December 2020 – When Darkness Prevails

Dear lovely people – what a year it’s been!

I hope you’re all keeping well, safe… and as far as you can be – happy, under these unusual circumstances.

It’s been a while since I put ‘pen to paper’ – and I apologise for this. I had many plans in place, to wrap this year up – as efficiently as possible… a special interview lined up, for an article I was excited to write – and a project closely in tow. And… I of-course, also had plans to venture up north a bit, to spend some much-needed time with my family… all in which, had to be cancelled : ( .

December has always been, one of my favourite months of the year… butmy-oh-my – – not this time around. The exciting build up to Christmas… festive foreplay – if you will; for me – was replaced with a stint in hospital, a great deal of worry, time off work… and undergoing never-ending scans. It’s safe to say – that I sealed up my 2020… as productively and efficiently, ‘as a backwards fart’… as my witty grandmother would say! But it did get me thinking!

I landed in hospital, during a time of the pandemic. At a time when Covid-19 figures were steeply on the rise again; and a new variant of the virus was emerging. My heart had always sunk, thinking about the unfortunate people in hospital throughout Covid – contemplating the reality of them being all alone – and unable to touch or see their loved ones. It was a heart-wrenchingly difficult idea for me to comprehend; and I was now receiving – a very small taste, of the actuality – of this blurred vision… in my mind.

In all… I. Felt. Horrendous. And now… I was left alone, separated from my son and my family – with nothing but my own, torturous-thoughts for company. I was an in-patient within the Surgical Emergency Unit, where I was surrounded by other people – many of whom, were in a great deal of pain. I heard patients asking, if they could have just one visitor – for a short while; this usually being their mum, daughter or husband. The answer was always, a resoundingly clear… no’. I mean – in the politest possible manner; but still a definitive answer, that left a distressing echo in my ears.

As time went on, I could hear the consultants debating my situation one morning; and I then listened to their footsteps, as they walked over to advise me… that biopsies, further blood tests and scans were required. I became anxious; and hyper-aware, of all of the little sounds and procedures belonging to the ward. The morning would arrive; along with a fresh team of day staff; and I would then listen to the handover sessions that religiously took place. The day would gradually pass… and the dreaded darkness would approach again. It felt lonely… and quite honestlyscary.

As an inpatient during Covid-19 – the hospital becomes your axis… whereby earth seems to stop; and all that appears to be happening from your window – is the image of doctors and nurses coming and going. You observe the NHS team, pivoting around their central point – the hospital axis; and bringing with them – either night or day… darkness or light. Day-in-day-out. And. that’s. it…. you lie there in pain, smothered in your own anxieties, unable to feel the touch of a loved one for comfort.

In comparison to many other poor patients around the world – I wasn’t hospitalised for long; and for the most part – I got the all clear… in the end. But what I can tell you, with certainty – is that it was a disturbing experience. I can still honestly only imagine; and send out my biggest wishes for a speedy recovery – to anybody having to spend a significant amount of time in hospital. It’s a frightening thing to have to live through; and my heart is with you all.

As for the clinicians – this was my first experience, of witnessing doctors and nurses operate within a highly stressful environment. As previously mentioned, the staff within SEU, would rotate around this imaginary ‘emergency axis‘ – non-stop, ensuring that each patient was seen. I had a couple of wonderful nurses by my side – throughout, who did all that they could to make me feel more comfortable. I was in a lot of pain, but I was never made to feel, as though anything was too much for these wonderful people. The doctors and nurses of SEU, did our hospital proud – and although I could see that they were incredibly busy – I admired their sheer tenacity and strength… to carry on.

Clinicians work exceptionally hard within the NHS; and it is truly the most precious thing, we – here in the UK possess. I’ve now seen what goes on… under a slightly different light – and I would like to end this post by saying… that we must always respect and protect our NHS… and the good people in it.

Take care of yourselves and others – and here’s wishing you all… a happy and healthy New Year. It may take a while for things to get back to an acceptable level or ‘normal’… but we will get there – eventually ; ) .

Best wishes,

Olivia Xo

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