honouring my own beliefs around storytelling with thoughtful respect to family.
May the New Year be treating you kindly.
Photo by Nick van der Zwan on Unsplash
As a personal blogger, I totally respect and understand how our stories are so often intertwined with others, that sometimes it isn’t easy, and at time impossible to give too much away. Suffice it to say that I hope you are okay and that those hospital visits aren’t too plentiful, and if they are, then are at least bearable. Take care xx
Hi there Sarah!
It can be quite a difficult balance sometimes as you seem well aware. I’m trying to look at writing through different lenses and perspectives as I seem to have become a little stuck in how to share.
Thanks for your kind words and good thoughts re the hospital visits. There’ll be more to come I feel but we’ll just go with the flow and take it as it comes.
Thank you so much for stopping by Sarah. 🙂 Xx
I completely understand the crypticness. My dad had a lot of time at hospitals, including spending his last six weeks there (two of those in palliative care). Some of those visits were brief – nightly radiotherapy treatments – and some longer (after his heart transplant).
It meant my mother and I were often there (three separate hospitals but one more than the others) and got to view them from different angles, different times of day. Sometimes I looked at others and felt like they were interlopers… I mean, I was a regular! This was my territory. I knew the shortcuts, the sounds the stairs made, which nurses to avoid etc…
I also used to think it’s a place that brings out the best in people cos they’re often there at the worst times. x
Hi there Deborah!
Three separate hospitals? That’s such a long haul. Sounds like you and your Mum were a great support to your Dad and I hope through all the challenges there were some really cherished times to reflect on.
It’s funny how you soon just fit in to the routines of the hospital day. And yep, you soon know where to go searching for extra towels, spew bowls and which people you desire to step around.
I often think people are at their most genuine when they are in challenging and vulnerable times – often there’s no space for anything else!
Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂 Xx
Joanne Tracey says
I love how you’re able to write yet maintain the privacy you need. This was beautifully written and really quite lyrical. #lifethisweek
That’s very kind of you to say Joanne, and means so much. I hope to continue finding ways to share my experiences through writing. It’s a challenge thinking outside the square.
Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂 Xx
Jennifer Jones says
Sandra I could feel your heartache in this post. And I do understand your need to be cryptic. I’m very careful myself not to give up my family’s privacy. But sometimes it is difficult to write about my life without mentioning them. #lifethisweek Will share
I hear you Jennifer! I also find myself wanting to censor my emotion and how circumstances may be affecting me. The last thing on this earth I would want to do is make someone I care about feel guilt or feel like they are a burden because of my honesty in the sharing.
Yeah, it’s tricky this sharing stuff hey? But I also believe it’s very necessary. If it wasn’t for others bravely sharing their stories for me to discover and identify with I’d still be a blubbering mess thinking I was failing at all the things I believed in my life I should have had a firm grip on.
Thank you so much for stopping by Jennifer! 🙂 Xx
Reannon Bowen says
I feel something similar, that need to walk the line. For me it’s in talking about my life as a parent while also respecting my kids privacy. It’s hard isn’t it?
And as much as I bet it really sucks to be back in hospital again it must make it easier to have staff that care. But best of all, he came home!
It is a very fine line to walk, but I think because we are so aware of potentially crossing that line that it will be unlikely to happen… we care too much.
And being home is the best. Makes you appreciate your own bed and your safe place.
Thanks so much for stopping by Reannon. 🙂 Xx
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
It’s lovely to see you back albeit with a different storyline to what you had in mind for the first post of the year. Sorry to hear you’re both doing it tough but pleased you’re home together because really, there is no place like it. You’re so right about personal blogging, our stories are so intertwined but sometimes it’s not our story to tell so we can only share our side of it. Sending love and hugs x
Oh Sammie! Your words are always of comfort and so wise. Hope you are doing okay.
Thank you so much for stopping by lovely one. 🙂 Xx
Kristine Portier says
Thank you for sharing this post. I can’t imagine how tricky things must be and it makes total sense that you can’t share all the ins and outs. What you have shared is very moving and I love the accompanying photo – it looks beautiful, which sounds an odd thing to say given the topic of your post. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more from you, Kris
Hello there Kristine!
Thank you for your lovely comment. That photo really spoke to me as well. Beautiful and quite mysterious. I found myself wondering where it may lead. How lovely it would be to walk amongst it.
Thank you so much for stopping by Kristine. 🙂 Xx
I know, intimately, the experience of not knowing how long a hospital stay will be when a loved one is terribly sick. Thankfully our stay ended after 8 weeks, but I’ll never forget looking out the window of the Mater Children’s hospital in Brisbane at all the little ant-like people scurrying around doing their things and how it was unfathomable that my life had changed in an instant. I felt shocked at how the world continued to turn for everyone else, when it had stopped in mine. Still brings tears to my eyes to think and talk about that time. I’m so grateful to have my little boy with me today and to be able to forget about that time where our lives hung in the balance.
Oh Xanthe, I’m so sorry you know the intimacy of such an experience. I can feel your anguish through your words. Eight weeks is a life time in hospital time. It’s like existing in another dimension that those outside the walls passing by don’t even know exists. I’m so pleased all turned out well for you and your boy. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience with me.
Love 🙂 Xx
Denyse Whelan says
Beautiful words and I do agree with others, you have written with a nod to telling part of the story but not all.
I often find myself checking with my husband about what he is OK for me to share. Sometimes my story doesn’t make a lot of sense without it all…but yes, privacy for others is all important.
Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week is 7/51 T: Telling Self-Care Stories #1. 17.2.2020. Hope to see you there AND the next 10 prompts are on the home page now! Denyse.
Hello there Denyse!
As has already been said, it’s a tricky one isn’t it. There are stories of our life that I just don’t share because, as you have said, they just wouldn’t make sense without it all – and that’s okay too.
Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such thoughtful comments, as always.
Sandra 🙂 Xx
Love and hugs as always xoxo
Thank you my lovely friend. 🙂