Depending on what I’m in hospital for and how poorly I’m feeling has an awful lot to do with how many visitors I can tolerate, or need, and who these people are. When I was in The Royal Infirmary with sepsis after getting my gastrostomy tube fitted the first week I felt really ill, was in high dependency and only had Steve visit, when I started to feel slightly better my boys, brother and sister visited too. As I progress, my nieces, nephew, cousin, godson and friends visit. My goodness just shows you how long I was in hospital, the amount of visitors I had. The chatter kept me going, news of what was happening in the outside world keeping me informed and entertained. Although I do have to admit, on the days there were between three and five visitors at my bedside I found it quite difficult. I was tired and couldn’t keep up with the conversation. One to one I can handle, more than one voice in my lug and the noise is scrambled. I find myself lying back and letting my visitors converse between themselves. What some folk don’t realise is both talking and listening can be very tiring. A twenty minute conversation can deplete me of all my energy. Leaving no resources in reserve for later. Even for someone as gabby as me a day of complete silence can be a necessity to get those reserves firmly back in place. Not all days are like this, Some visits are much needed and a total boost, they are the brightest part of the day and when I share some of my most intimate statements. It’s the actual blethering that builds up my energy, gives me that extra oomph. 😀😀
My last hospital stay was only a couple of weeks ago. I was in Ninewells, Dundee. I was feeling a tad rubbish and tired. I was in a friendly room with another five ladies. My first visitor was on the Sunday night. It was my friend Susan. We hadn’t seen each other for quite a while. It was so fantastic to catch up. There was so much to talk about. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer just four months ago. She got the diagnosis two days before Christmas. Courageously she has fought this awful disease, had her breast surgically removed. We had so much to talk about. We chatted away, shared experiences, talked about our children and spouses. Laughed out loud that the others in the ward knew we were happy to be together that evening. The wonderful thing was that when either of us said we understood how the other was feeling we really did know how each other felt. We trust each other’s judgement and certainly don’t feel put out by offering advice. Susan made jokes about ‘feeling a right tit’ – I bantered back and we laughed loudly. You could see the other patients in the ward looking. They obviously heard our entire conversation, after all I take after my mother talk fairly loud and there’s not much distance between beds. There were two ladies in particular wondering is it ok to laugh?, should I join in at all? They were intrigued in what we were discussing. On the odd ocassion you could tell there was a thought that popped into their head, surely Elizabeth shouldn’t be saying that, or That lady visiting – is she joking. Susan has chosen not to go for reconstruction surgery. However, she has picked up her new boob. It sits perfectly in her bra. And from the outside with a bra and tshirt on you wouldn’t know which one is the new addition. She proudly stood hands a kimbo whilst I admired her new figure. We discussed how it looked and felt. What a fantastic option it is for a woman in her early 50’s. She did get offered surgery with build up breast at the same time as the mastectomy. This would have meant several more hours in the operating theatre and longer recovery time. For Susan she made the right choice. She is comfortable with her body. Her hubby is supportive, loving and caring and her daughters have been just grand. Friends have rallied round and supported, helped out and visited when required. Susan is upbeat and doing well and has already gone back to work. We talked about all this too at the visiting. As we blethered, one of the other patients came over to my bed to talk to us for a couple of minutes. Jan has leukaemia, I think it helped her to see us joking and laughing. Taking a happier outlook on life no matter how bleak things can seem at times. This was one of those days that the visitor most definitely recharged my batteries and gave me that zest for life that we all so much need.