With all that has been going on in my life, I have been partially distracted from the emerging emotions. The PTSD is still there and is still a battle, but with everything going on I just compartimentalize until I have time and energy to deal with it.
That all changed on Monday. Monday my grandmother needed to go the hospital. I got to wear the lovely and attractive face mask so I could hopefully eliminate any germs that might be in an ER. Let me tell you, it is very stylish, especially with fogging glasses! The admitted her and started the usual rig-a-marole, blood pressure, temperature, blood work, etc.
The blood work is what got me. Now remember, I have seen a needle go into my chest via my chemo port every other week. I wear that needle for 3 days straight every other week. But when that needle went into her arm I was instantly teleported back to the admittance for my abdominal surgery. I was instantly back in that hospital bed, dehydrated due to the colon cleanse the night before, the vomiting resulting from the colon cleanse, and of course not being able to drink anything that morning. The nurse asks my parents and darling knight to step back and let them pull the curtain as they get my IV in. The nurse apologizes but tells me that the DR has asked for an 18 gauge needle for the IV so that all the stuff can go through that one IV. Being ignorant I shrug thinking nothing of it until I see the needle. Evidently 18 gauge is a BIG wide needle. So I buck up not wanting my family and darling knight to have anything to worry about and lay there waiting for the inevitable prick.
This needle is what gives people nightmares. The pain of when she tried to get my dehydrated vein was so sudden and so bad I screamed. She missed the vein and needed to try again, and yet again she apologized. This time I knew what was come and only whimpered with tears streaming down my face. I was literally crying due to how much that blasted needle hurt. She couldn’t successfully get that arm and apologized as she needed to try for my right arm. Now I am starting to make jokes to make the situation manageable as tears are streaming down my face. She still couldn’t get it and refused to try again. She said the nurses at the operating room would have to try.
Now the back flash wasn’t limited to just that horrible thing. My mind in seconds raced through all the tortures that awaited me after I had the 8 inches of colon removed from my body. The tubes coming out of me, the drainage ports, the pain, the tube that went up my nose and down into my stomach for a day. The shear pain of having to move so the nurses could check different things on the front and back of me. The pain of moving only by pulling myself via arm power as my abdomen couldn’t do anything. My darling little child seeing me with all those tubes and trying to crack jokes and make her laugh. Seeing the pain and confusion in her eyes as she sees her mom in this horrible state. Seeing my Knight’s hand as he slept in a chair next to me so I could have someone with me as I slept. Seeing my parents trying to hold back tears as they see their daughter in this horrible condition.
In a matter of moments all of this and all the pain I had ignored and put in a metal sealed box rushed to the forefront. I didn’t even know I had these emotions and was suddenly overwhelmed with them at the worst possible time. My grandmother is in a hospital bed, scared, confused and suddenly I want to run screaming from the room. Suddenly I wanted to crawl under a desk in a corner and cry my eyes out. But none of that was an option.
As I did during my surgery, I shoved those emotions (this time knowingly) into a box for later exploration and started cracking jokes. During my stay at the hospital pre and post surgery, the nurses commented on my good attitude, on my willingness to find jokes in everything. I would do funny shuffle dances while doing the loop around the ward once I was able to walk. I would make jokes about everything and have a smile on my face. I made everyone laugh and by doing so I could ignore what was actually going on with me. I was in survival mode at its finest. Only the Knight saw the tears, but again I had unknowingly shoved most of the pain to a dark hidden place and that pain was not allowed out. My brain and body was trying to protect me without me knowing it.
So I did this for my grandmother. I had her smiling and laughing. I had others finding humor. I did what I needed to do to survive the circumstance.
When I got home however, I knew I needed to open the box of dark feelings. I needed to let whatever was in there come out. So like Pandora, when I was alone, home in my bed, I opened the lid. Was it easy to process through it all? Oh my word no! Tears and sobs poured forth. But they needed to get out and I knew it. They needed to be processed so I could move forward. There are still some tears that need to come forth and I know they will for this topic and for probably a lot of my treatment’s emotions that I have hidden away. Right now I can’t even remember much of the past 6 months. Part of that is probably the chemo, but I suspect a large part of it was my body defending me against all the angst involved in this path. I will need to deal with them over time. Hopefully they won’t be such a sneak attack as this one, but my hope level isn’t too high.
So why do I write this? I write all of this so hopefully when others go through something similar, they will have been made aware to expect this onrush of emotions. If anything I hope that others can find hope in the grieving process knowing it won’t be forever. Also I write it as a way to remind myself this isn’t forever. This is a year that has been taxing and trying. But it has been a year with gems, even if right now it is hard to see. Maybe someday, I will be able to view the pain, suffering, and gems and hold them for the Glory of God. But right now, I will stay in my survival mode and let things progress as they need.