Friday 14 February 2014


Undone by two mint plants.

Lying in bed today it seems farcical. Farcical and somehow totally appropriate. I looked at them tonight in their shiny metal pot. So unassuming. I ran my hand through the chocolate mint and it's bully boy cousin, the common mint. Inhaling their scent from my fingers. I breathed in deep, sucking in each and every last molecule of scent. They owe me that. Taken down by two herbaceous hit men, that I dared to re-plant. I'd laugh if the consequences hadn't been so unpleasant.

After fighting so hard all weekend it seems so anti-climactic that this was the left hook that lay me on the hallway tiles. I'd fought rounds with pain, with my blood pressure, with my dehydration. Each time the bell would ring I'd get back up on my feet and stagger back to the centre of the ring for my next beating.

I told myself I was winning. I had it in hand. There was a pattern to the punches. I'd fought my opponents before. I knew all their tricks. I saw the dip of the shoulder before the punch, the planting of the feet before the upper cut came my way. I ducked and weaved like the best of them. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I had them on the ropes.

Then I dared to replant two small green plants.

And I didn't even see it coming.

As I slid elegantly down the wall in the hallway and called for help, I knew I'd lost. I felt it in my bones. In my skin and the hair on my head. From my toenails to my eyelashes, the bitter taste of defeat. It sprang from my pours and filled the room. The tears that spring reflexively when you know that you've lost.

Loser. Failure. Loser. Failure. LoSER. FAILURE.

The words get louder with each passing second. I list off my failings one by one. I beat myself up for not being able to manage better. There MUST have been something I could have done. Something which would have won the round. Something I should have known. Something I should have done. Something....

The trip to the ER seems to take forever. Purgatory. I begin to doubt myself. Maybe I don't need to go. Maybe I'm over-reacting. Maybe I just need to lie down for a while. Drink some more water. Take some more pills. Maybe I should say, "Turn around. Lets go home. Only the sick people go to the ER." If only I could form the words. Denial and doubt are belied by my blue lips and slurred words. By my inability to lift my head or walk. But those internal demons, born from a childhood where illness and needing help were a weakness, whisper their vindictive words. They beat me up as badly as my body. Worse. They know the sweet spots, the secret places that hurt the most. Harden up. Hypochondriac. Suck it up. Push through it. You're so weak.

Part of me baulks even as the automatic doors open up at the entrance to the hospital. Part of me expects the triage nurse to tell me to go home. That I am wasting her time. That there are real sick people who need help. But she's kind and concerned. She takes my vitals and listens to my story. She tells me it must be horrible to live like this. That the doctors will sort me out. She gives me the code words that'll break through the barrier that exist between doctor and patient. She tells me not to worry. That it'll be okay.

I sit in the waiting room, floating in and out as I lay my head on my knees. Scraps of conversation. A prisoner, an assault, a guard in for testing. The boy who's stepped on the nail. The boy who keeps kicking the wall as his mother repeatedly asks him to stop. The beep of the door each time it opens. The woman at the desk apologising at the wait. Car crashes, cardiac arrests. Real sickness. Real emergencies. It'll be soon. Maybe we should just go home.

Then the doctor is there and we gain entry to the other side. Faces. Faces filled with pain, uncertainty, confusion. We pass them one after the other. The burly guards standing just inside with the prisoner handcuffed to the bed. The lights so sharp. The stiff white sheets of the bed. Relief as I can finally lie down. Sleep. I just want sleep. I could sleep for an eternity. Questions. What's wrong? What are you concerned about? What have you eaten? The code words fail. My list of medications and diagnoses fail. And the finger sensor beeps again and again as my bloodless fingers fail to register. My blood wont flow for testing. But the questions continue. How do you spend your day? You have what?

A blur of slurred words and half-formed sentences. So hard to think. So hard to concentrate. A hand holding mine. An intake of breath from the hand holder as he tries to explain once more that all I need is fluids. Finally the miracle, a second doctor and an acknowledgement that I know more about my conditions than they do, and the needle is finally inserted. A rebirth after the IV starts to re-inflate my empty veins.

Blue on my lips and blackened eyes remain, but the clarity returns. Snippets of conversation filter through the curtains. The old man and his wife. His third stroke. They know their way around. The woman back from an overseas trip with a weird viral infection. The horrible crashing sounds as the man across from me seizures. Staff running. Codes called.The girl with the broken shoulder, bent over in pain.

Do I belong? The girl who fell down because she potted two plants.

We come to an agreement. I don't need to be admitted. Flooding relief. That there is nothing more that they can do for me. I am released. A buffer in my veins. Extra padding to make it through the next few days where I can practice my left hooks and upper cuts once more.

I roll out past the broken and the scared. Faces peering at me over blankets. I wish I could take them with me. A mass escape from flashing lights and beeping machines. An escape from pain and fear and uncertainty. Relief as the door comes into sight. Freedom.

Rolling through the carpark. It's only inhabitants in the wee hours of the morning. The silence is only broken by the heavy breathing of the weary and the crunch of my wheels on the gravel. I can speak. I can sit up. I am nolonger blue. But I am still broken.

As we drive home I still don't know if I should have gone. Maybe I could have managed at home? Maybe the fluids would have eventually stayed in? Maybe I could have taken an extra pill? Maybe I could have allowed my hand holder to sleep.  Maybe....

This evening I sat out in my backyard and surveyed my small world. Those deceptively dangerous mint plants are thriving. Mocking me with their runners and verdant green foliage. The other pots sit there waiting. Daring me to come on over and plant them.

I have slept the world away today. Waking only to drink and have tablets. Storing up strength. But fresh air is tempting. The sky needs to be seen. The grass needs to be felt.

As I sit in my chair I start to feel dizzy. I look down at my feet and their bright blue, bloodless, toes. I see the blue tinge head up my to my ankles and take a deep breath. If I don't look in the mirror I wont see the blue start around my lips. It's not that bad. If I lie down I'll be fine. I stand slowly and walk cautiously across the lawn. Heading for bed again. I'll win this round.

And this time I wont be undone by a herbaceous heavy-weight champion again.



  1. thnaks for this. in a puddle of sadness tis week from just too much. and now my dog is lying on the bed shivering because he has an elizabethan collar of torture on. he has chewed and chewed his sore foot and it seems there is nothing else. i had to have a helper as we saw the vet to be fitted, and i wept and whimpered more thne him

    and i found myself back to my wet nappy walk as we returned to the car. i've had enough. this week sucks.

    but mint sounds good. maybe if i can find a freind with a cutting

    1. Oh Bea my heart goes out to you. Sometimes it all gets way too much. Sending you big hugs and love xx

  2. Thank you for your bravery in writing and sharing this. I love it but I hate that I know these feelings so well. Can I carry this? I want coffee, can I have a cup of coffee today? How tired am I? Pass out in the kitchen tired or lazy tired? I did too much. I should have brought my cane. How much of this is in my mind? Can I will my heart to slow down? Let me try before I ask for help. I cant do it. I messed up, I should suffer alone. I don't want to bother anyone. Why can't i do this better?

    So much. Thank you. Reading this helps me not feel alone in those moments.


  3. I recently had a visit to the ER too.

    I passed out, broke the fall with my face and the sink.

    And this time around, I avoided going in until the next day --- which was only because I was having some kind of episode - definitely not a panic attack nor an asthma attack nor completely the precursor aura feeling or, or, or...

    If it was anything I recognized -- actually when it first started up, I tried to ignore it, relax, let it pass, then waves of it three minutes apart and I wasn't passing out, wasn't going into an attack -- having to call my sister for a ride and basically grip her wrist the entire way every time one of these waves hit. -- a panic attack without the panic other than the concern that something was completely wrong.

    Still, if it was something I recognized, I probably would have put off going in because all I really seem to get out of ER visits anymore are just bills.

    Well that's not completely I have made some nifty biohazard bag art and decorations with the id bracelets and other gear. And a well placed kick to my ego that I'm still aches more than my physical bruises.

    Still, I hate going - I hate the reaction of the nurses and the doctors... they don't know the terms associated with this and so, I stumble through the words trying to bridge connections and feel like I should be getting paid for training them... or at least that this, this maybe isn't isn't the best time for me to be playing tutor.

    It's mostly just the bloody intake... maybe it's different because I'm a bloke. I know some aspects of it are... security thought I was an assault case and to be honest I kind of appreciated that.

    Not for the male ego bit which apparently is so fragile that when I started having more of these episodes a doctor went out of his way to brace it for impact because I guess all this is more associated with chicks and I was like dude, seriously, I'm more concerned my health here... 'sides I was in musical theatre productions in school, this masculinity you're trying to protect is already suspect, mmkay.

    But this last blackout and thrashing, sure, I look like I've been in a fight but it kind of looks like I've won. It's a nice change from the people around me that go out of their way to be supportive because really they're scared shitless that I'm going toss over at any moment and they won't have the slightest idea of what to do to help my gargantuan (6'5) arse off the floor... getting just a wee bit over protective too while at the same time tired of listening to me complain about all this too.

    which pardon me for using for free venting/therapy session, while offering thanks for being a real voice out t/here-- if I saw one more inspirational, sad, sorry, ever so hopeful and as cheerfully positive as a stepford wife (the original) mofo... I was going to implode.

    And I was all up with ya until I read the bit about the sad ol' dog with a cone around his head, and thought I just ran out of quarters for my own pony ride ride on this merry go around. We need some more pitiful music for this ride, if only for the sad ol' dog and the sorrier cone around his head

    1. thnaks for the music. long time since i've heard somethign like this. the memories are good.


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